I once read some place quite a few years back that we should be careful what we put in our heads because we can't take any thing back out. I do agree. We cannot unsee what we have seen. Our knowledge of this fact affects how we teach our children. We protect children from seeing too much too soon so they can develop and have a reference point before they are forced to confront the ugliest and meanest parts of human existence. Often children in foster care or from backgrounds of poverty struggle their whole lives because they were forced to be adults almost from birth. They were forced to look on the worst things including violence and they have often experienced violence first hand at an early age. Soldiers with post traumatic stress disorder often relive horrible memories over and over. The mind is a recording device and it feeds our souls and our emotions. How we react springs from the collective sum of memories we have stored in our minds. Some things in our heads we have experienced and some we get second hand from reading, watching or listening to media. Today people are bombarded by TV and computer images that can be life changing in good or bad ways. Children can access porn or violence with a phone or tablet. They can also be taught empathy and love by these things. Adults too can be deeply impacted by viewing media. All of us became aware of fake news in the last nine months or so but fake news has always been with us. Every news source has an agenda. It might be a left leaning one or a right leaning one or one trying to sell us something but always there is an angle. As Christians we need to keep the angle of our lens that of the good news of the 4 Gospels. When we process what is going on around us we need to be conscious that the news we take in is slanted and often in complete opposition to the view we know to be that of Christ. We need to use the lens of Christ to correct the distortions. When Christians view the news we should view it as outsiders. The Bible tells us we are to live in this world but not be of it. Selfishness, materialism, hyper-nationalism and partisan politics are not part of the gospels. Love, forgiveness, kindness, empathy and peace are. We need to be careful that we are not being manipulated by the media or by monied interests in our society that wish to control our thoughts and reactions for political or monetary gain. We are actually in control of our emotions. We should not feed anger or hatred. What we put in our heads will affect how we react to every thing. If we let dark things in we will never see the light on our path. No we should not isolate ourselves but everything we take in should be examined carefully and not be allowed to pull us away from our mission to seek justice and do God's work in this world. We are bombarded with images and messages so it is a good thing to pull back from time to time and find moments of prayer and contemplation. As Christ went into the wilderness so too should we pull back and give ourselves time to process and connect with God.
-Beth Maxwell Boyle