Mark and I have been talking about this topic and I had been working on posting about it when I read this on Rachel’s (one of my real-life friend’s) blog. She said what I wanted to say and she said it well. So this is re-posted with permission from For Kith and Kingdom.
Amusement. I had come across the word yesterday and it had scolded me slightly. It always does. I recall going to a seminar with my parents once at Berea Baptist Church when I was on college break—a rather long time ago now. The speaker within the short designated hour clearly commanded my attention toward some simple everyday words, so that my future encounters with amusement and entertainment, were not to be so unguarded as they had previously been. A-muse, he pointed out, was derived from the Greek, the “a” being the prefix for “without” as in a-gnostic (without knowledge) and a-theist (without God). The “muse” being the word for thinking, pondering, considering. “-Ment” is a state of being. So amusement would, by strict etymological dissection, be defined as “the state of not thinking”. He speared the word “entertainment” with similar agility. It collapsed pathetically to the floor in three parts: “enter” (to enter) “tain” (from Latin: to hold, possess, take captive) “ment” (the state of being). The application of such word play was the challenge for us to thoughtfully muse—to consider—what we allow to enter our thoughts to hold us captive. And it did.
I found myself more thoughtfully analyzing the screens that bombarded me daily: the news, the ads, the tv shows, the movies, even cartoons, and all the old-school media forms, too: books, journals, the radio, textbooks. I started seeing them for they were— a pulpit, a relentless, hounding pulpit, preaching to me what I should do and be and think—and often starkly contrasting what the Bible says I should think, feel, and do. But Paul in the Scriptures urges us to see the world’s propaganda for what it really is: strongholds and warfare (I Corinthians 10:5). He urges us to “destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God and take every thought captive to obey Christ”. Wow. Weapons on screens. Weapons in God’s Word, that double-edged sword. Warfare in my brain, two conflicting sides vying for power to enter and take captive my every thought, feeling, action. And everybody else’s too. I came to realize that we are in a cultural battle with the world about our thinking on absolutely everything: money, glory, work, love, friendship, marriage, family, children, purpose, sacrifice, justice, goodness, beauty, truth. I dared not a-muse myself—any further not thinking on my part was an open invitation that the world would eagerly accept to entertain, “to enter and take captive” the very thoughts that ought to be obeying Christ
God calls us take every thought captive to him. He wants to be the one to captivate us, to entertain us 🙂 , to teach us the how and why and what we ought to think about money, glory, work, love, friendship, marriage, family, children, purpose, sacrifice, justice, goodness, beauty, truth. After all, He created them, and He made them very good. So how should we think about these things? Our thinking has to be be directed by God’s Word. It is like a great compass to give us a sense of direction in the rambling landscape of life—if we ignore it through arrogance or ignorance, we do so at our inexcusable peril. God has poignant language to describe those who yield their thought and feeling and action to His enemy—they suppress the truth in unhrighteousness, their foolish hearts are darkened, their thinking becomes futile, they exchange the truth of God for a lie, they are given over to a depraved mind (Romans 1). But as part of His kingdom, we are called instead to humbly submit our thoughts to the authority of Christ, the Word Incarnate. And as we obey His Word, acknowledging its supreme authority in every aspect of life, we find we really are being transformed by the renewing of our minds. We begin to understand these things aright and we learn to embrace and enjoy them in their beautifully resurrected form, in all their satisfying fullness, the way He intended us to before the Fall.
Christians of our day are unfortunately not exactly renown for their astute thinking skills. “Feely” skills. Yeah. Thinking. Not so much. But in a cultural battle with the world for it all, God calls us to diligence and arms. Our weapon is thought, and word, and deed shaped by the divine power, the transforming power of the Word Incarnate.