I have decided to absent myself from most of the news for the time being. This year, 2020, has been a difficult year made all the more painful by the election process. Friendships ended, families were at each other’s throats, and churches and clergy, both liberal and conservative, forgot that Jesus was their savior and looked to a person to be their deliverer.
The election is over but, at this writing, the contention is not. Votes are being recounted, legal action is being taken, and it is entirely possible, though I think not probable, that the final outcome will not be determined until January. Either way, half the country will be bitterly disappointed. So, I withdraw for now.
I am not withdrawing from life, or family, or calling. I simply choose to not be bombarded by the news outlets at this present moment. For one thing, the news folks are untrustworthy. Depending on their own ideology, they will slant the news, omit parts of what should be the news, report stuff that should not be the news, and editorialize instead of simply giving the news.
I understand that the media outlets are not charitable organizations. They are driven by money and they are driven by ratings. It behooves them to stir the pot, to gin people up, to sensationalize, to report the lurid, the inane, and the outlandish. It helps their ratings which affects their money. Our mistake is that we believe that they are neutral, unbiased, and concerned about our welfare. They are not.
I have also taken a discussion break on social media, I still check in every day. I check on some friends and church members, I look at the pages of my family. But, If I encounter someone who is on a rant, be he/she Democrat or Republican, if I feel the heat start to rise, I just leave the page, take a deep breath, and move on. I am choosing to not spend my limited time and depleted emotions on arguments that cannot be won regarding an election that is already over.
Perhaps I shall re-engage in the near future. Perhaps not. The certainty is that we will have a President eventually and, when that person is inaugurated, I will pray for him (or her if something unusual happens) and so will my church on almost every Sunday morning. I assume that, when a final decision is made, someone will tell me about it.
I am not watching the news on television nor do I listen to the news on the radio. I do read about the local news in the local papers and check in on the success or failures of the high school sports teams locally. I certainly do not trust social media to be unbiased, so that’s out as well.
In fact, I’m also not watching professional sports. I am weary of the controversies and the attempt to infect the games with ideology and perceived offenses. If, for example, you want to kneel during the National Anthem, fine, but I’m not watching you nor will I buy your stuff. I watch TV to be entertained not to have someone’s ideology shoved in my face, whatever the point is.
So, I listen to music on the radio during drive time. I have rediscovered Southern Gospel Music on Sirius Radio Channel 65, music I grew up with, but have had no contact with, for nearly 40 years.
I watch selected TV series on Netflix or Amazon Prime. I have finished “West Wing,” “Star Trek Voyager,” “Star Trek: Enterprise,” and the Father Brown Mysteries. I am almost through the British series, “Cadfael,” and I actually watched the very first “Twilight Zone” episode last week for the first time.
I do not need to be introduced to pain, sorrow, loss, and death. I get that on my job. As, I said, I watch TV to be entertained and to give my mind a rest.
I also read a lot. I probably have read 75-100 books this year during my off time. I have found that everybody finds ways to fill the time they have. Some spend it on social media arguing with people, and others just go around angry and bitter and looking for a fight. Me? I’m taking a break. A vacation, if you will, from all the hostility engendered by a weird year and a nasty election.
And I am praying. I used to pray that God would bless America. Now, I tend to pray that God would simply have mercy on America. In fact, my role model in this prayer is the Patriarch Abraham who prayed that God would spare Sodom and Gomorrah for the sake of ten righteous people. Abraham should have negotiated better. I pray that God will spare America if He finds ANY righteous people within her borders.
Anyway, 2021 is coming soon enough with all her challenges and opportunities. Thanksgiving is around the corner and Christmas is near. I may stay up on December 31, not to see the New Year come in, but to make sure that the old year goes out. In the meantime, I am taking a mental health break — I am stepping back from the chaos.
[David Epps is the Rector of the Cathedral of Christ the King (www.ctk.life). During the crisis, the church is live streaming at 10:00 a.m. on Sundays at http://www.facebook.com/cctksharpsburg/ He is the bishop of the Diocese of the Mid-South He may contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.]