“Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, to God who alone is wise, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen” (1 Timothy 1:17).
WE ARE LIVING IN WHAT HAS COME TO BE CALLED THE “INFORMATION AGE.” The sum total of human knowledge is growing exponentially. The industrial age has come to an end, and the principle product of our economy is no longer manufactured wares but information. And computer technology has made the storage and sharing of information so fast and easy, we find ourselves inundated by a daily flood of factual (and sometimes not-so-factual) data. Couple these phenomena with the fact that human society itself is changing at a dizzying rate, and many people begin to feel a frustration that borders on panic. How do we keep up? How do we even begin to sort through the avalanche of information and make sense of what is happening in the world?
For one thing, there is no need even to try to keep up with all the instant information that surrounds us. We should not let ourselves be pressured, by either the media or our peers, into making the attempt. It can’t be done, and the stress of trying to do so is hazardous to human health. But in addition, if we spin our wheels trying to keep up with every current event, we’ll not have the time we need to learn and ponder the historic deeds and ageless truths that are much more needful to know. There are surely some things happening today that will be of importance three hundred years from now, but it will be a long time before anyone will have the perspective to know what these are. Meanwhile, why do we think we have to know everything that happens and to know it instantaneously? Don’t we have the courage to admit that most of the information that comes to us is simply unimportant?
It is not unreasonable for us to want to understand the world in which we live. And it does take a certain amount of information to do that. But if we’re not careful, we’ll be drowned in a sea of useless “news.” If we wish truly to make sense of what is happening right now, we’ll need to acquaint ourselves with what is old as well as what is new. And more important, we’ll need to meditate on what can be known of the God in whom the entire history of our cosmos will one day find its fulfillment.
“Read not the times. Read the eternities” (Henry David Thoreau).