"HOW SHALL WE THEN LIVE?" Francis Schaeffer

Friday, April 07, 2006

Distractions and Us

Some wisdom from St. Augustin and John Mark Reynolds

For last couple of weeks I have been teaching Augustine’s Confessions. What continues to amazes me about the work is that it is just as profound today as it was in the early fifth century. At the beginning of Confessions Augustine states, “Because you made us for yourself our heart is restless until it rests in you.” Augustine understands that human beings are discontented creatures who are attempting to fill the emptiness (which exists because of sin) that is exposed by their restlessness. Confessions is Augustine’s autobiographical account of his attempt to find rest, and how he can only find it truly in God
The entertainment industry exists today as one of the panaceas that we use to stave off our feelings of restlessness. One only needs to look at the ever burgeoning entertainment industry to see how much of our lives are dedicated to the pursuit of distraction so that we can ignore our restless hearts. I can see it in many of the students at the university. They play music on their iPods almost constantly. When they are not listening to their iPods they are on their cell phones chatting or texting someone. They are experts at filling all their waking moments with modern entertainment that distracts them from their fundamental problem of restlessness.
T.S. Eliot in his poem Burnt Norton states that we are “distracted from distraction by distraction.” Eliot reminds me of the fact that we are often driven by things of no consequence. We fill our lives with diversions that in reality are “filled with fancies” and vacuous. I am saddened by the fact that what we most often dedicate our lives to a pursuit of things that end up being nothing but a distraction and not a solution.”

Distractions and entertainment; we do pursue them don’t we.

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