“Packers are way better than Vikings!” I said to the other boys in the huddle. It was a cold November morning, and we were waiting for the bell to ring to go inside. I was a junior higher who spent most of his time playing outside, reading comics, or watching reruns of The Honeymooners.
I couldn’t name a single player on the Packers, much less stay awake through one of their games.
But, living in Wisconsin, I’d heard how the Packers were a superior team to the Vikings, Bears, and anyone else in the NFL. My friends said it, my cousins said it, and the guy on TV said it, so it MUST be true. No need to actually watch a game, right? Just follow the script.
Since that article, events have happened that have given the news media enough fuel to go from highly influential to controlling and crippling. Not only are they not your friend, they’re far worse than I originally thought.
Never in my life have I seen the news completely dominate the lives of so many people. Everywhere, there is a paragraph that gets published, repeated, televised, shared, and broadcast every single day. In the state where I live, it looks like this:
“Illinois health officials Thursday reported 894 new known cases and 41 additional fatalities, bringing the total number of known cases to 139,434 and the death toll to 6,810.”
Every day, like the beat of a slave ship drum, the “death toll” numbers drive the life and joy out people while they put their dreams and hopes on hold, unable to see a future where they’re living for something greater than surviving the next few months.
My point is this: there are those who want desperately to write the script of your life.They want to dictate your thoughts, your beliefs, your dreams, and your activities. They want your money, your allegiance, and your soul. That’s not an exaggeration. They are the barking “reporters” who tell you who’s good and who’s evil. They are the ones who declare right and wrong. No discussion, no debate.
What they present is fiction dressed as information. Or information spun so badly, it vaguely resembles the truth.
All my life, I’ve wanted to write a non-fiction book (and still might). Why did I choose to write fantasy novels instead? Because a story stirs emotion and moves the heart. People are inspired more through story than through cold facts.
It’s why our news headlines use massive amount of hyperbole. They want to hook your heart and bypass your critical thinking. Then they want you to share it!
They want you to follow their script.
I think it’s time to tear up the script and write our own with the guidance of God’s Spirit. It’s time to return to a sound mind. It’s time to turn off the noise so that we can hear the Lord’s still, small voice. Time to fill our hearts and minds with love, joy, and purpose.
To assist me with this, I’m taking a 12 month break from my personal Facebook feed. I’m also taking a 12 month break from the news. If it’s really important, I’ll hear about it. I’m giddy about getting their voices out of my ears!
You don’t have to like the Packers just because the people around you say they’re the best. You don’t have to follow their script.
I want to wrap this up with a quote from a book written over 80 years ago. Pay close attention to what it’s saying. Especially the last paragraph. (Italics and bold added by me.)
“A reputable physician estimated that 75% of all people who visit physicians for professional service are suffering with hypochondria (imaginary illness). It has been shown most convincingly that the fear of disease, even where there is not the slightest cause for fear, often produces the physical symptoms of the disease feared.
Powerful and mighty is the human mind! It builds or it destroys.
Playing upon this common weakness of fear of ill health, dispensers of patent medicines have reaped fortunes. This form of imposition upon credulous humanity became so prevalent some twenty years ago that Colliers’ Weekly Magazine conducted a bitter campaign against some of the worst offenders in the patent medicine business.
During the “flu” epidemic which broke out during the world war, the mayor of New York City took drastic steps to check the damage which people were doing themselves through their inherent fear of ill health. He called in the newspaper men and said to them, “Gentlemen, I feel it necessary to ask you not to publish any scare headlines concerning the ‘flu’ epidemic. Unless you cooperate with me, we will have a situation which we cannot control.” The newspapers quit publishing stories about the “flu,” and within one month the epidemic had been successfully checked.”
It’s been seven years since I started this website. SEVEN YEARS!
During that time, I’ve written about everything from social media to prayer to parenting. I’ve written about ministry, I’ve ranted about the church, and I’ve shared proud moments about my kids. In short, this has been an incredibly random journey.
That’s why I need your help. I’m making a concentrated effort to narrow the focus of my life and of my writing.
How could this website be a greater blessing to you? What types of posts do you receive the most from?
Would you please leave a comment below with the types of articles that you would benefit most from? You can share more than one. I’m just narrowing things down a bit.
Here is a list of categories that I’ve used over the past five years. You do NOT have to choose from the list. It’s just there as a refresher in case it’s been a while since you’ve visited.
Thank you for helping to shape the future of leebezotte.com! I hope to add value to your life and be a resource that you’ll come to for help and advice (or just a smile during your week)!
Some of you know that I run an online marketing business. Through the course of my business, I am often asked how a ministry can attract more Twitter followers. Well, there are lots of ways to attract followers, but one of the most important is having a properly set up account and profile. Believe it or not, there’s a chance your Twitter profile may actually be turning people off from following you.
With that in mind, I created this step by step video for creating a new Twitter account and profile. It starts with creating an account (basic stuff for many of you) and includes things like the correct way to word your bio, the right type of picture to use, and the best settings to choose. It really DOES make a difference and should help you get more of those follows and follow-backs you’ve been looking for.
America is obsessed. We’ve become so enamored with celebrities that an entire industry has been built around providing cosmetics, weight-loss products, and clothing lines to help the common person “look like a star”. We pay film actors the GNP of a small country, and like that’s not enough we hold awards ceremonies that take great effort to sit through without aging several years. Meanwhile, the names of the award winners are reported with the urgency of a presidential election. Why do we worship these people and why do we care so much about how they decorate their homes, take their vacations, or behave while having a night out?
The really troubling thing to me is not that the entertainment industry keeps churning out the “next big star” while incessantly celebrating itself. After all, it’s a business built on vanity. There’s no hidden agenda there. It’s to entertain us while making obscene amounts of money doing it. The thing that troubles me is the spilling over of the celebrity culture into christian ministry. We put on conferences and think hard about which “big name” to bring in, otherwise people might not come. We put up with demanding riders and pay large sums so that “the word can go out”. Young people line up for autographs after their favorite christian band has played and we even attaboy our favorite singers with their own awards show. Something doesn’t feel right about handing someone a trophy for a song they supposedly wrote for an Audience of One.
The disturbing thing about this trend is that it distorts the expectations of those called to christian service. Success in ministry stops being equated with obedience and fruit bearing and begins to mean getting your picture on a conference flier or landing a record contract. In other countries, stepping into ministry rarely means a paycheck and can often lead to losing your family or even your life. What have we done to the next generation of preachers, pastors, and minstrels by choosing to show favoritism, special recognition, and “star treatment” to this generation of celebri-ministers? I think we’ve unintentionally communicated that, unless your ministry is broadcasted, recorded, or performed in front of a large audience, it’s insignificant.
Occasionally I receive an invitation to step back into the “green room” at a conference or concert. The atmosphere is generally the same in each one. Friends and hangers-on of the various musicians and speakers all camped out, laptops open, cell phones texting. The band members and guest preachers are usually friendly and upbeat, but the aforementioned “support players” generally carry an air of self-importance that can’t be ignored. It’s a tangible arrogance that should be foreign among believers. I’m not alone in this perception either. A good friend of mine spent some time traveling with a well known Christian band and could hardly tolerate being in the green room.
In sharp contrast to the green rooms of christian conferences and concerts, I’ve had the privilege of being on the set of a couple of major Hollywood motion pictures. I stood next to some of the most well known actors and directors in the world. The difference? Everyone was so nice! With the exception of a few grumpy assistant directors, there was a general sense of comradeship. I vividly remember some great conversations and a genuine sense of caring as we swapped stories, sunscreen, and shared umbrellas. We were all working together to invest in something bigger than ourselves.
I think that’s where we in christian ministry fall short and succumb to a celebrity mentality. We’re building our ministry aren’t we? Fame means a bigger paycheck so we can keep doing our ministry so we can get another paycheck and keep doing our ministry and… you get the picture. Instead of humbly coming together and uniting under the greatest vision of all, we’re comparing units sold and venues played. Instead of seeing ourselves as blessed to receive the love and favor of God, we classify and rank ourselves by public recognition. It’s funny how we can borrow from the Hollywood way but not even get it right.
John chapter 13 tells a story about Jesus, the most famous and influential man who ever lived (not to mention almighty savior of the world). In this story He tied a towel around his waste and, one by one, he washed his disciples feet. It was a chore reserved for the lowliest of servants. When he was done he said, “I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you.” I think maybe, just maybe, if we took His example and served instead of seperated, humbled ourselves instead of expected special treatment, we might just produce an epic together that’s greater than any story ever told through a Hollywood film camera.