I’m currently on a “staycation”. I was starting to feel tired and distracted, and I know what happens when I travel down that road too far, so I scheduled some time off. I’m not going anywhere, but I get to sleep in some, hang out with the family, and do some fun things around the house I didn’t have time for.
I’ve been reading some blogs and occasionally picking up a book, but mostly I’ve just tuned out and hit the “mark all as read” button a lot (so I don’t have a million posts waiting when I get back into it).
But there are two podcasts I make sure I listen to, and didn’t realize how much I appreciate them until this week.
#1 Good Job, Brain
This weekly trivia show, released every Monday, is far and away my favourite podcast. It is not Christian, there is no theology, no leadership training or church development teaching, but it helps me connect to God, laugh and learn.
I send them this a while back to tell them how I feel: “I know your not a Christian show, but I wanted to thank you for helping me with my relationship with God. Your collective awe at the beauty and marvel of creation is both contagious and inspiring! Thank you so very much for this show. There is no other podcast that I anticipate more than yours. Thanks for blessing me!”
#2 The Briefing by Albert Mohler Jr.
In this 15 minute, daily podcast Albert Mohler takes current events and helps us process them from a Christian worldview. I owe Dr. Mohler a great deal of thanks for expanding my understanding of the world. Of course I have learned from him, but I have also been given help defending the faith, applying scripture, and growing in wisdom and faith. I can’t recommend this podcast highly enough.
… a cluster of bananas is called a hand and consists of 10 to 20 bananas, which are known as fingers.
… C3P0 is the first character to speak in Star Wars.
… the most abundant metal in the Earth’s crust is aluminum.
… there are 1189 chapters in the Bible: 929 chapters in the Old Testament and 260 chapters in the New Testament.
I’m good at trivia. Actually, I’m really good at trivia. There’s a standing rule in my house that we don’t buy or play board games that trivia questions because it’s just not fair. [Of course there’s also a standing rule that we’re not allowed to play ‘Go Fish’ any more either, but that’s a different story… “WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU DON’T HAVE ANY THREES??? LET’S TAKE THIS OUTSIDE, SUCKA!!!”]
As much as I love trivia, I’m worried that the important things in the world are losing their meaning and becoming an amalgamation of mere trivia and statistics. Conversations about the most critical issues on the planet seem to carry a parallel importance with the most inane. I know men who are as passionate about sports as they are about their faith, women who are as committed to their “stories” as they are to their daily Bible reading, students who are more interested in the score on their last test than they are about how minority groups are treated in their school, others who know more about pop-culture icons than they do about their next door neighbor, world history or current events.
I think this may be happening because we are becoming a culture driven by trivia. The media and culture around us puts as much energy into telling us what celebrity couple is divorcing as they do about genocide and starvation in Africa. We are so bombarded by numbers and statistics that we don’t even process what they mean any more. We can look at how many murders, rapes, car crashes, abortions and hate-crimes were committed in a certain month, in a certain city… and we don’t even bat an eyelash.
So what I’ve been trying to do is that when someone burps trivia out at me, I don’t let it pass by. I evaluate it’s importance to me, my neighbor, my country and the world. This helps me two ways. First, I check to see if someone is feeding me garbage information, and second, it lets me break it down into a manageable, meaningful data.
For example… If I hear a statistic like “1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys are sexually abused before the age of 18.”, I think of the families and children that I know and am surrounded by in church, at the park, or at the swimming pool. I count them by 4’s and 6’s. I consider that every fourth girl and every sixth boy may be carrying around a deep and permanent scar, and it drives me to be emotionally effected by the statistic and to pray for them.
I encourage you to open your eyes and give flesh to the numbers. Perhaps then we will begin to de-trivialize the world around us and see it as God sees it.