For days now the headlines have been telling us of Miley Cyrus’ sordid performance over the weekend. You have probably seen some of the same headlines. The once ‘family friendly’ Disney tween star has “grown up”, crossed into adulthood, and is now competing with Lady Gaga to achieve the status of the world’s number one shock artist.
It is sad to say, but popular culture has reached a new low. (For the record I have not gone beyond the headlines to read and see the details— the headlines are more than enough, I do not want or need to know any more.)
Over the weekend my family and I drove through Lancaster County, PA. While driving through the countryside we observed a number of Amish going about their daily life. Some were plowing their fields with a yoke of oxen while others were slowing traffic as they navigated the counties’ modern roadways in their horse drawn buggies.
In retrospect I cannot escape the contrast of the two extremes: the camera avoiding Amish and Miley Cyrus’ antics televised to millions around the globe.
Camera avoiding Amish? Yes, the Amish do not want to be photographed… apparently the Amish believe cameras have the power to reach into one’s being and steal their soul:
“photographs are an evidence of pride, in which people are tempted to look at a likeness of themselves with self admiration… Pictures, [the Amish] say, represent simply the outward appearance, which is temporary; and in paying too much attention to the passing, there is always danger of losing sight of the eternal and the spiritual.” [source]
There was a time when I simply chuckled at this idea! Cameras stealing peoples’ souls? How silly! But wait… the headlines make me wonder, have we lost our soul? Has the camera lens reached into our inner being and taken something from us?
Maybe the Amish are right, maybe we have lost ‘sight of the eternal and the spiritual.’
In our modern day we no longer have heroes or role models, we have celebrities. Celebrities are not known for their impeccable morals or lofty character.
Rather celebrities are known, talked about, and gawked at because they have managed to capture the public’s attention through relentless media coverage of themselves. What is the key to gaining the media’s attention? Shocking pictures. The more shocking the image, the more attention generated.
Do not misunderstand what I am saying. I am not suggesting we should destroy our cameras and avoid having our pictures taken. However, we must be aware of the seductive lure of the world’s way. We must be aware of Satan’s tactics. If we allow ourselves to become fixated on popularity and our outward appearance we will give the enemy an opportunity to take from us something of far greater value.
There really is a spiritual war. Satan wants to capture our hearts, our souls, and our minds. Satan will use any tactic to captivate our attention– to divert our attention from the Lord God and from what is truly important— the eternal and the spiritual.
I do not believe Miley Cyrus is to blame for all of this. Sadly she is one of the many victims.
“If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” Colossians 3:1-3 ESV
Might we always be on guard with our attention and affection squarely set on the things that are above where Christ is.