Talking Heads

Ray Waddle was a classmate of mine at the Divinity School back in 1978-81. Many of you will recognize Ray’s name because he was the Religion Editor for the Tennessean for many years. Ray now writes an occasional column for the paper. He is always insightful and I enjoy reading his stuff. 

Recently he wrote an article that featured an idea that has really stuck with me. In talking about our country’s current internal struggles, Ray says that we have become addicted to drama. I think he’s right. The endless news cycle and the acrimonious tone of so many of our leaders serves only to keep the drama stirred up. 

If you didn’t know any better, you’d wonder if maybe we have decided that “civil war” is somehow good for us. And “war language” is very much what we hear from our leaders on both sides of the aisle. It was George Orwell in his famous book, “1984”, who said that in the dystopian society he wrote about, war is not meant to be won, it is meant to be continuous. 

And so the drama goes on and on and on. 

I have heard countless people express their frustration over this very problem. But they seem incapable of turning away from it—much like watching a train wreck. Maybe we really are addicted to this drama? 

Here is a possible Lenten discipline for all of us—turn it off. There is nothing that says we have to read about or listen to or watch the drama play in a seemingly endless loop. Tired of the talking heads? Turn them off.