The other day I read a blog post by Peter Leithart entitled “Give Peace a Chance.” Commenting on the book The Question of Peace in Modern Politics, Leithart believes that “the editors begin from assumptions that need to be questioned.” From here Leithart begins to question the editors assumption:
A couple of weeks ago I was having a discussion with a friend (you know who you are!) about various “macro” subjects: Bible, culture, politics (and how they all intertwine). As our discussion progressed (and regressed) we came to a point where my friend said “that’s just your opinion.” and then expected that our conversation to be over.
Unfortunately, most of the time people hear or see the word “apocalypse” today they immediately associate it with some sort of catastrophic, end of the world, event that’s portrayed in movies like I Am Legend or the forthcoming Left Behind movie. This is unfortunate considering the menial amount of work required to clarify such confusion. Most of you readers should know that the last book in the Bible is named The Revelation to John (not “Revelations”). The word “revelation” comes from the Greek word that we get “apocalypse” from. Ultimately, the word “apocalypse” means “reveal”, hence the name of the last book of the Bible is The Revelation to John & opens by stating “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants the things that must soon take place.” (Rev. 1:1a). Another translation of the first sentence in The Revelation of John goes like this: “Apocalypse of Jesus Christ…” (Wycliffe Bible). The words “reveal/revelation” and “apocalypse” are synonymous. This means that when we are looking at “apocalyptic” literature we aren’t necessarily trying to figure out what it is telling us about the end of the world. Instead we should be asking what it is trying to reveal to us about the world we live in (or more correctly, the world the apostle John lived in).
Have you heard of the commercial conspiracy? I have, in fact I grew up hearing about it whenever I watched T.V. with my dad. My dad [jokingly] claims that there is a vast commercial conspiracy at the root of all television advertising. My father developed this theory over the years because he would always try to avoid watching commercials on T.V. My dad was always in charge of the remote which meant that whenever he sat down to watch something on T.V. the first thing he would do would be to find as many things to watch as possible. He would usually have at least two channels (often three or four) that he would flip back in forth between to avoid commercials. Inevitably, the commercials on both channels would be lined up at almost the exact same time. My dad would have the final round of a golf tournament on one channel and an NFL football game on another channel. Every time a commercial appeared on the golf tournament’s channel he would flip over the to football game and, lo and behold, more commercials! He would then sarcastically tell me and my siblings that there was a vast commercial conspiracy!
While the particulars of my dad’s theory may be up for debate he was definitely on to something when he spoke in terms of a conspiracy. The difference is that the conspiracy goes much much deeper. In fact, the commercial conspiracy is so deep that in reality it is the sitcoms, sporting events, and news programs that are the real commercials. If you don’t believe me then just read what James K.A. Smith has to say on the matter:
Television was invented to create audiences for advertising, not the other way around. Whether it is sitcoms, evening dramas, sports, or news, all such programming is an extension of and support for the thirty-second spots that seem to “interrupt” what we’re watching. (Desiring the Kingdom, pg. 95 [footnote 9])
When we look at television in this light it becomes clear that all the sports and sitcoms that we love to watch are the real commercials that the advertisers are using in order to get us to watch their commercials.
So in the end their truly is a commercial conspiracy, but the conspiracy is that the shows are the real commercials and the commercials are actually real television, at least in the eyes of the producers. They think, what kind of show can we put on to attract the most people so we can attract the highest paying advertisers. The only reason shows are pandering for your eyes is because they are ultimately pandering for the greenbacks of the advertisers who are ultimately pandering for your $$$ too!
Food for thought!
Christians, more than ever, seem to be obsessed with the concept of “worldview.” Yet, ironically, we have subjected the very concept of “worldview” to the same sort of scrutiny that we claim to be applying to everything else when we talk about “worldview.” Here’s a short thought from Peter Leithart that should give you a little pause:
Christians have good reason to distrust any approach to life and history that assumes the primacy of ideas [worldview thinking]. For Christians…”truth” is not found in a system of ideas, but in a Person, Jesus Christ. Our calling is not to develop a complete perspective on the world, but to follow Jesus. To be sure, being a disciple involves loving Jesus with our whole minds, and seeking to conform our minds to the Word of God. But it also involves conforming our hands, feet, hearts, back, arms, legs, and ears to the Word of God, not to mention our relationships with the world and with others.
This is a short taste from an article in which Letihart dismantles the “worldviewcentric” approach that seems to have thoroughly invaded the church! Read it here.
Food for thought!