Being Informed vs. Being Wise

Being Informed vs. Being Wise

A Confession

I have a confession to make—I like CNN and Fox News. A fun evening, in my book, could easily consist of a good comfy seat, a bowl of popcorn, a cold Coke, and a dose of Bill O-Reilly and Anderson Cooper. (And a good movie afterwards!) I really enjoy O’Reilly’s witty humor, brilliant mind, and relentless pursuit of the truth (although I can get tired of him talking over people). The problem is this: “the news” is addictive. Very addictive! We are fascinated to learn about plane crashes, sex scandals, political bombshells, droughts, famines, the latest celebrity gossip, and yes, even those infamous dimpled chads. This stuff is attention-grabbing, interesting, and can even act as an emotional anesthetic after a difficult day.

When I Finally Woke Up

A couple of years ago, however, I finally realized that I had bought into a lie of epic proportions, a lie that says being informed is more important than being wise. In our culture, we put a high premium on “being informed” (whatever that means)—being current, being in the know. To this end, we suction-cup ourselves to CNN, Newsweek, and Fox News, hoping to stay on top of all the information that we need to live the good life. But it’s a lie.

The problem is that the news industry is missing the one key ingredient that is essential for the good life—wisdom. Wisdom is seeing the big picture in life, and that can rarely be discovered in the pages of US News and World Report. Being informed in America means ingesting rapidly incoming bits of isolated information. What we learn may be interesting, and even riveting, but in the end, most of it is highly forgettable.

Just to be clear, I believe in staying informed. But I’ve come to realize that our addiction to the news industry comes at the expense of pursuing wisdom. Wisdom is found in books (and especially the Book) and not in newspapers and the internet. Wisdom is found in reflection, not in the hurried pace of a newscast. Wisdom is found in meditating on Scripture, not cramming in three news magazines before bedtime.

The reality is that most of us do not have the time to pursue both being informed and being wise. We will have to dabble at one in order to excel at the other. The sad thing is that many Christians have bought into the same lie that I did, and spend far more time reading newspapers and magazines than reading good books.

So if you want to be wise, do yourself a favor. The next time you are tempted to dash off to watch CNN or read TIME, stop and consider picking up a good book instead. The emotional high may not be as immediate, but the benefits will last a lifetime. Being informed or being wise—it’s our choice!

by Jay Childs, Future Senior Pastor