As believers we need to reject the world’s thinking and begin to think as Christians. This is what the Apostle Paul is writing about in our text from Romans 12:2: "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind." This means not that our thinking is to be determined by the culture of the world around us but rather that we are to have a distinctly different and growing Christian world and life view.

This week we've looked at different ways that "the pattern of this world" eases its way into our worldview. And this is the point at which we also need to talk about genuine mind renewal for Christians, which is what I will continue with next week. But I want to mention a helpful little book by John Stott, the Rector Emeritus of All Soul’s Church in London. It is titled Your Mind Matters.

Sadly enough, "the pattern of this age" weaves itself into even apparently spiritual things. This is especially true in many religious television programs. Religion is on television chiefly in an entertainment format. With the possible exception of Billy Graham, who has an international following quite apart from the television medium, and some other teaching pastors, the religious television stars are mostly entertainers. Even televised church services contain their requisite musical numbers and pop testimonies, just like variety shows on secular television.

A great deal of what Postman develops in his book Amusing Ourselves to Death is reinforcement for what I have been describing as mindlessness. And "the pattern of this age" today is certainly mindless. So let me review two specific areas of bad influence, as he sees it. There is a chapter in the book that deals with news on television, and it is entitled "Now... This." That is because these are the words most used on television to link one brief televised news segment - the average news segment on network news programs is only 45 seconds long - to the next news segment or commercial. What the phrase means is that what one has just seen has no relevance to what one is about to see or, for that matter, to anything.

Amusing Ourselves to Death was published in 1985, one year after 1984, the year popularized as the title of George Orwell’s futuristic novel with its dark vision of a society controlled by fear. In Orwell's novel Big Brother rules everything with a ruthless iron fist. But Postman reminds us that there was another novel written slightly earlier with an equally chilling but quite different vision of the future: Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. In Huxley’s novel there is no need for Big Brother, because in this ominous vision of the future, people have come to love their oppression as well as the technologies that strip away their capacities to think.