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Echo Chamber

Weekly Devotionals

Echo Chamber

2 Timothy 3:16-17
16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

In the past several years, we have seen the prominence of a phenomenon that has probably been around since the beginning of human community.  It has particularly emerged with the growth and combination of social media, data collection and marketing.  In the last U.S Presidential election, Facebook was one of the primary means by which people read headlines and articles to hear the latest news about the different candidates.  And what many people found out during and after that time is that the more articles they read from the same sources and the same political leanings, the more those same or similar sources produced articles showing up on their news feeds…thus producing an echo chamber.

According to Wikipedia:
“In news media, echo chamber is a metaphorical description of a situation in which beliefs are amplified or reinforced by communication and repetition inside a closed system. By visiting an “echo chamber”, people are able to seek out information which reinforces their existing views, potentially as an unconscious exercise of confirmation bias. This may increase political and social polarization and extremism.  The term is a metaphor based on the acoustic echo chamber, where sounds reverberate in a hollow enclosure.”

This is not merely a social media, marketing problem.  Many of us Christians do the very same thing with our reading of Scripture.  We don’t mind reading Genesis, the first half of Exodus, the Gospels, the Psalms, Jonah, even Revelation.  But we too commonly avoid the usual suspects like Leviticus, Numbers, Jeremiah (except ch. 29-33), and obscurities like Nahum.  In other words, we read what we want to read, thus producing an echo chamber of sorts.

What happens when we only read the parts of Scripture that we like to read is that our selective consumer tendencies take over (as it does for much of our lives).  And this in turn produces 2 effects among many: 1) we play god, deciding for ourselves what’s good/evil, right/wrong, cool/lame, preferred/distasteful, thereby directing our lives as we wish.  And 2) we become incomplete.  The first one is more or less obvious and has been preached plenty.  The second is more subtle.  Increasingly, I’m finding that many of us are discovering that we are not growing and maturing in certain areas of our lives and walks with God.  And as I probe and ask about our devotional reading, I find that large portions of Scripture are missing in our lives.

Paul says we need ALL of Scripture to be equipped for right living.  ALL.  Not just the parts that we like, the parts that we understand, the parts we relate to; but also the ones we don’t get, that we find boring, that seem irrelevant.  Within the neglected latter lies the thoroughness for our need.