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Archive for May 17th, 2009

      On my classroom wall is posted the statement, “Bored is not a circumstance; it’s a state of mind.”  From the frequency of gaming, surfing the web and channels, and various other vicarious pursuits of entertainment coupled with short attention spans and lack of excitement for anything short of amazing I would say it is a common state of mind.  Other evidences may be harder to see: boredom with marriage, the job, the church, or life itself.  As Thomas Dubay puts it in The Evidential Power of Beauty boredom is “an insipid tedium with existence itself. Reality [is] a colossal blah.” (p.73)  What is the cause of this state of mind?  Part of Dubay’s answer is as follows: “The personal inability to perceive truth and beauty is related as first cousin, if not sibling, to a lack of wonder, which in turn, often if not always, arises from jadedness, from a perduring and even disgusting boredom caused by excess and overindulging” (p.72)  He is in fact repeating himself because jadedness means dullness brought on by excess.  So many people are seeking out more amazing, more sensually beautiful, or more violent stimulation to stave off boredom but these things are causing it.  In fact, “fully jaded men and women, old or young, marvel at nothing.” (p.73)  One area where this dullness is resulting in a desire to ramp up the stimulation is the immodesty of dress in public and in every form of media.  I think that the following statement relates to this idea: “It is one of the notable sadnesses of our time that so many are incapable of fascination with the deeper levels of human beauty, especially those rooted in the spirit, levels that far transcend physical attractiveness.” (Dubay, p.64) To summarize, boredom occurs because over stimulation dulls the mind so that it cannot in turn “perceive truth and beauty”.

          But if over stimulation were the primary cause would it not be eventually self-correcting when the stupor of dullness persists?  Would not the bored soul stop pushing forward into continued boredom?  I believe the answers are no.  The bored person is addicted to the stimulation of senses because he or she is trying to fill a great void, an emptiness in their soul brought on by their own sin or very frequently the hurt caused by someone else’s sin.  Jeremiah 2:13 says that people “hew for themselves cisterns, broken cisterns that can hold no water.”  Obviously the answer is not pouring in more stimulation to relieve the boredom or hurt because the void can never be filled that way.  As a friend of mine said recently, when people are so focused on themselves they cannot help but become bored.  They need to focus on something outside themselves. 

       You may say, “What’s the big deal.  Someone is bored.  Get up and do something; get over it.”  I am not referring to a momentary Tuesday afternoon lack of something to do.  As I have observed it this boredom is a growing disease that is robbing people of purpose and happiness.  To the unbeliever I would say, you need Jesus who can heal your sin and your hurts.  As He has said, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)  God’s salvation is sufficient but that salvation will need to be worked into a person’s life through a growing relationship with God that will heal hurts.  The believer who is bored has either given up ground or never taken it from the enemy.  The first part of the verse above about broken cisterns says, “My people have committed two evils: The have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters”.  Our primary focus must be God.  Part of the solution for the believer may be to fast from mere entertainments and seek more profound beauty.  “Cease striving and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10)  Seeking God will increase your thankfulness and erase the dullness of reaction to beauty and truth.  The dullness of boredom can be erased by knowing and serving God rather than things or ideas or self.

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