Beyond the buzz of gossip news
A Christian Science perspective.
No need to wait for the office kitchen conversation or the over-the-fence chat. The latest gossip is always just a click away. A recent comScore poll shows that visits to entertainment websites such as TMZ.com and TheInsider.com are on the rise among Americans – and that almost half of these visits occur during the workday ("Don't tell the boss: millions of Americans browse gossip sites at work," CSMonitor.com, July 1). This May, according to the poll, Americans spent more than 893 million minutes – something like 15 million hours – on gossip sites, with 44 percent of that time attributed to hours during the typical workday.Skip to next paragraph
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No doubt those numbers soared even higher in June, which saw the untimely death of pop star Michael Jackson and the infidelity of South Carolina's governor, Mark Sanford. The fascination with celebrity news points to several issues – escapism from the daily grind, relief from news dominated by sobering issues like increased job losses, the ups and downs of the stock market, and friction on the world scene. And perhaps, too, a degree of thinking along these lines: "That person may appear to have it all, but look how much better off I am...."
Whether or not one is interested in celebrity news, it's often unavoidable. And the insatiable appetite for gossip news deserves prayerful thought. How important it is to watch the thoughts we entertain about ourselves and others, and to live by a model that is observant, selective, and contemplative about the information we feed on.
The Christ-model for right thinking and acting is a good place to begin. The Christ is actually the Godlike identity of every one of us. It is the affirmation of God's love and healing power in our lives. You could say that adhering to the Christ-model, represented so perfectly by Jesus, is a bit like signing up for an RSS feed or a "twitter following" to the best news there is.
Mary Baker Eddy wrote that "Jesus was the highest human concept of the perfect man. He was inseparable from Christ, the Messiah, – the divine idea of God outside the flesh" ("Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," p. 482). Now there's an example to follow! When looking at the news, it's worth asking yourself, "How is the Christ – the true idea of manhood and womanhood – represented in this person/situation?"