Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The World is our Audience

Long on my to do list was to read the book The Call by Os Guinness. It hasn't disappointed. One chapter has the title of an oft repeated phrase "The Audience of One." The idea is that as a person of faith, we live our lives not out of selfish ambition or to please others but simple devotion to God.

This way of living has never been more difficult to live out. We are all living in a digital world where everyone is a publicist and everyone is part of the audience. We text, we twitter, we provide status updates of our every move. And some, like me, even blog out thoughts for the world to see.

There is a part of me that loves this new frontier of ultra-connectedness. It allows us to peer into the lives of our family and friends and share with one another. The internet has evolved and social networking will continue to develop and provide even greater access to our lives.

But is it possible that living our lives in such a publicized way might actually be working against a greater principle of the audience of one?

Jesus told us to pray in private. He insisted that our good deeds be done in secret with the knowledge and trust that God would reward them in heaven. And even the Proverbs remind us that we should let someone else praise us and not do it ourselves.

Os Guinness says,
"We have moved from the 'inner directed' world of the Puritans, in which calling acted as an inner compass, to the 'other directed' world of modern society, in which our contemporaries are our real guides- and a roving radar ranges to pick up their cues."

I for one am not suggesting that we pitch technologies, swear off our social networks or definitely not return to the days of the Puritans. But we need to have some guiding parameters that help us to steer clear of temptations that prey on our need to be accepted by the rest of the world instead of living life for an audience of one.