I hope this will not be taken as curmudgeonly ranting, but I am bored to tears with our culture.

I am bored with politicians trying to get our attention by substituting shocking statements and 280 character outbursts for thoughtful dialogue and deliberative decision-making.

I am bored with companies trying to get my attention by seeking to convince me that I will be smarter, hipper, more popular if I consume their product, when their real intent is to get me to buy stuff I don’t need to satisfy a hunger that they have created.

I am bored with media that have apparently run out of creative ideas and so try to get my attention by peddling a “reality” that seldom exists in the real world but that probably makes me feel better about my own life.

I am bored by people who expect me to pay attention to them because they wear a certain label (and assume I wear the same one) instead of seeking to convince me of the validity of their position through persuasive, credible argument.

And I can live with being bored in the presence of such vapid people and institutions, but I’m afraid I’ve become bored with a few other things too.

I may have become bored with the plight of refugees and other suffering people, both here and around the world. After all, you can only see so many pictures of starving children and desperate families and oppressed ethnic groups before your attention starts to wander.

I confess to being bored with the disparity between the rich and poor in our society. It is hard to pay attention to the issue when you find yourself on the right side of the equation.

As hard as it may seem to believe, I think I have become bored with the level of violence in our society. The most recent mass murder may claim my attention for the moment, but it is simply one in a long line of violent acts that seems to have no end and after a couple of weeks it’s hard to separate the perpetrators and victims and locations from one event to the next.

I’m not proud to confess boredom with these terrible things, but I suppose it is part of the human condition to become bored with anything to which we are exposed too frequently, too impersonally, or too casually. For anything to claim my attention it seems it must be bigger, glitzier, more dramatic than any previous experience in the same area.

But I’ll tell you what doesn’t bore me: the reality of God revealed in Jesus Christ. I may get bored with religion or religious people; I can certainly lose interest in the ill-considered pronouncements of self-appointed spokespeople for the Church of Jesus Christ, but I will never become bored with the historical figure of Jesus of Nazareth presented in the pages of the New Testament. And I better not ever get bored with the presence of the Holy Spirit in my own life, seeking to draw my attention away from the allure of the world and my own self-centeredness into a life of service and love.

In fact, it occurs to me that my boredom with all those attention-seeking ploys of the world may just leave the door open for a fresh experience of the Holy Spirit, a renewed sense of purpose as a follower of Jesus Christ. To put the most positive spin on my boredom, it may lead to a reminder of what is truly important in life.

The philosopher William James once said something to the effect that ultimately your life comes down to that to which you choose to pay attention. I need to start this new year off by paying more attention to that to which I am paying attention.