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Publication: Conservative Review
Special Issue of Conservative Review

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               THE CONSERVATIVE REVIEW   
                   January 3, 2008
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Friends,

We have a special issue for you today, written by the CEO 
of Gophercentral. It is a thought that goes with the New 
Year. We all make resolutions, but how many do we keep? 
Our CEO, JA was asked to write a preface for the book, 
Put God First. 

He obtained permission to reprint and share it with you. 
We have no financial interest in the book except its 
spiritual importance. 

If you wish to purchase the book, a URL has been provided. 

Happy New Year from the Gophercentral staff 

URL to purchase Put God First: Put God First 

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Preface to Put God First

I was first introduced to Jeff Einstein about four years 
ago through his weblog on media and addiction, Einstein's 
Corner. I was immediately hooked on his viewpoint, and 
found it so intriguing that I sent him an email telling 
him that his insight was fresh and brilliant. 

Jeff emailed me back and expressed his gratitude, and I'm 
happy to say that our first email exchange has since 
evolved into a special friendship. I think it's fair to 
say that we hit it off right away... 

So when he told me that he was writing a book titled Put 
God First, I was instantly fascinated, and he indulged me 
by sending the first draft as soon as it was ready. In my 
opinion, Put God First nails THE PROBLEM of the 21st 
century: We have taken a flight from faith and are wander-
ing in the proverbial spiritual desert as we feed our 
media addiction. 

In recent years we seem to have moved well beyond the 
couch potato syndrome that defined our relationship with 
television and mass media through the mid-1990s. Our media 
choices have increased exponentially in the past decade, 
and today we might be better characterized as benumbed, 
spiritless spuds. 

Burt Lancaster, in the 1960 award-winning film Elmer 
Gantry, warned against the compartmentalization of 
spirituality when he said, "You can't go to mass on 
Sunday and cheat in business on Monday." 

In today's media-saturated environment, what Jeff refers to 
as the Great Age of Excess, we consign God and spirituality 
to ever-smaller and smaller compartments.  Most of us no 
longer give the Lord a single day a week, or even a few 
minutes a day. Our faith continues to shrink as our media 
addiction continues to grow. 

And as our faith decreases, our fears increase. 

Fear is the soul-destroying weapon that the media wield to 
cleave God from our lives. Thus, watching the news is no 
longer about information that we can use. It has instead 
become a high-speed conduit for instilling and fostering 
fear. Terrorism, bird flu, economic collapse, global warm-
ing, illegal immigration, killer storms; the list goes on 
and on. 

The main message, however, is always the same: Be afraid. 
Be very very afraid. Fortunately, however, the same media 
that advise us to fear everything also offer up a ready 
antidote with each and every warning: more media. "Stay 
tuned," they tell us. 

In the Great Age of Excess fear has replaced faith. So what 
can we do? Jeff's call to Put God First echoes the gentle 
and emarkable response of Ann Frank, a little girl whose 
generous spirit and great heart belied the sheer terror 
that held her and her world hostage in a terrible time: 

"The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy
 is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quiet, alone
 with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does 
 one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes 
 to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature." 

Unlike the fear and tyranny suffered by Ann Frank and 
millions of others during World War II, however, many of 
the fears and tyrannies that confront us today are self-
induced and manufactured. Thus, in the titanic struggle 
with our own excess there are few easy villains in the 
traditional sense, in large part because – as Jeff suggests 
– we are very much complicit in our own addictions. 

For instance, while today's media landscape features 
legitimate global media cartels that function at times not 
unlike the illegitimate drug cartels of Colombia, it also 
– with the sudden and relentless onslaught of consumer-
generated content – features millions upon millions of 
small neighborhood dealers, each with their own designer 
drugs to produce and sell. 

Regardless of who produces and supplies the narcotic, 
however, the demand will continue to increase in 
proportion to the promise of a functionally limitless 
supply guaranteed by functionally limitless bandwidth. 

And as the supply and demand for more media escalate, so 
too do the dangers: Inertia and apathy, two of addiction's 
primary byproducts, flourish in the Great Age of Excess. 

Inertia is what makes addiction so difficult to bust, and 
apathy is what besets us when we repeatedly encounter the 
depths of our own inertia. Apathy then breeds apathy. As 
we multitask across a typical universe of HDTVs, laptops, 
wireless phones, PDAs and MP3 players, we think little and 
care even less about the people and things that aren't on 
the screens directly in front of us. 

We simply haven't the time to consider whatever isn't on 
the screen in front of us right now.  So we visit less with 
friends and family, we volunteer less, we pray less and we 
sleep less, all so we can spend more time consuming media. 

In the end we find ourselves connected to people all over 
the world but disconnected from the people living in the 
same house and town. And the most notable estrangement, 
of course, is from God Almighty Himself. 

As the amounts of time and money that we devote to our 
media addiction grow, time and money for all other relation-
ships is compromised. Not only is our relationship with 
God short-changed in the process, but all of the other 
important relationships we need for healthy lifestyles and 
souls are imperiled as well: 

Our relationships with our children, our spouses, our 
friends, and our businesses are all offered up on the altar 
of our addiction to the media. How often have you heard or 
uttered the words, "I'm sorry, but I've been so busy..." 
in the past month alone? 

Of course we're all busy; we always have been, always are, 
and always will be. But nowadays we seem to have even less 
time than ever for the important relationships in our 
lives, especially our relationship with God. We find our-
selves falling farther and farther behind in our lives 
simply because we spend so much of our precious time 
feeding our addiction to media each and every day. 

We are compelled to feed the beast, and we find that the 
beast–like all addictions – is insatiable. 

Put God First is an important book. It shows us how to 
reintroduce God into our lives as a critical force for 
moderation in the Great Age of Excess. It shows us how 
a return to faith translates into a return to reason. 
Although each chapter begins with a brief prayer, Put 
God First is by no means a preachy evangelical treatise. 

Nor is it a convenient and self-serving exercise in media 
bashing. No matter what your religion or your relationship 
to media, you'll find something of value – something 
immediately applicable to your life – in these pages. Jeff 
has written a book that speaks with wisdom and compassion 
to the 21st-century malady of maladies. 

Hopefully, by shining a light on the problem we will then 
be better equipped to develop solutions. Time, however, is 
of the essence. Put God First shows us how and where to get 
started... 

Jaffer Ali (AKA JA)

CEO of NextEra Media, GopherCentral, Evtv1.com & Media 
Addict 

URL to purchase your copy of Put God First 

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Questions? Comments? Email your comments   
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End of CONSERVATIVE REVIEW   
Copyright 2008 by NextEra Media. All rights reserved.

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