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Welcome to the online home of Tim Challies, blogger, author, and book reviewer.
June 04, 2005
I love television. I love to be able to turn my mind off at the end of a hard day’s work and just lie back on the couch with nothing more to think about than who will be the next person voted off the island. I love following the lives of fictional characters whose lives seem so much more interesting (and funny) than my own. I love a good whodunit, trying to determine which of the good guys is actually a bad guy. I love football, hockey and baseball – some of the best forms of entertainment available.
I hate television. I hate how it makes me turn my mind off, causing me to stop thinking about the important and interesting things I have learned during the day. I hate telling my kids to shush because I don’t want to miss the punch line of a great episode of a sitcom. I hate following the lives of people who don’t exist whose lives are so immoral and godless. I hate seeing my son watching an almost-naked body on television or having him see a dead child on the screen. I hate watching hours of football, hockey and baseball – some of the most mindless entertainment available.
I love what I hate. I love to watch television, though I know most of it has no redeeming value whatsoever. I profess to know that what goes into a mind comes out in a life, yet don’t think I can be affected by filling my mind with garbage. I want my son to be raised with a respect for what is right and wrong, yet continually justify what is wrong because I don’t want to turn off my show. I know that a mind is a terrible thing to waste, yet love to turn mine off. I am a hypocrite.
Why does television have such a hold on me? Why do I not have the self-control to just turn it off? To just walk away? All I can determine is that turning off my mind is addictive. I like to be amused. The word “amuse” comes from Greek words meaning “not thinking” and that is exactly what I seem to enjoy. I enjoy not having anything deep or exciting to think about. I enjoy mindlessness. And perhaps even worse, if I did open my mind I would see all sorts of behavior that contradicts my beliefs.
That is a sobering thought. Where God tells me to fill my mind with purity and holiness, I prefer either to turn it off altogether or fill it with trash.
I have invested a lot of time and consideration into the places where Christian’s lives disconnect from their faith. Or said differently, where the walk disconnects from the talk. For me, I know this is one of those areas. I say one thing but consistently contradict what I say with what I actually do.
Now please don’t think that I am against television altogether and am advocating putting a hammer through your (or my) TV. And don’t think that I watch ridiculous amounts of TV. I just know that this is an area in my life that I am holding back, unwilling to let God change me. I am stubbornly refusing to give up this addiction, denying God the right to use that time for His purposes.