Monday, May 6, 2013


I spent my childhood in the 60's for the most part. Yeah, there was a brief stint in the 50's but most of those memories have long since been forgotten. The 60's was where I did most of my growing and learning - second grade through sophomore year. Most of that time was spent hanging out with my new best friend - television.

TV was different back then. I remember watching lots of shows about heroes. The Lone Ranger, Sky King, Superman and Batman. One of my favorite shows was Twelve O'clock High - a World War II show about bomber pilots - more heroes.

Television was relatively good back then. It allowed us to see a man set foot on the moon back in 1969. That was cool. I also got to watch The Ice Bowl (Packers vs Cowboys) - live, back in 1967. Those days, after-school baby-sitters came in black & white and had things known as "rabbit ears," an antennae used to improve reception.

These days the technology has improved greatly, but the quality of the television programming has taken a major nose dive. It sucks. Gone are the heroes of yesteryear. Gone are the values of family time, sitting around the dining room table. Instead we gather in the living room. If there IS any "family time" at home, it is usually centered around the television set.

King Solomon commented on television (sort of) in the Book of Ecclesiastes, chapter one. Here's a few verses from my BIV translation (Bob's Interpreted Version).

3 What do people gain from all their TV watching
    at which they spend hours under its spell?
4 Generations come and generations go,
    but the scars from television remain forever.

So many parents, perhaps searching for some time by themselves, leave their impressionable children in the hands of the god of television. It captures their very souls and they spend hour after hour watching the "boob tube" - hypnotized by its cold, pale glow. That's rather sad and it speaks to the selfish nature of our society today. But what can we do about it? We're already indoctrinated.

Back in 1971, the year I graduated high school, American folk singer John Prine released a song on his debut album. Although the song was named Spanish Pipe Dream, it became more widely known as "Blow Up Your TV." Here's some good advice for today's families, trying to find "family time" in a world now filled with an over-abundance of technology.

Blow up your T.V. throw away your paper
Go to the country, build you a home
Plant a little garden, eat a lot of peaches
Try an find Jesus on your own.

Good advice and, except for the "eat a lot of peaches" part, I have done all those things. Well, almost all. I didn't blow up our TV either. My wife would kill me! Gotta watch Castle and all those cooking shows and home fix-up shows! Actually, she probably wouldn't kill me but I bet the temperature drop in our house would be quite noticeable.

You know, if I had my way on this whole TV thing, I'd get rid of the satellite dish and I'd spend supper time sitting at the dining room table, talking with my wife. Then I'd take my TV out into the back yard and . . . KA - BOOM!!!

There are times when television serves a function, but there is simply too much time spent in front of the ol' idiot box . . . in my opinion. Keep track of what you watch sometime. You might be surprised at the number of hours devoted to this "god" during a given week.

So here is our challenge. Let's keep track of all of our "TV time" and compare it to our "God time" (prayer, church, serving others, etc.). If the TV wins, God has a problem with that. I'd even say that even if it's close, God's not going to like it. And the more that I think about it, ANYTHING that takes our attention away from God is not good.

I've tried reading my Bible while my wife watches the TV. It doesn't work. My full attention is not on God and that is wrong. So I get up and go into another room to read. I want my focus to be totally on God when I am in His Word.

God, help us to focus on you and you alone. Help us to remove the distractions from our lives, the things that replace you on your thrown, even for a short time. God, there is no one like you. Amen.

Where have all of our heroes gone? The ones we used to watch on TV? Pssst. They're in the Bible!

"There is none like you, O LORD; you are great, and your name is great in might." - Jeremiah 10:6 (ESV)

Our God Is Greater by Chris Tomlin

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