Sunday, May 09, 2010

I'm going to need a TALL bookcase

I am about ready to make a proclamation that I hope does not come back to haunt me someday.

But this is a good thing, so long as my focus is clear and my perspective is right, I don't see why it would be haunting. Hopefully.

Anyway, over the past couple of years, I have found that most everything that I see on television disgusts me. Most of what's on these days is not the least bit edifying; in fact, it is quite the contrary. If anything, I think TV (and movies, for that matter) have slowly but surely, over time, slipped into a very wicked category. It's hard to find anything, even a so-called "family-friendly" sitcom, that does not involve foul language, sexual scenes, or unbiblical lifestyles. This is so much a part of the world we live in that even though we would never actively participate in these ways, we still feel justified watching a television show or movie of others who do, because, well, it's "entertaining."

We have been desensitized.

It has been largely convicting to me over the past year or so. I am actually not someone who even watches that much television. If anything, being online is the biggest time-waster in my life, so that's what I generally work on cutting down on.

I remember hearing a sermon awhile back about how desensitized we, as Christians, have become because of our society. He said, "If you want to see how desensitized you are, cut out TV for a week. Or better yet- cut it out for a whole month. I guarantee that when you turn that television back on after all that time away, you will be horrified at what you used to allow yourself to watch."

It's true. As I said, I watch very little TV, so when I do turn it on, I find myself disgusted and frustrated by what I see. And lately, I have been feeling the same way about the movies I watch. Most of the entertaining ones to me usually include something compromising, such as foul language or bad scenes. So why do I watch it? To get a few laughs?

I'm not sure. Yet at the same time, there are plenty of films out there that are educational (in nature) and very inspirational, either based off of a true story or are there to inspire. These are meaningful. If I can walk away educated, inspired, or emotionally moved, I usually feel like I spent better use of my time than just laughing at the cost of feeling a bit uncomfortable.

And that's the thing. I'm afraid too many Christians don't feel that sense of "discomfort" anymore. I remember once, when I was very young and after first becoming a Christian, I was talking to the elder of our church. I expressed to him that sometimes, I felt uncomfortable with certain situations.

"That's a good thing," he told me.

I was a little confused.


"Because," he told me, "That means the Holy Spirit is convicting you."

Most of us won't go out tonight and rob a bank or steal a car- and that's a no-brainer. We might feel bad for doing that. But what about those little things that creep into our life and are completely justified because "every other Christian I know is doing it, too," and "it isn't really affecting me."

Just today, I was listening to a sermon on the radio about this very concept. The pastor was talking about how often, there are certain sin areas that are in our life that are never even acknowledged by self or by other fellow believers, because a) we all do them, b) it is minimized to less than what it really is, and c) we feel inferior to point out something that seems so trivial, fearing that others won't think it a big deal.

But the point is, whether we are murders, rapists, and thieves, or whether we are white liars and disobeyers, we are all in the same boat: headed for Hell and doomed for destruction, unless we repent of our sins and accept the gift Christ offered us via His blood that was shed on the cross. So with that being said... we may not take the Lord's name in vain or curse, and we may not sleep around, and we may not commit crimes and live alternative lifestyles... but do we continually watch TV shows and movies that explicitly shout all of those themes, and accept it willingly? What does our brain do with that?

I hate to come across as preachy. That's the last thing I want to do. It's just something that's been on my mind lately, and that's why I prefaced this post as I did, because I guess my great proclamation is that lately, I've been REALLY into reading books =) and I'm a huge fan of books over TV. I once read a statistic that said that you burn more calories sleeping than you do watching TV, and I'm not saying that reading a book burns calories (in fact, unless you're walking on a treadmill with book in hand, it's probably about the same as watching TV) BUT at least you're working your brain when you read. =)

So, I'm not sure if this will actually happen, but... whenever I move out of my parents' house, I'd love to move into a place with no TV. I'd love it. I would love to stock my book shelves with books, rent films that will inspire and educate, and fill the rest of my free time going out to coffee with friends or riding my bike that would have otherwise been spent wasted in front of a television.

I meant to use all of that to build up to what I really wanted to share about, which is a book I'm currently reading, but it has gotten far too long. So I'll just close with this one main concept. The book I'm reading is called "The Principle of the Path" by Andy Stanley. He states that if you want to get to a specific spot in life, you have to be intentional about how you get there. That seems obvious, but far too often in life, we follow the wrong examples. Look to the wrong people, talk to the wrong sources, ignore all the red flags, and then we wonder why we ended up where we did. Why the bank account is drained, why the class was failed, why the relationship tanked. He told the horrifying story of two teenage girls who were crossing a busy street. They were talking and not really paying attention, and they saw that the two lanes of traffic going straight had a green light, so that started crossing. However, they failed to recognize the other two lanes of traffic in the far left-hand lanes who were turning left, and the two girls were both hit by cars. They ended up visiting the hospital. Neither of them died or were critically injured, but his point was, how often do we walk through life fully INTENDING to choose the right path and get to a certain spot (the end of the road), but getting hit by a car in the middle? How many of us plan to walk into oncoming traffic? Our intentions are usually good. But intentions don't matter when the end result is disastrous, and we have to avoid those situations by paying attention. Seeking the right instructions, sources, and people.

My point in all of this, really, is that it's about perspective, balance, and honesty. I'm not about to become Amish, don't worry. BUT, I think for myself, I need to really evaluate what I allow myself to see and my motive behind it. Furthermore, there's a balance to be had between time spent entertaining myself and time I spend with things that edify and build up. Lastly, I think honesty is key in looking into your heart, cleaning house, and taking care of anything, even the smallest habit or mindset or lifestyle, so that God can be glorified rather than self. Because let's face it, is God glorified when we're jealous? When we don't forgive, or we gossip, or watch reality TV for 3 hours a day? I am convinced that almost every sin we commit is linked back to selfishness, pride, or a combination of both.

Anyway. I should close. I'll be back soon... with more thoughts, I'm sure. Writing like this is like therapy to me... it really is. Thanks for all who read, whoever you are. And I know there are more of you than I think there are, because I still have people who come up to me and say "I read your blog!" and I say, "You do?!" But hey, one of my goals in life is to touch others through writing, and hopefully one day I can publish a book, but until then... the blog is where it's at. Love you all.


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