Wednesday, May 7, 2008

My Television Journey - Take the TRASH OUT!

I watch very little television. To quantify my term "very little," I would say I have viewed less than 30 hours of television programs over the past year...with the exception of Sports events such as Tennessee football. :-) So, truly, I watch very little.

I began moving away from television, when we moved into our last house. I am a complete idiot with anything electronic, and I had no idea how to hook up the TV. My husband finally came to my rescue and connected all of the cables once we had lived there for four months. By that time, I realized I had so much more time when I was not sitting in front of the television. I was able to accomplish more, get adequate rest, and didn't have the nagging feeling that I had been "wasting time."

When we moved into this house, we didn't even own a television. (Can you believe that?) Before moving from High Point, we had given our set to a single mom with very little. We thought it would benefit her to have one. Our intentions were to purchase another television once we arrived in Knoxville.

Therefore, when we moved into our current house, we didn't even own a TV set. Not one. Anywhere in the house. We procrastinated buying one because we didn't have the cash to pay for one. (If you know us, then you know we avoid debt like the plague, so financing one was not an option.) So, we waited. And, we didn't miss having a set. At all.

However, we were setting money aside to purchase a television when we could afford it. Not a big deal.

Our neighbor's son, Jake - age 10, was extremely disturbed that we did not (at this point) own a television. He thought there would be an international catastrophe and our family would not know about it! What if there was a massive earthquake predicted for our hometown? What if an asteroid was going to hit the Earth? What if? What if? What if? Seriously, he stressed out!
(Jake, come on now. I do keep up with the news through the Internet.)

About a year ago, when Jake's grandmother died, we opened our front door to find Jake and his parents holding his grandmother's TV, to give to us! Including a remote control!! It was a huge blessing! It was God's provision for our family because we had waited.

Jake's Grandma's television set is the one we have now, and the one we use. It works great! The picture is clear. The sound is crisp. It's great!

When we first got it, I was like a kid with a new toy. I was watching different shows. CSI, Survivor, The Amazing Race, etc... I realized I was staying up later, and later, and later.

One night, I watched an especially disturbing CSI episode, and I had trouble going to sleep that night. There were images I had seen that I could not shake away. These graphic scenes would not leave my mind. I realized that because I had not viewed anything of that nature in such a long period of time, I was highly sensitized to what my mind had encountered. I also chastised myself for getting drawn in to something that was so perverse and disturbing.

I prayed. I prayed for the horrible images to go, and that I would no longer be drawn to those types of shows. As much as I love a good mystery...

The next morning I wrote out a Bible verse out on a card. Then, I taped it to the front of the television set. My verse card stated, "Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things." Philippians 4:7-9 It served as my filter of what I should be "putting into my mind" through the television.

Actually, after I placed that verse on the television, I found there were very few things that met the qualifications I had established for myself. Very, very few.

After a few more weeks of trying to find something worthy of giving my time, and my mind to watch. I finally turned off the television shows "for good."

Therefore, I've watched very little television over the past year or so. Very little - as stated above. I really had no idea what shows were on for the current season. And, Sunday night, Reid had a meeting. I thought I would pass the time before he came home watching a little TV to relax. As I turned it on, I noticed the Bible verse had fallen off the TV set at some point during the past year. Oh, well.

The first show I started watching was very disturbing...a male cop who solves murder mysteries...while his sister falls in love with a serial killer...and his sister's lover plans to mutilate her body before ending her life. This show had a scene where the serial killer was getting ready to "cut up the body" of the sister - while she was alive. I was so horrified, I finally turned the channel. I was even more horrified that I had watched it up until this point. I couldn't believe this was COMING INTO MY HOME WITHIN MINUTES OF PUTTING OUR CHILDREN TO BED! This show currently has the 9:00 pm time slot!

So, I try to detach myself from what I just viewed, and I try to find something better. I flip to ANOTHER NETWORK CHANNEL - NOT CABLE! The next show I find is about a family. "Mmmm, this could be good" I think.

The storyline for this show went something like this... Affairs abound. One brother is in love with the girl that he thinks is his sister but she really isn't his sister because her mother was having an affair with someone else when she was born. (Yeah - can you believe I was sucked into this?) The character of the family who was portrayed as having the most wisdom was one of the brothers - who was also gay. The show ended - I am not kidding - with one brother proposing with lots of love an sentiment to another man. As I am grappling with the thought, "Did that really just happen on television?" The camera fades out to show these two men making out. MAKING OUT! TWO MEN! ON NETWORK TELEVISION! (I am heartbroken as I am writing this!)

I snapped the television off.

I sat numb on the couch.

So shocked, I couldn't move.

Is this what is infiltrating the minds of America? Is this what we celebrate? Is this what we find entertaining? Grotesque and perverse deaths?! Infidelity in marriage?! Homosexuality as a picture of a beautiful marriage?!

I found myself - again - repenting that I had found entertainment in all of the above. I had continued watching this TRASH until the end of the show. Why did I do that? I think I kept hoping the show would get better. I took the bait. I bit the hook. The shows both lured me in. Little. By. Little.

Well, shame on me!

As if it couldn't be worse, I received an e-mail Monday morning about the first show I started watching. Remember, the one about the serial killer mutilating the body of the cop's sister before killing her?

Yes, America, the "good guy" of the show is also a serial killer. That's right, the cop-brother in this show is also a serial killer. He is portrayed to be a "good guy" because he only kills people who need to be killed. WHAT?!? And this is on network television. To quietly, discreetly, unobjectedly enter into the homes of America. I WANT TO SCREAM!! The viewers are supposed to "cheer" for someone who methodically murders other people?!? AAAHAAAAAHHAAHAHHAHAHAH!!

Can anyone tell me a show currently on television that is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, of excellence, or if there is anything worthy of praise? PLEASE!!

These are the qualities I want to feed into my mind and the minds of my children - as scripture commands. I don't want to partake of the poison I witnessed Sunday night. I would have to say the shows I watched on Sunday night were that...poison for the mind...straight from our greatest enemy. satan. (My friend Patti doesn't capitalize his name - I refuse to as well. It's silly, but it makes me feel better.)

Finally, please understand I am not saying that all television is bad. (I don't watch enough of it to know. Really.) However, if the shows I viewed on Sunday night are indicative of what is being produced in Hollywood for the minds of America...I want nothing to do with it. Yuck! I have better ways to spend the short time I have on this earth. What I saw was GARBAGE!

I'd appreciate your comments on this post. I know I am on a Soapbox. Sorry. If you can steer me in the direction of something worthy of watching I'd be grateful!

Otherwise, take the TRASH OUT of my home!!


Scott Lyons said...

I give my TV a workout. (I figure someone or something in the house needs one.) But I find that I don't really watch the traditional TV show anymore. Laura and I keep up with American Idol. I watch House and The Office (both of which can be risque - that's not, however, why I watch them). I love Lost, but can never watch every episode so we usually get the season discs the following season and watch them in some horrible marathon that reddens our eyes causes drool to pool in the corners of our mouths. I watch one or two shows on EWTN, of course, being the good Catholic that I am. I watch informational shows: Discovery, History, etc. And I watch CNN. A lot. I rarely watch sports unless it's a big event. The rest of my viewing time is reserved for movies from Netflix.

That's my feedbag for when the kids are asleep. And then when the kids go to sleep, Laura usually, though not always, goes to sleep. But I can normally find something of interest on, and if not, I throw in a movie.

Now that time would be better spent writing. Granted. Or reading. Or praying. Or a number of other things, perhaps. But after the kids finally get settled, Daddy's brain shuts down. And I turn on this lovely spigot that endlessly pours out all that is lovely and pure and true and excellent.

O Sweet Jesus it's nice.

But I'm digressing into silliness. It sounds worse than it is, this addiction. Cause, seriously, I could turn it off whenever I wanted to.

Anonymous said...

Amen, sister! I tuned out of tv a while ago with few exceptions. That is one of the reason we have basic cable. I don't watch any of those shows either - they feed the disturbed folks of the world. I watched a GREAT PBS 3-part series called Cranford on Sunday night. Should have called you - it was like sense & sensabilities. Generally I only watch the Office and American Idol. The kids rarely watch tv at night - and then only a movie. I don't even like what is on Nick or Disney in the afternoons or night. That Philippians verse is what we use all the time as well.

Katie Gleason said...

Hey girl!!!! I love reading your blog, and I wanted to share some shows that I enjoy that arent so bad. American Idol of course I looooove. Suppernanny is fun to watch (I watch with my mom as she has become a "remom" Anything on HGTV is lots of fun (all though sometimes they feature gay couples on shows, we just change the channel) Anyway I never watch any sitcoms or mystery shows anymore (unless its Matlock!!! He's great)

pattis1234 said...

We have basic cable, so the only show that I regularly watch is Antiques Roadshow on PBS, Little House on the Praire on the Hallmark Channel and occasionally American Idol. When we had full cable, I found myself watching things that were not honoring to God. I am thankful that I do not have the option now.

Our family has gotten into watching series that are out on DVD. We are big Sci-Fi fans so we love Stargate and Babylon 5. We all watch these together, and then when it's time for the kids to go to bed, the TV turns off. The kids do watch a couple shows on The Disney Channel, but we are selective about that. I really believe that satan uses the TV to numb our minds to the things that God abhors! You find yourself laughing or being interested in things that grieve God. YUK!

All I can say is "Come quickly, Lord Jesus!".

Keep on Rockin' Robin!

Hillbilly Rockin' Robin said...

Based on the above comments - it sounds like I should be "up" on American Idol. Instead of asking - "What's that?" - I actually DO know what the show is about! Remember Fantasia is from the Triad area! So, instead of my first question, I'll ask, "When does it come on & on what channel?" And, I pose the question also - does the name of the show bother any of you? Not sure where I am with that. American IDOL? Something about that doesn't sit right with my spirit.

Thanks for your comments - glad I'm not the only one who is troubled by what is promoted on television. However, sad to see many others must veiw these shows without thinking what they are actually witnessing. Otherwise, they would not be shown b/c of low ratings.

Evidently, many of us Americans are similar to the Romans who crowded into the coliseum to watch Christian people have their bodies torn apart...all in the name of entertainment. What do some television viewers do? Turn on their set to blood, gore, mutilation, perversion, and the like. It's sad to see the direction we are headed in our society unless we start thinking - as you all have stated above - about what we are allowing to infiltrate our minds. Thanks for your comments. Maybe I'll give some of the show yor mentioned a try.

Thanks for putting up with my ranting and raving...

Becki party of 5 said...

This post was definitely worth the rant and rave! We are on the American Idol bandwagon, it's one of the only things we can sit down and watch with our kids. I agree about the name, and Russ likes to call it "American Idolatory"....but we still tune in! The kids and I also like the TLC shows..Jon and Kate plus 8, and Little People, Big World. These shows are the only reason we have beyond basic cable. You're right, there's not much worth watching anymore!

pattis1234 said...

I have to say, when we gave up cable, I had a hard time realizing that I would not be able to watch "Jon and Kate plus 8". Loved, loved, loved that show!

Scott Lyons said...

Well, Robin, there are idols and then there are idols. And what is meant by the one is not meant by the other in our language. So we might talk about someone we idolize, but that doesn't mean we offer them the adoration due God alone. It means we respect them and, particularly, what they do.

Worship and Praise are two other words that make us uncomfortable. Yet neither of these words, in the past, spoke exclusively of the adoration due God alone. Indeed, the word "Praise" is in the Philippians passage you cited - there are praiseworthy things and praiseworthy deeds and praiseworthy people. "Praise" and "Worship" speak more about giving someone or something their due than the connotations the words carry today among many Christians.

(And while "Adore" and "Adoration" used to be that word reserved for God alone, we now adore very many things in our lives, from God to outfits to puppies.)

All that being said, if the show's use of the word makes you spiritually uncomfortable, then don't watch it.

Scott Lyons said...

Oh, and Idol's on Tuesdays, 8 o'clock, on Fox. And the "results" show is on Wednesdays at 9.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Scott - the intent of the show in their use of Idol is not in a worshipping way, but in a way of the person being the best at what they do. It is not heresay. Luckily, our basic cable includes TLC so I get to watch Jon & Kate plus 8. It is a great show, too.

Under the Raisner Roof... said...

Very interesting commentary on television. I used to watch several shows on a regular basis. However, I found myself "planning my family" around those shows and soon realized that the stress and pressure of trying to watch those shows "undisturbed" in my room was too much and not worth it! I don't miss those shows at all. I do like to watch American Idol, even though I have found this season rather boring. Maybe it is just me. There just isn't too much I like. I do love runnning into reruns of Andy Griffith! Amy

HIllbilly Rockin' Robin said...

Scott & Kelsey - Thanks for easing my mind a bit with the title American IDOL. Amy - I must say Andy Griffith is still a show I do enjoy watching! Perhaps we could work our schedules around a rerun next time we are together!! BTW, I think I will post more often about television b/c I think this is the most comments any entry has ever received on my blog! Thanks for commenting!

onionboy said...

Came here via my online friend Scott Lyon's blog. This summer my wife and I will be married 25 years. We didn't have a TV until our son died, 4 years into our marriage. We went into toxic shock from the commercials alone and gave the box away.

Later on we got one again but watch very little. I tell people I watch one hour a month which isn't true but folks don't believe me when I tell them, simply, I don't watch television, don't have cable, don't have satellite or outdoor antenna. They think we're aliens, and hey, we are!

Mostly we have one to play the dvds we borrow from the library. I admit to watching some TV now via shows posted to the internet but it's really limited.

My wife and I and all three kids are huge readers, writers, volunteer, cycle and so forth.