21 February 2011

FIll the Space . . .

Living in a rural area, there is not a lot to do to waste time.  TV however is the perfect time killer out here, until now.  We have now entered the world of high-speed internet.  That's right our little community has made it to the 21st century.  My home was graced with this little gem just over a week ago, which if you recall, is not long after I stopped watching TV.

You may already know where this is going.  I have spent a lot of time on the internet.  I'm not watching TV shows on the web, just surfing and facebooking and then facebooking a little more.  The other night Christy and I were sitting right next to each other and had to IM each other that it's time for bed.  Man are we messed up!

That reminded me of the question, "When you give something up, what takes its place?"  Addicts of all sorts deal with this dilemma.  Smokers turn to dip, dippers begin eating sunflower seeds, alcoholics take up golf and fat people, well as a fat person, I haven't figured that one out yet.  You get the point.  While this is not a complete media fast, I don't want to just slide from 2 to 3 hours of TV per night to 2 to 3 hours of internet per night.  To me, that is pointless.

As I said when I first started this, its an experiment.  Here is a variable that wasn't a part of my original hypothesis.  Now I have to deal with it.  I don't know how yet, but I'm going to take the next week to figure it out.

I do know this, I want more of GOD, and I believe that's why this new obstacle has presented itself.  I'll let you know how its going next week.  Suggestions Welcome.

15 February 2011

1 Down 51 To Go. . .

Alright.  I've done it.  One week without T.V. (well, almost . . .more on that in a minute). I suppose its not that big of a deal.  51 weeks from now will be a big deal, if i can manage.  There are a few things I noticed this week.  Here's my top ten:

1)  T.V. is virtually unavoidable in our society.  I mean it is everywhere.  The doctor's office, the bank, restaurants, on your phone, computer, above urinals on bathrooms.  So, know this - I will see T.V. this year - can't help it, but I will not watch it.  There is a big difference.

2)  T.V. is a very useful tool.  I realize that the last statement in point one needs to be clarified.  This past week there was winter weather moving into my area.  I had a Wednesday night church service and a Thursday night seminar involving over a hundred people for which I was responsible.  I kept checking the internet, but when people were telling me what the news was saying it didn't match-up to the internet.  So, I watched the weather.  Nothing beyond that.  There will be times when I watch the weather.  Our area is a tornado super-highway, so this spring when severe weather is threatening, I will be watching.

3)  I have read more.  Right now I am reading a biography on Dietrich Bonhoeffer.  It's good!

4)  I help my kids with their homework more.

5)  I eat less.

6)  I am exercising.  (this list is making it sound like I was a selfish, curmudgeony, sloth a week ago.  I wasn't.  I swear.)

7)  The rest of my household is watching much less T.V.

8)  Christy and I talk more. (Honestly, communication has never been an issue anyway).

9)  I'm not quite as anxious to get the kids to bed (but I still look forward to it - I need quiet time).

10)  I am not sure how long these trends will last.

There you have it!  The top ten things I notice after just one week without T.V.  

By the way, please click to "follow" the blog.  It just lets me know I'm not talking to myself.

07 February 2011

Here it goes - No TV for 1 year

So, I guess I’m going to do this.  Give up T.V.  For some reason I don’t feel convinced.  But, I must admit that it’s something I felt I should do for a while.  It really started out of a conviction that T.V. or what was on it or a combination of the two had become a god in my life – I had to have it.

It started specifically with University of Tennessee football.  I do love those Vols!  I had taken the time to put every game for two years on my calendar and as soon as the time for the game was announced I put that in too.  Nothing wrong with that, right?  It gets worse.  I then planned everything else in my life around those games.  I know a lot of men in America do this exact thing, but it was becoming uncomfortable, like the tag on your favorite shirt rubbing the back of your neck the wrong way.  You love the shirt so you don’t want to change, but the constant rubbing leaves a knot in your stomach.

That irritability manifested itself in my attitudes as well.  If I was out with my family and it was getting close to game time, I would begin to rush everyone along (not advisable with five children).  The more I pushed, the more I frustrated my family.  The more they got frustrated the more irritated I became.  Don’t even get me started on how I acted if someone interrupted my game watching.  You get the picture. 

Finally, I felt like God gave me a smack on the back of the head, the kind you give your siblings when they says something stupid, and said, “Eric!  It’s a game!  What does it benefit you if they win, or cost you if they lose?”  So, I did not watch the first 3 games of the season this year.  After that I typically only had the game on in the background with the sound off.  The only game I watched all the way through was the Music City Bowl.

Is there anything wrong with watching football?  No.  There was something wrong with the importance it had in my life.

Next thing I know I am beginning to wonder about all the T.V. shows I watch.  They didn’t really carry the importance of football (unless it was Jim and Pam’s wedding on The Office).  But what was I getting from them?  What am I feeding my head?  More importantly, what am I feeding my heart?  Philippians 4:8 kept popping up like a weed in my head.  I would pluck it with my excuses and it would spring back up and spread.  It says this,  “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things” What shows was I watching that fit each and everyone of those descriptions?

There you go.  That’s how I came to this point.  I may not completely succeed, but it’s not about that.  It’s about taking something that was not edifying me spiritually and replacing it with things that are.  Things that will help me and those around me to grow in Christ.  We can figure what that is together, if you want to help.  SUGGETIONS WELCOME. Here goes nothing.

02 February 2011

An Experiment

I'm not the first.  To not watch T.V., that is.  People go without TV all the time.  Some by choice, others out of their lack of resources.  I think about my High School German teacher, Frau Haliburton.  She did not have cable or really watch TV.  I couldn't imagine that.  She said they had one small TV and a VCR (dating myself aren't I), but it wasn't used much.  There are millions like her, I'm sure.

As I  think about it, I realize how rich we are in America.  The fact that there would be any novelty at all for someone to forgo TV, when there are millions who cant even watch TV, let alone own one, just shows how dependent on the media Americans have become.

I will begin on Monday, February 7, 2011 and not watch again until Super Bowl 46 in 2012.  One year without TV.  Nothing Earth shattering, but something that most Americans would not do.

Why do this?  There are a number of reasons I will hash out over the course of the year, but for now lets say its because it dominates so much of my time.  I don't like that.  I am not doing this to say, "Look at me!  I'm not watching TV."  Nor am I going to belittle everyone still watching TV.  I'm not trying to preach (although I'm sure I will be preachy at times, it's what I do).  This is just an experiment that I thought would be fun to share and document.  The experiment could fail after one week, or I may make it the entire year.  Let's see together.

On Monday - I set the ground rules.  See you then.