Friday, December 5, 2008

TV

This is kind of a cheesy story but is good food for thought as to how much and what kinds of "strangers" you invite into your home. I'm not intending to communicate that all TV for everyone is evil, or even a bad idea. It's a tool, just like anything else and I certainly don't condemn those of you who have TVs!


For me, (since we don't have a TV) our "stranger" would have to be the internet. I have more control over what I expose myself to online than I probably would on a television but it still sucks valuable time away from me. I find my computer to be an invaluable tool for many things but it's also the biggest source of time wasting in my life right now.


All this has been on my mind since this week's topic in my Bible study was self-control. (We're finishing up the fruits of the Spirit.) Here are a few one-liners that kicked me in the gut:


"Christ has given us the victory over our flesh, our world, and our accuser [Satan]. Only self can re-extend authority to one of these three enemies. They cannot presume authority over us. In the life of a believer, they can rule only where they are invited."


"Physical discipline and spiritual discipline often go hand in hand."


"Self-control enhances effectiveness; self-indulgence limits effectiveness."


"Self-indulgence saps us of much-needed strength."


"The tongue is the hardest of all living things to tame."


"The primary danger of the television screen [or in my case, internet] lies not so much in the behavior it produces as the behavior it prevents."


(All the above quotes were taken from 'Living Beyond Yourself: Exploring the Fruit of the Spirit' by Beth Moore.)


And now... the cheesy story. =)


The Stranger


as told by Keith Currie


A few months before I was born, my dad met a stranger who was new to our small Tennessee town. From the beginning, Dad was fascinated with this enchanting newcomer, and soon invited him to live with our family. The stranger was quickly accepted and was around to welcome me into the world a few months later.


As I grew up I never questioned his place in our family. In my young mind, each member had a special niche. My brother, Bill, five years my senior, was my example. Fran, my younger sister, gave me an opportunity to play 'big brother' and develop the art of teasing. My parents were complementary instructors-- Mom taught me to love the word of God, and Dad taught me to obey it.


But the stranger was our storyteller. He could weave the most fascinating tales. Adventures, mysteries and comedies were daily conversations. He could hold our whole family spell-bound for hours each evening.


If I wanted to know about politics, history, or science, he knew it all. He knew about the past, understood the present, and seemingly could predict the future. The pictures he could draw were so life like that I would often laugh or cry as I watched.


He was like a friend to the whole family. He took Dad, Bill and me to our first major league baseball game. He was always encouraging us to see the movies and he even made arrangements to introduce us to several movie stars. My brother and I were deeply impressed by John Wayne in particular.


The stranger was an incessant talker. Dad didn't seem to mind, but sometimes Mom would quietly get up-- while the rest of us were enthralled with one of his stories of faraway places-- go to her room, read her Bible and pray. I wonder now if she ever prayed that the stranger would leave.


You see, my dad ruled our household with certain moral convictions. But this stranger never felt obligation to honor them. Profanity, for example, was not allowed in our house-- not from us, from our friends, or adults. Our longtime visitor, however, used occasional four letter words that burned my ears and made Dad squirm. To my knowledge the stranger was never confronted. My dad was a teetotaler who didn't permit alcohol in his home - not even for cooking. But the stranger felt like we needed exposure and enlightened us to other ways of life. He offered us beer and other alcoholic beverages often.


He made cigarettes look tasty, cigars manly, and pipes distinguished. He talked freely (probably too much too freely) about sex. His comments were sometimes blatant, sometimes suggestive, and generally embarrassing. I know now that my early concepts of the man-woman relationship were influenced by the stranger.


As I look back, I believe it was the grace of God that the stranger did not influence us more. Time after time he opposed the values of my parents. Yet he was seldom rebuked and never asked to leave.


More than thirty years have passed since the stranger moved in with the young family on Morningside Drive. He is not nearly so intriguing to my Dad as he was in those early years. But if I were to walk into my parents' den today, you would still see him sitting over in a corner, waiting for someone to listen to him talk and watch him draw his pictures.


His name? We always just called him TV.

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