Thursday, February 05, 2009


The reminders have been running on TV for as long as i can remember. 'only X days till the digital tv switchover...are you ready?' All over America the analogue TV signal is being turned off and replaced by digital or satellite. This is all the make room for more channels or bandwidth or something else i don't really understand. Anyway, everyone has had a long time to either switch to cable/satellite or get a digital converter for their TV.

But about four or five million people haven't, and so congress has voted not only to delay the switchover by four months, but also to give $40 to everyone who hasn't yet bought a converter box. Now there are a world of issues here, and the right wing media have gone off the scale over it. Twice today i turned the radio on, about four hours apart, and this was the subject. Their point of course is that 1) It's crazy for government money to be spent on people's Tvs, where does that stop? What if i want a digital radio? Or a sit down lawn mower? Isn't America supposed to be a capitalist free market? 2) Obama knows the power of TV and wants to make sure that every traditional Democrat voter can afford to listen to the liberal 'news' about how he's saving their country. (news over here is essentially headlines and comment, it makes me long for Huw Davies and Fiona Bruce) and 3) when did TV become an essential. Can people not service without watching American Idol or whatever else.

There are dozens of political issues here, but there's also a spiritual one i think. Increasingly our culture is built on entertainment. TiVo and Sky + mean we never need to miss a TV show, Wii Fit means that we never need to leave our house to go to the gym, we can achieve our dreams of sporting glory on a PS3, digital TV means there's always another channel to flick to, even if there's nothing to watch on any of them. One package offers 250 channels. 250! Get a huge flat screen and your good to go.

We weren't built to be entertained. Our minds were made to think of the glory of Christ, our hearts were made for deep joy in worship, our bodies were made to serve and glorify Christ. We weren't created to sit on the couch, we were created to worship, with sharp minds and grateful hearts. Where will another Edwards or Whitefield or Simeon or Judson come from if our free time is devoted to watching tv. How will we worship or preach on sunday morning if all our evenings are devoted to television. I'm not advocating Christians getting rid of Tvs (although, given this is the fundamentalist belt, i'd bet i'm not too far from someone who is) i like watching House and 24 and essentially anything involving a ball and thousands of screaming spectators. TV, even 250 channel digital TV isn't evil, but it is invasive, and it can stop our hearts reaching deeply for Christ. And thats not worth all the government money you can spend...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Very well said Brother Ed. Now come back to England and preach this to me every day.