7 Reasons I Dislike Television

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Here are reasons why I don’t like or trust TV. In fact I don’t own a set and my biggest difficulty in my current situation is having it on in the living room 14 to 15 hours a day most often. (This isn’t my house.)

I have my own addiction to the internet, so I can’t be too harsh. Included with my reasons against TV I will point out how the internet differs since that is important.

In some respects the net is worse since it feeds our vanity. I’m trying to limit recreational use of the net to 7 hours a week or less. Once  I’m less isolated I’ll restrict it to 5.

  1. Television forces us to passively consume shallow entertainment. We can change the channel and alter the volume. That’s about it. Internet contains a lot of reading material. While reading the screen is not the same as reading a book it can be like reading a magazine or newspaper which require more thought than watching most shows.
  2. When we are watching TV it prevents us from doing anything else that requires concentration. We can  do needlepoint, knit, or do disagreeable chores–except vacuuming. But we can’t read,  talk to other people, pray, sing, or think anything profound. Radio is different somehow. I’m not sure why it is, but we can listen to classical music including operas and listen to profound thoughts. We can even listen to audio books. Or–if online–podcasts. According to The Plug-In Drug by Marie Winn, audio effects us differently than visual media.
  3. The things that attract people to TV are sex and violence. Therefore we will see these. A lot. TV is about feeling more than thinking and is written for the lowest common denominator.
  4. TV prevents us from human interaction. The internet helps us communicate if used effectively. But with television it’s all one sided.
  5. Commercials. I took a course in copywriting once and was troubled to find the best way to get people to buy–according to the instructor–was to use the Seven Deadly Sins to manipulate people. I have no problem with selling people useful goods or services or helping other people do that. But even if I’m not urging people to waste money on luxuries they wouldn’t want the ends don’t justify the means. Manipulation is always dishonest at some level. Advertising bugs me. I’m not anti-capitalist but anti-consumerist. The latter is a mind-set. We combat it by turning off the tube.
  6. TV is not needed for earning a living. Cars and the internet can help some earn their daily bread. Not television. Like refined sugar, it’s completely unnecessary for life.
  7. TV shows are preachy. And their sermons are often anti-biblical. Yet for some reason Christians keep watching it even as they gripe about it. WHY? Early Christians didn’t go to the Colosseum. Yet we feel compelled to keep these miniature Colosseums enshrined in our living rooms. “Yes, this show does give a message that the Bible condemns and glorifies every debauchery known to man, but I really like that actress. And I want to see how the series ends.” Use some discernment.

There’s my rant. No, the Bible does not condemn mindless entertainment like TV watching. But just because it’s lawful (not specifically a sin) does not make it expedient.

Will this help me grow in faith? Will it help others? Does it honor God?

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7 Reasons I Dislike Television

23 Reasons I’m Married–and You’re Not (Ha ha!)

Here’s a guest post by a delightful woman. Mrs. Peninnah Bildad. Respected wife and devoted mother. (Like all successful Christian woman writers.)

Since she married twenty years ago, immediately after her freshman year of Bible college she is more than qualified to give advice to women still struggling with singleness in their thirties, forties, and fifties.

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You may wonder why all your friends married long ago and are having their third or fourth kids (or marriages) while you sit forlornly night after night, shedding tears into your herbal tea and petting your herd of cats while binge watching Downton Abbey.

Cheer up. Things could get worse. As they will when you read this list of reasons explaining why you wound up in this sorry predicament.

  1. You’re too picky.
  2. You’re a closet whore who throws herself at any man walking by. (Please stay away from my hubby.)
  3. You’re a frigid prude who screams if a man smiles at her.
  4. You’re a stupid, shallow bimbo.
  5. You’re a greasy bookworm whose know-it-all attitude and brain cells scared boys away. Wisdom is unfeminine.
  6. You refuse to date anyone who doesn’t look like Hugh Jackman.
  7. You’re a heartless, career-driven workaholic too fixated on climbing the Wall Street corporate ladder for friendships or husband hunting.
  8. You’re a shiftless, immature bum still living in her parents’ basement.
  9. You’re too independent which scares men away. Stop it.
  10. You’re too clingy which scares men away. Stop it.
  11. You’re an angry, blue-haired, man hating, “Third Waver” who worships Big Red and have a mug labeled Men’s Tears. Why are you even reading this? Men obviously aren’t what you prefer.
  12. You’re too picky. You turned down that semi-senile octogenarian I dug up for you. Ungrateful thing! You’re no prize yourself. (Or you’d have married at 19 like lil’ old me.)
  13. You’re crazy. You don’t know your biological clock is ticking and think you’re Benjamin Button. But really you’re Margo from Lost Horizon and you left Shangri Lah years ago after graduating ringless from Bible college.
  14. You have made marriage into an idol. God is obviously punishing you. No one else at church focuses on marriage or family.
  15. You have made your virginity into an idol. We Americans have a real problem with honoring celibacy too much. Whether it’s Hollywood  making movies featuring middle aged virgins as heroic role models or all those Sundays where churches honor singles who kept their sexual integrity. You’re arrogant  and smug so God is punishing you.
  16. Sexual abstinence is impossible. Protestant church leaders agree. They should know. Obviously you are getting some on the sly. (You naughty thing!) Your sins have found you out. We know this is true and your protests of innocence won’t help you.
  17. You’re practicing Roman Catholicism. You’re a secret agent for the Vatican who has infiltrated our church to leak out our secret Vacation Bible School plans to the pope! In return you will be confirmed as Sister Immaculatta and spend your life in a convent. Repent of your sinful asceticism. Now.
  18. You’re not righteous enough for a spouse so God is making you wait till your seventies or eighties for what your betters have received in our twenties. Be patient and wait your turn till you become as mature as we are. Needer needer.
  19. You’re not taking care of yourself. Working out ten hours a week at the gym and shelling out half your monthly check in beauty products is not cutting the mustard. Repent and get plastic surgery. Now.
  20. You’re a silly, shallow narcissist. Too obsessed with her physical appearance to take an interest in anyone she meets. Especially men
  21. You ignored all the nice guys in high school and Bible college who obviously flocked around you begging for your hand. Those places always have 10 boys for every girl. (I think.) Turning your nose up at the steady, upright, hard working, monogamous young men pursuing you with diamond rings on bended knees you chased after bank robbing crack heads. You ran off with a sexy bad boy. (They are dreamy, aren’t they? Sigh.) Now that your stud-muffin died in a police shoot out, lo and behold you’re a washed up old hag nobody wants. And serves you right too after all that mind blowing sex you enjoyed while the rest of us sat around with our boring old husbands and kids and only Bonny and Clyde fantasies to keep us company.
  22. You’re too picky. No, I won’t stop saying this.
  23. But wait…you say…how can all of these be true about me? How can I be too independent and too clingy? How can I be too obsessed about my appearance and let myself go? And how can I be proud of my virginity when my fellow Christians automatically assume I’m a whore? The problem is you are rebellious and ungrateful for the advice of your spiritual superiors. Who married straight out of college at 19 and gave birth four times automatically proving our moral perfection and that God is pleased with us. Not you. Ha ha!

Thank you Mrs. Bildad. She is a Christian dating coach who also blogs for Boundless where she comforts still single women by telling them why God hates them and how their lives are all messed up.

23 Reasons I’m Married–and You’re Not (Ha ha!)

Cat Prayers

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I have had a number of prayers answered. Meaning–according to Scripture–God said “yes.” God does say “no” too, but when the Bible talks about Him answering prayers it means in the affirmative. (Of course He has good reasons for not answering prayers too.)

A lot of the memorable ones have been about domestic felines. My own or somebody else’s beloved pet.

When I was going through a rough patch and had relocated to leave an abusive, cult-like group our cat Little Wolf became deathly ill with pneumonia. He almost died. Desperately I prayed that God would save him. When it seemed He wouldn’t, I said, “All right Lord. Take him if You will, since Wolf is your creation gifted to us for a time in this brutal, fallen world. Thank You for letting us have him for 7 years.”

God responded by adding more than 10 years to his life.

More recently, Dad’s barn cat Abby disappeared. We all prayed for her, concerned she had been injured by a large dog wandering my parents’ property.

Three days later Mom found her dragging a broken leg and crying weakly for help. Now Abby is a house cat and lives with me. (Mom has three cats already, and they bullied Abby as an outsider.) She always wanted to be a house cat and I wanted to have one. The only thing noteworthy about that prayer was the persistence used.

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More recently I prayed for my friend Vernon’s cat. Astrophe had disappeared. (Yes. Vern named his cat Astrophe.) He had been missing for a couple days. If a cat is missing more than 12-24 hours that is not a good sign. I begged God to spare him the loss of this pet since he had lost two beloved dogs recently and is a lonely man. That very night Astrophe showed up.

Another time I prayed for the cat of an online friend. This cat had suddenly grown ill. Like Vernon, this man lives alone and depends on the cat for company.

Before bed I prayed, “Lord, not just to spare this man grief, but also for Your Name’s sake, please heal his animal friend.” This friend is not a believer. God healed his cat soon after and he’s willing to consider prayers to God can make a difference.

I notice looking over these “cat prayers” that there were principles at work.

  • The prayer of relinquishment that Catherine Marshall has written about in several of her nonfiction books and even the climax of her novel Christie.
  • Reminding God that His reputation is at stake. Moses did that when God wanted to let the Hebrews enter the Promised Land in their own strength. God said He would go with them because Moses asked.
  • Praying with persistence.

But my first cat prayer was not answered. When I was 8 our beautiful black cat Cherry vanished near Halloween and never returned.

This taught me God is not my cosmic bell hop. Yet, I continue to petition Him. Even if He refuses to give us what we ask for, it’s right to ask Him. He didn’t scold the Apostle Paul for his prolonged periods of prayer after all. Just told him, “My grace is sufficient for thee.” Paul needed his thorn to keep his ego in check. The Lord knows best.

Keep praying Christians!

Cat Prayers

Bad Reasons to Switch Churches and Good Reason

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I’m switching churches now. My main reason is I am hoping for a place I can serve God better. Nice as my current church home is they seem to have no need of my gifts. I carpool with my parents and they also feel this way.

Here are some bad reasons to look for a new church home followed by some legitimate reasons.

Bad Reasons

  • Petty offenses you have not sought to iron out in a Biblical manner according to Matthew 18:15-17.
  • The preacher you like left. The church is about Christ. Not Pastor Smith. Too many churches are functioning like personality cults.
  • You are lovingly rebuked for sin and urged to repent. If a church won’t call you out on your sins they are not a loving church since they don’t care about your soul.
  • Minor disagreements in regards to worship service and the decor of the church sanctuary.
  • Feeling left out or ignored. Make sure you aren’t imagining it. Then gently tell someone behind the neglect how you feel. Chances are they don’t know.
  • Being passed up for a high status position at church to boost your ego. (Not having the lead aria in the Christmas cantata, not being sufficiently honored for your role in VBS, not being called upon to lead adult Sunday school but asked to teach children instead.

Good Reasons

  • The church is teaching false doctrine and refuses to correct it.
  • The preacher is guilty of adultery or something at least as bad and refuses to step down from his prominent position. Perhaps he won’t repent and goes so far as to kick out his wife and move his girlfriend into the parsonage in full view of everyone.
  • The church is torn apart by inner feuds and the members are too busy fighting each other to care about discipleship or reaching the lost.
  • The church is controlling and emotionally abusive. Like a cult more than a family. These cult-churches often enable abuse in families that attend.
  • Cliques and snobbery abound. When anyone points out how currying favor with the rich and ignoring “the wrong sort” people become defensive and angry.
  • The Cross is ignored and passed over for banal feel good worship and sermons. Nearly everything is banal, feelings focused and nothing is taken seriously.
  • Or you really aren’t needed at church and feel called to serve the Lord at another place.
Bad Reasons to Switch Churches and Good Reason

The Best Medicine for my Chronic Pain

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The past seven months I have been living with my parents. The year before that in subsidized housing.

Despite being taught early that idleness is a sin and developing a strong work ethic that earned praise from job supervisors in my teens damage from a botched medical procedure forced me out of the workforce while very young.

So I live on less than $10,000 a year and have to live in HUD apartments or with family. It could be a lot worse.

Nevertheless I struggle with bitterness at the life I was “cheated” out of. This is based on the faulty assumption that God owed me a better life and is holding out on me. I also have brooded over whether He is punishing me since I have sins in my life. Then I see others with (seemingly) better lives who seem no more righteous than I. An exercise in futility. Both temptations from the Enemy.

Grief and sorrow are not sins according to the Bible. Instead of stewing in bitterness when suffering I have learned to take it to the Lord directly. He hears the prayers of the poor, the disabled, the weak, and the lonely.

And mourning for past foolishness and sinful behaviors is good. “Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted.”

As I wept and prayed one night He pointed out through the Holy Spirit that I had let the root of bitterness grow in my heart. I repented. Since I was alone I rebuked the demon of bitterness out loud. Immediately I felt relief; like an inflamed abscess being drained.

Every morning I pray that God will protect me. Not just from the devil but my own stubborn, wandering heart.

Consciously I choose the way of life. Not death.

His way. Not mine.

The physical pain is much better after that night. My energy levels are also higher so I can work from home now.

A merry heart is the best pain killer. With no side effects.

 

The Best Medicine for my Chronic Pain

St. Patrick and Joseph

St. Patrick’s Day has come and gone. Aside from green beer and parades we don’t do much to celebrate this holiday.

But this saint’s story has fascinated me since I read about him in a children’s biography at age 7.

St. Patrick’s story reminds me of a Bible story I also heard a lot as a child. Joseph and his brothers.

Both started out as kids with attitudes and were suddenly taken into slavery. Both were saved from slavery by odd coincidences that were nothing less than divine. Being put in prison where he met the pharaoh’s butler who told the pharaoh about him at just the right time. Hearing a voice at night telling him to go to the shore where a boat just happened to be with people willing to take him.

And once they were delivered from slavery they forgave those responsible for their hurt. Joseph saved his brothers–who sold him to the slave traders–from starvation. St. Patrick taught the race who enslaved him about Jesus’ love in the Gospel message.

Like Joseph and St. Patrick someday we can look back to those who wronged us with love in our hearts. They may have meant it for evil. But God meant it for good.

On the lighter side….

https://youtu.be/wHr02U1OYVk

St. Patrick: the Musical

 

 

St. Patrick and Joseph

My Cure for Low Self Esteem

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Since I was a child of 10 or 11 I have struggled with “self esteem” issues. I was not fat, but curvy in a world that held up Calista Flockhart and Kate Moss as icons of female beauty. In the Christian college I attended, the ideal girl to date/marry had a figure like Olive Oyl. Not Raquel Welsh. Often I tearfully asked God why He made my body ugly and unloveable since it kept me from finding a husband or family. (Not the only issue but the Perfect Body would have helped.)

I also had the “wrong personality.” Too introverted, deep, and “open.” What the Perfect Christian Girl–later wife and mother–was supposed to be was very extroverted, obsessed with doilies and other fluff, and conformist.

In my subculture it seemed there was a cookie cutter. Since none of us could fit it exactly we would force ourselves through the mold, even though it meant cutting off parts of ourselves to be Perfect Women God never intended us to be.

Like the wicked stepsisters in Cinderella as told by the Grimm brothers. Mutilating their feet for Prince Charming but in the end it was all for nothing.

I have wrestled with loathing my looks and personality. Having failed to marry and have kids at 45 it’s easy to write myself off as a failure.

Poor health has precluded a career to compensate for my “loser” status as the unwanted old maid rejected by the world for virginity and the church for singleness.

Then I realize just because He has withheld some blessings–a family, health, enough money to live on without having to depend on the charity of relatives–does not mean God has withheld salvation.  It doesn’t even mean He has a low opinion of me.

The real cause of my low self esteem is pride. If I were content to be the lowest of the low I wouldn’t hate myself for failing standards God never imposed. (I’m talking about failures as opposed to sins.)

In the end I know He loves me and that’s the only reason I need to treat myself decently. My obsession over what others think is pride. Pure and simple.

The Bible says we must strive to conform ourselves to the image of Christ. Not Mrs. Mary Sue Jones across the street. God didn’t call us to be Mrs. Mary Sue Jones but Lizz Smith or Latoya Gray.

Quit competing with others and envying their lives. Quit jockying for the “top” position and fill the place where God has set you. If others don’t understand, pray for them. God understands your losses. Loss is not sin, but envy and bitterness are.

 

 

 

 

My Cure for Low Self Esteem