About 3 years ago, Debbie and I unplugged the cable TV and stashed our 27″ big black box behind an upstairs couch. And we went cable-less for almost 18-months. Then the presidential election came along, and we turned it back on last fall. Yesterday I turned in the cable box and we’re TV-less again.
Actually, we still have the big black box, only this time it’s upstairs in our bedroom hooked only to the DVD player. We do this in self-defense because when the grandchildren come, they bring DVDs which give them hours of fun, and us hours of peace and quiet. Okay, so we’re not purists, but we are living without broadcast TV again.
We actually like being without TV. We like the quietness, and lack of visual and auditory clutter in our lives. We also like not wasting time watching endless couples on HGTV look for their next home, or try to sell the one they’ve got. We do miss the old movies on Turner Classic Movies, but our library has a nice selection of classic movies which we can checkout for free anytime.
The main thing I like is I get more things done without TV. I read more, write more, and Debbie and I talk more about lots of different things. Of course, we’re not off screens altogether. I’m on my laptop, and she’s on her iMac right now. But we are done with TV. Again. But this time I think for good.
Oh, I read today that Web TV is coming soon, and so are the sets configured for Web TV watching. I guess we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. But until then, Olbermann and O’Reilly will have to duke it out without us. I feel better already.
Update: The New York Times reported today on the increasing use of vulgar, suggestive, and profane language on broadcast and cable TV. Another reason to disconnect.
Lots of conversation around the tubes on giving up cell phones, ipods, blogging, and other forms of social media for Lent. I have decided to do what the Dervaes in Pasadena do — I am taking a blogging sabbath from sundown Friday until Saturday sundown.
I have several reasons for doing this, not the least of which is I need a break from screens. We turned our TV off again before Lent, but we really didn’t intend to give up TV for Lent. We are just giving up TV, period. We had done this once before for over a year, but I needed CNN for the election. After that it took us several months to dial down (no pun intended). But even with TV out of the way, I still need a break.
Starting this week, I’ll maintain radio silence (internet silence) from Friday sundown until Saturday sundown. I will use my cell phone, if necessary, because that’s how my congregation knows to reach me when I’m out of the office or house. But no blogging, twittering, facebooking, or any of that other stuff that seems to be ever with us. We’ll see how all this works out, but as of today that’s the plan.
Is anyone else doing something similar, whether for Lent or just for sanity? Leave a comment and tell me what you’re doing and why. Thanks.
“Priority drift.” I made that phrase up to describe the state I found myself in a couple of weeks ago. Simply put: my priorities had drifted. I found myself spread too thin, doing too many good things, and not doing the things I felt called — even compelled — to do.
What did I do? I resigned from two boards of non-profits which I dearly liked serving on. Both hold regular monthly board meetings, both expect help with fundraising, both have missions I support, but both were taking time and energy from my church and my life. In two emails that took about 2-minutes each to compose, I resigned with regret from each.
Here are some other decisions I made previously to keep me free to do the things I want to do:
- I don’t watch TV. I got that idea from David Wilkerson (The Cross and The Switchblade) over 20 years ago. Just last year I got the “courage” to buck culture, disconnect from cable, and quit watching TV. I have since discovered that one of my favorite bloggers, Seth Godin, does not watch TV. Seth doesn’t go to meetings either, which is privilege I do not have…yet.
- I don’t preach revivals. Actually, I don’t preach revivals because 1) most revivals are not worth going to; 2) I don’t want to be gone for 3-5 days at a time. Now, of course, nobody asks me to preach revivals since I’m off the “revival” circuit, but that’s okay. Same thing goes for most conferences.
- I don’t try to be the leader of everything. I can’t be a good pastor, and the busiest guy in our Baptist association, state convention, national denomination, etc. So, I’m very happy pastoring a small church in a small town with time to work in my garden, visit my neighbors, and let others take some leadership responsibility. Am I shirking? I’m sure some think so, but it works for me.
- I do try to live in a rhythm of prayer and work. I like the old monastic model, orare et laborare — to pray and to work. Of course, the words pray and work get defined broadly, sometimes too broadly. But I do try to do some physical work each day, which gives me a new appreciation for how hard others work. Lately, I confess, our morning prayer time has gotten chewed up a bit by other “urgent” things, but I’m trying to get that back under control as well.
It is amazing how many good things can creep into our lives, distracting us from the best things that are our lives. How do you stay focused on the things that are important to you and your ministry?