December 23, 2005

There's an Idol in the House!!!

You remember when you sat down in your church, your car, or maybe even a friends' house, and then it came. The person to whom you were listening dropped a hundred pound weight on the balance of your mind in the form of a shocking quotation. Each of us no doubt has experienced it. I would like to recall an experience of mine from this summer at Junior Camp.

The speaker was Ed Dunlop. If the name sounds familiar, you may remember him because he is a ventriloquist, in addition to being a youth speaker. He brought a message about television to the 4th-6th graders and their counselors. The statement went something like this: (loose quote with no meaning or emphasis changed/lost) "With the hours and hours of television kids watch a week (I think the amount was in the 20's), kids engage in less than 5 minutes of meaningful conversation with their parents in a week." When it first rang in my ears, I thought, "No way...impossible! Less than 5 minutes?!" After regurgitating the statement a few more times, it became apparent that (on average) the statement was undoubtedly true.

My purpose with this post is not to declare 'voodoo' on the TV. However, several questions do arise in my mind as I continue to think about this unimaginable phenomenon. I am not trying to tell any person what they should do regarding the television. It is not bad in and of itself, but please consider these questions:

  • Do you find yourself planning things (family time, church, time with the Lord, etc.) around the times of "Can't miss TV shows"?
  • Does it ever anger you when someone's need or request for you takes you away from your favorite TV show or from "the game of the year"?
  • Does anyone in your house ever get the idea that the TV is more important to you than they are?
There are more questions that could be posed. Believe me, I have asked them to myself over and over again. Like I said, my motives are only pure. I want Christians, especially myself, to consider the controlling aspect of the box that may be discovered in every major room of your house. The way we spend our time displays to us and others who our G(g)od really is. Honor Christ in the way you spend your time. TV will not make it into eternity!

December 19, 2005

The Value of Labels

This will be the second time I've posted regarding a quote from my General Psychology textbook. Regardless of your thoughts on psychology, these quotes are quality. In discussion about mental handicaps and disorders, the author of the book said, "Labels are debilitating at best." He is referring to the assigning of labels to kids or adults with seeming handicaps. He is not speaking of people who actually are mentally disabled, but rather of people who receive a label and consequently act a certain way because that is "who they are" now.

The more I talk with Christians, the more this truth is apparent in Christian circles. It almost becomes a game of "Which came first: the chicken or the egg?" with their beliefs. Corresponding Question: Does our being a _____ make us believe a certain way, or does the fact that we believe a certain way (based on Scripture, I hope) make us have a certain label in others' eyes. For the sake of many things, I hope the latter is true. Labels can be debilitating in Christianity. If a fundamentalist calls me a "new evangelical," is that what I am? If a conservative calls me a liberal, does that make me a liberal? You see, not only are labels debilitating, they are also highly subjective.

Case Study:
John and Gary (general names) pastor churches in the same city. Because of a certain, controversial topic, John calls Gary a "new evangelical." Steve, a friend of the two, hearing from John that Gary is a new evangelical, must now separate from Gary since the Bible 'clearly teaches' separation from 'disobedient' brethren. Unfortunately, situations like this do exist.

I often say, "I don't care what you call me. Your label changes nothing about what I believe." If someone says, "You're a Calvinist, because you believe in this," then maybe I am Calvinist. However, my point is that that won't change my beliefs. We can't be menpleasers, seeking to placate people who "are in our circle." Realizing that we are "Christians,"We must live according to principles of Scripture that have been personally studied out and applied.