Thursday, October 12, 2006

More Television Sets Than People

Continuing along the lines of my last post, the Associated Press reports that the number of television sets in the typical American home actually outnumber the people. Apparently, TV sets number 2.73 per home while people only number 2.55! Now there are many reasons for this development including changes to the TV set itself which makes it easier to have them in different rooms of the house. So instead of having just one or two big television sets in a living room or family room, now there are smaller, thinner ones in kitchens, bedrooms and in other places in the house. Not only do people have more television sets, but they are on more than 8 hours a day in the average home with the average individual's viewing time being 4 hours and 35 minutes a day. Clearly this is a phenomenon with far-reaching social implications. And when you add to the television the array of other electronic devices such as Ipods, and Mp3 players, video games and personal computers, we have a society that has less and less time to sit and be still. To think. To meditate on what is important.

Down through the years, some Christians have responded to new technology by trying to avoid it altogether. But this is rarely successful and almost impossible in 21st century western countries. Electronic devices are everywhere and rather than running and trying to hide we would do much better to think along another line.
In 2 Corinthians 10:5 Paul talks about demolishing arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and taking captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. It is my conviction that we need to do something similar with regard to the television and other forms of technology. We need to use them to serve and glorify the Lord rather than being mastered by them. This is not easy. It requires careful planning and self-discipline. It is all too easy to be seduced by the world when we think we are different from it. But I believe it is possible to use these devices to further the kingdom of God and to lay them aside when they get in the way of our walk with God and meaningful interaction with other people.

What should concern us more than anything else is the uncritical adoption of what this world has to offer. We must not be tossed back and forth by new technologies any more than we should allow ourselves to be blown around by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming (Ephesians 4:14-15). Christians need to take what this world has to offer, cleanse it, and present it back to God. May God give us wisdom to know how to do this without doing harm to ourselves or others.

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