Killing Me Softly With Their Pixels

Steve Jobs while introducing the iPad in San F...

Image via Wikipedia

So there I was, watching TV (Sportscenter). While replying to a text on my phone (about sports). And surfing the web (ESPN.com).
I then saw the ridiculousness of this scene. Watching TV, texting and surfing the web, all at once. Had I owned an iPad, I’d probably have that on as well, and probably on a sports website given the scenario.

But seriously. The screens in my life are getting out of hand.

I have a slight problem of coveting, especially when it comes to technological gadgets. My mind is already working on how I can rationalize an iPad purchase. (Btw. We’re moving to an apartment that’s a bit further away from the church. Therefore I would have to commute by bicycle or walk 2 miles to church. Carrying a laptop is going to be heavy. Oh boo hoo, Joe has to carry a laptop. Yea I know. But an iPad would be a perfect travel companion. Not too heavy. And I can get done the basics that I need on the iPad. So yea.)

But, have you noticed how much screen time dominates your life? You’re working and surfing the web at the same time. Studying and texting at the same time. Eating and watching TV at the same time. Watching a movie at the theaters and texting at the same time, and becoming a friggin’ distraction to everyone at the theater, because every time you text, the phone lights up and our attention goes to the little light that just came on, and we all resist the enormous of throwing something at you, or fight the urge to walk up to you and grab your phone and throw it all away, to the applause of everyone in the theater.  I mean for the sake of Peter, put the darn phone away!!!!!!!!!!!!

The way technology has advanced is amazing. You can now watch a TV show and have a twitter conversation with the host of the show. You can have access to breaking news wherever you may be.

But our desires to constantly stay connected to the Internet can have negative implication to real human connections; connections that we were created and designed for.

It seems like the more connected we are to our gadgets and the world wide web, the less human to human interaction we get. I call a youth. They don’t answer the phone. I text them, they reply instantly. I feel like we’re becoming more and more impersonal in person and more and more personal via a machine. (And seriously kids, just because you type lyk dis n stuff on your computer, does not mean you should type like that for assignments or letters or anything else….)

Based on an Entertainment Weekly article (where I got the title of this post), I decided to also limit my attention to one screen at a time. I don’t know how plausible and doable this is for me, but it is something I desperately need to do. My screen time is affecting my life and dominating my life in ways I don’t want it to.
I’ve been reading way too much blog posts and online articles that my books that need to get read are collecting dust. And I want to read them, feeling the paper, writing in the margins, and not on my iPad (which I hope to have in my possession when iPad 2 comes out… hah).

My screen time is affecting my health. I’d rather stayed glued to the TV or the Web instead of going outside and taking a walk, playing ball, working out…

The screens also have had an affect on my relationship with God. With all those screens on all at once, at best God gets parts of my attention, and not the full.

While I may not be able to cut the screens out of my life completely, I can try (really hard) to limit myself to one screen at a time. It’s something that my life will thank me for in the long run.

And I’m sure that I am not the only one with this problem. And I’m sure that this one screen at a time will be a constant struggle in my life. I’m sad to admit how much of a struggle it will be. But it is a struggle that needs to be addressed.

I decided to end my rambling with a Jesus Juke,”if only we were all connected to Jesus the way we were connected to the web through our gadgets…”

One screen at a time…

Entertainment for Christian Folk

Photo taken at the 41st Emmy Awards 9/17/89

Image via Wikipedia

Sorry for the lack of updates. Most of my focus has been on finishing the rough draft of these darn ordination papers.

But recently, I had a conversation with a friend and she suggested that I watch Fireproof starring Kirk Cameron or watch To Save A Life. Both of these movies were (at least seems like) made by Christians for Christians. I’m sure they were made to be viewed by non-Christians as well.

But here’s my thing. Those movies and shows and music made by Christians… simply put: they suck. I’m always insulted that just because I’m a Christian, I have to watch low budget, low production, low talent things because it’s “safe.”

I remember in high school in Hawaii, where our youth pastor told us that we should listen to Christian music. So he gave us a list that said things like “If you like Pearl Jam, try listening to this Christian group” and so forth. And I tried to listen to the more “safe” altar-native counterpart and I remember thinking, “this is crap. Why not just listen to the real deal?”

Now, Christian entertainment might have vastly improved since the 90’s, but I don’t want to go watch movies that star Kirk Cameron, because it looks cheesy.
That’s the other thing, why are they so cheesy?
I think people outside of the Christian faith have a better grasp of Christian faith.
Some episodes of the Simpsons are remarkable with their insight of people of faith, such as the episode where Rev. Lovejoy loses both love and joy for the ministry (episode In Marge We Trust).
Movies like Saved starring Mac Culkin and Mandy Moore showed Christians that I actually knew in real life.
Shows like Lost have a deeply profound theme of spirituality and faith, even if it’s not about Christian God. Shows like Dexter forces me to think about revenge and the need to play judge, when actuality God says that vengeance is His, and God is the one and true Judge.
Then you have these Christian entertainment made by Christian, and they seem to over simplify everything. It’s like an episode of Full House on crack. It’s always going to have a nice, tidy ending.

I know people who won’t let their children watch anything that doesn’t have the approval of the Christian community. I get that. I applaud that. But I disagree with it. Why are we working so hard to separate the spiritual and the secular? Only because, I believe that God can be found anywhere.
As Rob Bell said in his “Everything is Spiritual” DVD, the Hebrews didn’t have the word “spiritual” because by labeling one thing spiritual, something else won’t be spiritual, and everything was spiritual to them.

I watch a lot of movies and TV, and there are some that are profoundly spiritual, even if that wasn’t their case.
Friday Night Lights is one of my favorite shows on TV, and I’ve learned so much about pastoral care the way Coach Taylor reaches out to his players.

I firmly believe that God can be found everywhere.
That’s not an excuse to allow your 12 year old to watch Jersey Shore.
It’s just a suggestion that we don’t force such a dichotomy between the Spiritual world and the secular world, where we might begin to (un)intentionally imply that God can only be found here, and not here.
God is everywhere.