By the time you read this, the awards will have been passed out and discussed in the media and around the office workroom. Do you know, or care, who won? Does any of it change anything in your life?
I looked over the list of nominees and, for the first time I can remember, I did not know one person or program that was nominated for an award. I thought I had “aged out” of this award’s show, but when I took a closer look, I realized that I never would have watched these dark, depressing, even evil shows.
If this is what people are putting into their minds each evening, no wonder the depression statistics are increasing! One show was labeled “post-apocalyptic” and I thought to myself, “Nothing to care about then.”
My next thought was, “But there is something to care about now.”
How is television influencing our culture?
I grew up with three stations that each played the national anthem first thing in the morning and again at night, right before the Indian head took up permanent residence on the screen. If you are fairly young, it’s okay if you have no idea what that last sentence means. If you are smiling right now . . . you get it.
I’m not surprised when I hear the reports of increased depression, angst, worry, and concern among the people in our culture. There is a mental health option that will rarely be reported by our media. Why? Because it is the suggestion that we would be a much happier, healthier society if we simply turned off our televisions, computers, etc.
Why don’t we hear about that?
Because that decision would shut down the need for, and the ability to pay for, all of these different stations, websites, podcasts, etc. That may seem odd for someone who works for an internet ministry to say—but I’m a big fan of telling the truth!
A media fast for 2024
It is January and I’ve had this thought: We can relearn and relish the joy of utter silence!
Right now, as I sit typing, the only sounds I hear are the wind blowing outside and my washing machine finishing its spin cycle.
Take a minute and turn off the television, radio, phone, and computer notifications and just listen.
What do you hear in the silence?
Spend a minute or two enjoying those sounds and then consider how you feel when you are done. Compare those feelings to the way you feel after watching one of those Emmy Award-nominated shows, a news broadcast, or streaming a show on your TV.
I’m not suggesting we all move to a monastery. At least I’m not suggesting that yet . . . LOL! I am suggesting we regularly visit the quiet this year.
2024 is likely going to be a noisy, unsettling, and almost meaningless year of television. 2024 is going to be filled with false news on the internet mixed with occasional truth. There will be wrong opinions on social media and a few opinions that should shape our own. There might be a handful of television shows that will encourage our souls, but most programming will fill our hearts and minds with the dark things of this world.
Our kids probably sang, “Be careful little eyes what you see. Be careful little ears what you hear.” I think God wants his kids to consider that song regardless of their age!
Protect your thoughts with God’s
Philippi was a prosperous Roman colony, and Paul’s letter was written to encourage the Christians living there to continue to live faithfully in a culture that didn’t appreciate their values and opinions. In fact, Paul’s words to the Philippians provide American Christians with valuable and relevant advice for 2024.
The Roman culture was just as divided, disorderly, and decadent as our American culture today. The world’s issues continue to travel the same roller coaster as always, looping around again from era to era. Each generation rides whatever twists, turns, climbs, and drops the coaster travels.
One of the best indicators that our Bibles are the inspired word of God is the way every generation can be led and inspired by the transcendent, eternal truth that has helped every generation before us. Paul’s words to Philippi are his sermon to all of us today.
He told the first-century Christians how to consider their culture. He wrote, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things” (Philippians 4:8).
Now, reread those words above as Paul’s advice for the way we consume any type of media. Just substitute Paul’s last words with “watch and look at these things.”
2024 is an important year
I can’t imagine what we will be talking about next year. The topics will range from wars, politics, people’s successes, and their failures. The topics will likely continue for every year, even as the names change.
I have no idea who will be nominated for an Emmy award next year or if I will recognize any of the shows or performers that might be awarded. If the nature of the programming doesn’t change, I can’t imagine my viewing preferences will either. I like to be careful what I allow into my thoughts.
Let’s commit to bringing more joy-filled and peaceful silence into our homes and lives. Let’s give God the opportunity to influence our thoughts and opinions with his perfection. We need less media and more of his truth this year. We will need the same thing for 2025 as well!
Our faces, our conversations, our homes, and most especially our souls will be blessed and changed by “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable.” And, “if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise,” we can think on, watch, and consume those things.
Paul’s letter encouraged and taught me today. How about you?