Uncluttered Mind: 4 March

Television

A brother, possessed by sadness and melancholy, went to an Elder and asked of him: "What am I to do? My thoughts present me with the idea that perhaps in vain I denied the world and that I cannot be saved. " Thoughtfully, the Elder answered as follows: "My child, even if we do not succeed in reaching the prom­ised land, it is better that we should give our carcasses to the desert than return to the Egypt of fearful en­slavement" (Numbers 14:29-33)

Reading: John 8:12

12 When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

Thought

Twenty-five years ago, long before the multitude of TV channels, social networking and websites existed, Neil Postman wrote an analysis of the way that television was reshaping our view of the world. The problem, he said, was not so much that TV was entertain­ing. Life is hard, and everyone needs a momentary lift on occasion. The problem was that TV had come to dominate the culture, which meant that almost all our experiences were now coming to us as entertainment rather than in the form of serious intellectual, moral, or spiritual questions.

When we watch TV, all we have to do is make a simple, childish choice: Is this interesting or boring? If it fails to pass the test, we just change the channel and move on.

Jesus, however, links genuine freedom to our ability to recognise truth. "If you remain in my word, you will truly be my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free" (John 8:31-32). Free from what? Misperception, melodrama, falsehood, artificiality, and superficiality everything the entertainment industry uses to hold our attention.

Many of my friends have stopped drinking caffeine in the evening for fear of being unable to sleep at night. Maybe a break from the TV would also reduced the distraction and give my tired mind a good break.

Action

A fast from TV today – won’t be easy as it’s so addictive.

Prayer

Lord, give me the strength to try new ways of dealing with mental exhaustion and relaxation.