Wednesday, March 05, 2008

My Confession . . .

Despite the name of this blog, not a lot of confessing actually takes place here. In fact, I use the term confessions more in the sense of Augustine's Confessions. Not that I'm comparing my meagre reflections to his profound autobiographical treatise! His is a masterpiece of Western religious thought and philosophy. Mine are, well, lucky to be read by a small number of family and friends. But now I'm getting off topic.

So I have a confession to make. I want to admit to something that I almost feel embarrassed about. It's my dark, dirty little secret. It's one of those personal quirks that I tend to hide in the shadows, away from prying, evaluative, judging eyes. So, please, when you hear it--or, rather, read it--don't think that I have conceded to the moral downslide of our culture and indeed have become a willing participant in it.

Here it is: I like TV.

There it is. There you have it. I haven't completely renounced as subversively evil that dreaded one-eyed monster, that contraption responsible for the bulk of our societal ills, the idiot box, the 20th century invention to end all 20th century inventions, the one that has perhaps shaped our world more than any other: the television.

Why is this a confession, you ask? It's a confession because as a pastor I often hear about people condemning outright anything and everything that is broadcast on television. I hear about the influence TV has on children, young people, and families. I hear church members decry its depiction of moral decay and gratuitous displays of violence and sex. And all the while as I listen to such comments, I think to myself, "You know, there are actually some TV shows I like. And some of them you just might not approve of." So it's a confession insofar as it's something that I don't really say to many people, especially those who know me in my capacity as pastor. Isn't the pastor supposed to be the sort of person who rises above that banal need for mindless and passive entertainment? Apparently not, because I don't.

The odd thing about this, of course, is that while my family and I have a television (a modest widescreen model), we don't actually have television channels. I'm not interested in having either cable TV or a satellite dish, and probably couldn't afford either one of those anyway even if I were. So, you're wondering, without TV channels, how do I watch TV? (Well, if you've gotten this far, you still might not care that much about how I do get to watch TV. Take it as a rhetorical question!) In any case the answer is: TV DVDs.

For the last few years my wife and I have purchased TV DVD boxsets instead of paying for other cable options. We buy shows we want to see, spend less money because we don't have a monthly bill, and pay even less money because sometimes family and friends give them to us as gifts on appropriate holidays. There are pros and cons to doing it this way, but, for right now, the pros outweigh the cons. Still, it's amusing to watch people react when we tell them we have a TV but no TV channels. It's almost the equivalent of what I imagine the reaction would be like if I said to someone that while, yes, the telephone does seem to be a wonderfully useful and convenient piece of technology, we as a family are still rather attached to our carrier pigeon and don't plan, therefore, on upgrading anytime soon.

So isn't this really a silly confession? Well, maybe. It's been awhile since I've posted here and I wanted something to write about! And I find that, strangely, I feel somewhat guilty about enjoying TV. Or I should say some TV. I'm sort of picky in what I choose to watch, especially since I'm (usually) paying for particular TV boxsets (The X-Files, Seinfeld, 24, Fawlty Towers, and a few more). Now as far as whether there's anything redeeming (artistically or spiritually) about anything I watch, that's a topic for another post. It was hard enough owning up to the fact that I actually enjoy watching some TV! For now, time to exit the confessional.


Janis said...

You're not alone, Derek... I like TV too. Especially TV on DVD, because you can watch whenever you want and don't have to wait a whole week for the next episode. But I also watch Dancing With the Stars, Extras, The Office, CSI, Lost, Eli Stone, and yes, now, even Desperate Housewives every week. So you're not as bad a person as I am, haha!

Pastor Derek said...

Thanks Jan, especially since I know that you are even a bigger TV addict than I am! From your list, I'd say my tastes are different in some ways and I tend to be pickier. Next on my list is Heroes. I almost bought it yesterday but I had already spent a significant amount of $$ on myself! Hopefully after Easter!!