Thursday, March 3, 2016

The Tyranny of Distraction

How full is your DVR? I’m always fighting with mine. If I ever get below 50%, I get so excited. But, two weeks later, it’s right back to warning me that it might be too full.

“Are you sure you want to record this?” it asks me. “Maybe you should get some shows off of me and come back?” it says, with a wink. I know it’s just a machine, but I can’t help thinking that’s a little condescending.

Who are you to shame me for my addiction, DVR? You, who are my primary enabler? You, who keep enticing me with your easy search functions and your ability to record and store every viewing whim? You, who know full well that I’ve watched eight episodes of “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon” in the last two days? Perhaps you should stop being so convenient? You mock me with your warnings.

But who can blame me? I’ve heard people say there’s nothing good on, but those people are crazy. Television used to be the filmmaker’s ghetto, where people went if they couldn’t make it in the cinema. But, today, there’s barely a difference between good TV and good movies.

Sure, there’s so much TV available today that for every good show, there are ten terrible shows. BUT still, if all you ever did was watch the really good stuff, you could still occupy every waking moment. So, quit judging me. My overflowing DVR is completely reasonable. Seriously, quit looking at me like that.

And while everything I just said is absolutely true, I’m really just trying to make excuses for myself. The DVR is just another way for me to stall. And you have them too. Your stall tactics might be different, but you have them. My full DVR is a convenient way for me to avoid connecting. It’s not overt. It’s not intentional. But it IS effective.

When I am catching up on my shows and speeding through the commercials, I am definitely not connecting with my neighbors. Sure, I might be collecting data that I can share around the water cooler. “Did you see last night’s episode of “The Walking Dead?” is a good conversation starter, but what difference does it make if your DVR has drained all of the margin from your schedule? How can I be Jesus to my neighbors if all of my free time is spent binging on TV?

So what do we do about it? As the saying goes, “Awareness is the first step to transformation.” During this Lenten season, you don’t have to give up the DVR (or whatever your distraction - sports - facebook - whatever), but maybe it would be a really excellent time to think about priorities. What is really important? Are your friends and neighbors and church family more important than your entertainment?

At this week’s Quest gathering, we’ll be discussing what it means to die to being busy and what it means to start living for others. And maybe joining us on Sunday would be a great first step.

Pastor Ed


Series Title: DYING2LIVE
Message Title: live4others | die2fences
Main Passages: Mark 12:31, Matthew 11:30

Some questions for reflection or group study (or please comment on them, below):

  • What’s your biggest distraction from living for others?
  • If you’re not getting your emotional, spiritual, and physical support from your church family, where are you getting it? If you are, share some examples.
  • Do your upbringing and experience support living for others or for self? Explain.
  • What’s the difference between being responsible TO someone and FOR someone?

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