Why Can’t American Christians Change Their World or Even Themselves? I blame “Good Parenting”
We are immersed in our culture and we don’t even know it. We live out our culture without any forethought.
Let’s talk” good parenting”. But first this:
American Psychological Association:
Parenting practices around the world share three major goals: ensuring children’s health and safety, preparing children for life as productive adults, and transmitting cultural values. A high-quality parent-child relationship is critical for healthy development. (We typically only do the third one well as you will see).
The two examples I will share are not the root of a problem and not the problem itself. It’s both. It is part of the defective culture.
1. You have to do your homework before you can watch TV.
Bull’s eye. Perfect. Can’t improve on that, right?
This tends to put a very high value on TV (it is a reward for good behavior). Jr. may rush through homework to have more time to watch TV (good time management). While it makes sense to do the have tos of life before the less important things, filling all of ones free time with an activity that is less than useless (a net negative – and – may often be bad) does not make sense. If watching TV is a foregone conclusion (living out the culture without any forethought) perhaps letting little Jonny watch only one hour a day of parent approved TV would make more sense. WHEN the hour gets flushed is not important. This will not be a good thing if the parents burn through 3 – 4 hour of TV per evening. (hypocrites). Being involved in Jr’s homework is a good idea when they are younger. The parent decides when their children are done with their homework.
This is really not just about parenting. It is about being a good parent to yourself. After all the have toos in life are done, TV is the single biggest leisure time activity among Americans. The average American watches about 3 hours of TV a day. Most Christians are average (you would not want to be below average, would you?).
If 20 hours of TV (or more) is not that much considering there is 168 hours in a week. Then 40 hours of work is not that much either. Wow. Enough time for TV equal to a part time job.
After all the “have toos” of life we set the rest of our time on fire as we relax and sit motionlessly in silence and watch it burn. We are immersed in our culture. We live it out without any forethought. The average American is just too busy watching TV to be involved in any activities to save or change America.
With so much TV, who has time for this…
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.
Perhaps if we viewed good works and Christian service to one another as a “have toos” in the Christian life, the world, the Church, and our fellow believers would be radically different. Instead, after a day at work and an evening of feeding our TV addiction, the “good works” desert cart rolls by and we take a pass. “With my busy lifestyle, I don’t think I have room for one more thing. I am quite full, thank you”.
2. You can’t have desert until you:
A. eat your vegetables.
B. Eat everything on your plate.
Translation: You can’t eat the food that is BAD for you until you eat the food that is GOOD for you. Just calling it like I see it.
Perhaps some archaeologist will write. “As unbelievable as it seems, parents used to eat food that was known to promote health disorders and fed the same to their children”.
The problems seem obvious. FYI: Desert is a cultural thing. So is junk food. Perhaps desert could be good food such as fruit. I used to make corn bread using corn meal butter and honey. I would add other things such as raisins and bananas. I used to make a really good slushy fruit drink that was sweet without adding any sweetener. It can be done.
The vast majority of Americans are overweight to obese (over 70%).
Google this: Oxford Study: Moderate obesity takes years off life expectancy.
The perfect example of junk food is Little Bites muffins. The first ingredient is sugar. The pack portrays itself as being a good thing by stating on the front:
“No trans fats” and “made with real chocolate” also “no high fructose corn syrup”
We are immersed in our culture. We live it out without any forethought.
Both of these philosophies are lived out in adulthood and passed on to the next generation.
After we eat to the point of fullness and beyond, we find room for the bad food which is desert and later, …snacks.
After all the required activities are done, we drink deeply at the electronic breast that provides the most endorphins for the least effort and snack our way to chronic disease. This is the American Culture. It’s who we are.
What about proactively pursuing optimal health? No really. “See your doctor”. The TV will typically tell you what you need to know (you don’t need to read up on anything. Stop that). What new drugs you need to ask your doctor about. Also there is the charts on the food packaging. You don’t need vitamin supplements. Just read the little chart on the food packages. It has X percent of the miniscule amount of vitamins the experts say you need.
Have you heard of Dr. Solomon Asch?
Short version. He shows how many people are afraid to stand alone on any issue, even if the issue is the length of a line on a chalk board. They will even lie about it.
The herd mentality is a part of the culture. “Nobody believes that”. “You know what they say…”
TV presents a warped view of the world. It shows a world where most people support the leftist agenda. The reality is that most do not. If the MSM can make most people think their view is the minority view, many will keep their mouth shut
Here is an example:
In one recent staged event called a “Town Hall Meeting” aired on CNN, “The most trusted name in news”, the female candidate for president is asked a question by one of the directors of a political activist organization. Her answer went something like this.
This guy thinks that marriage should be between one man and one woman. Fine. He should marry one… If he can find one (much laughter).
The voice of man asking the question changes from a west coast accent to a southern accent when asking a hypothetical question of a straw man. Apparently the straw man is a prudish, ignorant, puritanical redneck Neanderthal of a man and an isolated social outcast among people in general and specifically women. Really? Plenty of women and men at Churches all over America believe the same thing. This candidate probably would not have us believe that most married women would be disappointed if their husband was not seriously considering homosexuality as a component part of their marriage? She does however, paint a false picture of a country where almost no one believes in traditional marriage. Her statement is obviously ridiculous but most in the room and at home did not catch it, being well trained by TV to not think critically when the TV is on.
We in the western world are controlled. We did this to ourselves:
We are willingly indoctrinated via main stream media an average of 3 hours a day.
We degrade our health daily which insures the vast majority will be big pharma customers from middle age until death.
We are shown a false view of the world and are made to believe that views opposed to main stream views are in the minority. This insures that almost no one will speak out (Solomon Asch).
Almost no one stops to think about anything since during all the free spaces of our lives we expose ourselves to electronic noise of TV and radio etc. non-stop.
The above two issues (diet and entertainment) are just two issues among many more. If we can’t get these two right, we are all on a slow train to nowhere.
Let’s look at the book of Titus:
Titus 1: 12 One of Crete’s own prophets has said it: “Cretans are always liars, evil brutes, lazy gluttons.” This saying is true. …
This was the Cretan culture. The book of Titus appears to be filled with practical things to do to that would result in living differently than the culture.
Is America another Crete? Is the average Christian a Cretan? I don’t think so. We are, on the average, not lazy. We are productive for about 40 hours a week. We are also not on the average, brutes.
We are gluttons. Over 70% of the population is overweight to obese. Only 12% are metabolically healthy.
What is typical of our culture?
Addicted to pleasure.
Selfish and self-centered.
Materialistic and continually upgrading, as opposed to this:
1 Timothy 6:6-9 Of course, godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, so certainly we cannot carry anything out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with these.
Hello Pastor…(Church leader who may be a product of “good parenting” as well:
Titus was a letter written by one pastor to another pastor. Paul was dealing with some loose ends. One of which was to help Titus combat bad teaching as well as correct the lifestyle of the Cretan Christians (the Cretan culture) through sound teaching. But not just teaching. In Chapter 2, Paul tells Titus:
Teaching: Encourage the young men to be self-controlled. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech.
Doing: In everything set them an example by doing what is good.
Hello American pastors. How about setting an example in everything. I think many pastors view themselves as THE teacher. That’s what they do. Yes but that’s not “everything. If you watch 20+ hours of TV and eat to excess, so will they.
Hebrews 12 1-3:
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
Do you think that there might be aspects of your life that might not be sin but would something that is an encumbrance? Some things that hinder and entangle us? Temporal things that get in the way of thing that will last forever?
1 Peter 5 1-4
To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder and a witness of Christ’s sufferings who also will share in the glory to be revealed: Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.
So your example to the flock is more than just teaching? Is it service to the flock as well?
What is your example to the flock when you are not talking?
I have read many Pastor Bios pages. It is quite common to share with all, your favorite TV shows. Three pastors stand out as the somewhat exaggerated examples of many more.
One pastor answers the question “Favorite TV show”: “Too numerous”. Right in there with those that list multiple shows.
Then there were two that listed a favorite show and after wrote “Don’t judge”. I won’t judge. Just a few observations. It looks like this is what is being communicated… “My favorite TV show is _______. If you have a problem with it, you’re right. You have a problem, not me. You’re judgmental. What I watch is not open for discussion”.
You knew it would be controversial when you posted it. So what was the benefit? Then one should consider the weaker brother if that was the case when someone tried to discuss it. I speak from experience. When I was a new believer I moved out of the house into an apartment. My first roommate was a new believer as well. I had a collection of LP records (phonograph). My combination radio/record player/ cassette player was broken so I was not listening to them. My roommate believed just having these secular recordings in the apartment gave Satan a “foothold in our lives” (probably no more than eating meat offered to idols). He bugged me about it until I said that we would go through them together even though we could not listen to them. As you can imagine, his criteria for getting rid of some of them was quite ridiculous. I had a good attitude about it. In fact I helped destroy them. We melted some over the stove. A few years later, after he moved out, he told me that he was sorry about that. I never regretted it. Better is later reaction than going through life thinking Christians are hypocrites (we are from time to time) and care only about ourselves. What’s the point? Consider the needs of your fellow believers. Perhaps partaking of hours a night of the worlds philosophies does give Satan a foothold in your life. Perhaps forces outside your life are controlling you to a greater degree.
Consider this theory: God created a finite number of angels during creation week. Soon after, 1/3 of a finite number of angels rebelled with Satan. At first it must have been easy for fallen angels to give individual attention to the inhabitants of earth (only 2). Currently the task may be daunting. Perhaps fallen angels have successfully hijacked the technology of television and just about everyone in the world will sit down daily to be tutored in what the enemy wants people to think, feel, believe, say, and do.
So pastor, if you believe that doing the good works that God prepared for us to do make a difference for eternity, perhaps we can get together some time in the future to compare notes. Was doing good works that cut into our TV watching time really worth it after all? How about January 1st, 750 billion years into eternity? Mark your calendar.
If all this seems like a big waste of time, if you ever teach on Christian time management, perhaps you can suggest the following since TV viewing is a foregone conclusion:
Do your praying and Bible study during TV Commercials (good time management). This may cut into those time slices you utilize for social interaction with family members (commercials are not just for bathroom and snack runs). If you need more commercial time slices, just watch more TV. If you feel a little run down and tired from so much sitting, eat more snacks (food = calories = energy).
Better yet, Be a staunch defender of TV viewing and teach about all the benefits of much TV viewing for believers. Here are some handy sermon notes:
Sermon Notes: Why TV is so important to Christians
The average American watches about 3 hours of TV a day. Thankfully most Christians are average (you would not want to be below average, would you?). What is so important about watching TV? Glad you asked. FYI: It must be important. Why else would millions of people voluntarily do the exact same thing for the amount of time equal to a part time job if it wasn’t important?
Cultural Relevance: We as awkward, repressed, narrow minded Christians don’t know how to fit into the culture. How can we expect people to be like Jesus if we are not like them? We are always just a few steps behind the world. Perhaps TV can help close the gap.
Everything pertaining to life: We as awkward, repressed, narrow minded, ignorant Christians don’t know how to live? We would miss out on so much that life has to offer if we didn’t have TV to shine a light on the broad road that is right in front of us.
The Science of Mental Health: How can we ever hope to help our fellow humans work through their problems if we don’t understand the latest and ever changing theories on human behavior? TV is the best and easiest way to keep up or shut up. No one wants to look foolish by telling someone that they are bad people by nature. How would we know to tell them that they are at best, good people who have issues and at worst, good people who sometimes do bad things. They need to forgive themselves and move on. But we would not know this without the doctrines of TV.
Who is evil: TV alerts us to who is evil: Trump supporters, “Homophobes” (a medical term?), mis-genderers, and yourself if you are any of these (shame on you).
Culturally relevant sermon illustrations: Like when Ross wants to get back together with Rachel so they can have some more good old fashioned premarital sex, but he keeps messing things up.
Illustration for: Sometimes we get in the way of getting what we want from God.
Staying busy: with the above. It’s like Sesame Street for all ages. TV instructs as it entertains.
Amusement: People need to put their brain in neutral and coast awhile after a hard day at work.
Avoidance of sin: More watching = less sinning. If you are busy watching TV, you are too busy to sin. The key to true repentance could be watching more TV, not less. Play it safe. Sit and do nothing (TV) as much as possible.
What would we do if we didn’t watch TV: I really don’t know. Probably boring stuff like reading and practicing hand bells. Who would want to be like us.
Be all thing to all men: Self-explanatory.
What to buy: There is that rule or law that everyone knows about that says you can’t lie on TV. If a commercial says a product is the best, you can rest assured that it truly is. This is good stewardship.
The wise Transcendent Zen of TV: One need not search for happiness for one is truly happy when watching TV.
TV lets us know what the majority thinks: So we can go along to get along (the Solomon Asch effect).
TV help identify social deviants:
Toxic, masculine (redundant) males.
low information, republican (redundant) voters.
People who take the Bible literally.
TV teaches everything: What to think, feel and believe. How to behave. What is true and what is false.
Quality time with the family.
Promotes like mindlessness: When we all have the same Pavlovian responses to similar stimuli, we will know that the good work that began in us by TV will be complete.
(Rule of thumb: If there is no skin, there is no sin)
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