Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Death to Distraction

Those who are always empty, always thirsty, always seeking for this or that, never satisfied, are weak, and of little use to God. It is the satisfied who are strong, and God has made provision that we should all be satisfied. He offers us such satisfaction in His Son that we are able to say, "I want nothing, I need nothing for myself." That is strength...Neither the world nor the powers of darkness can find an entry there. -Watchman Nee (Changed Into His Likeness)

A few days ago a good friend of mine gave me the courage to do something I knew needed to be done a long time go: cancel my Netflix account.

For the next year, we have committed to not watching movies or television. Why? Because I started to hate what it was turning me into. In the past year with all of my emerging health problems, I began immersing myself in the comforts of Netflix, Hulu, Fox streaming Television and free HBO. At one point I managed to watch 25 movies in a week. On average that is 3 movies and a TV show per day which calculates to about 7.14 hours a day of staring at a flickering screen. Not only that, I was becoming more irritable and antisocial by the day. It was getting so bad that I could not even articulate my thoughts clearly and the prospect of talking to people became terrifying. Some days I wouldn't even leave my apartment or see daylight. And forget about prayer. I was so successfully distracted that I was unaware of anything divine or spiritual in my life. Needless to say, I became depressed, hopeless and completely bored because I had watched every single movie in the known universe.

The very things that seem benign and harmless always find a way to infiltrate our souls, slowly occupying territory that belongs to God. They are the Trojan horses of our culture claiming to be a victory prize only to leave us wrecked, starved and pillaged in the end. We are assaulted with moving images and loud noises everywhere we turn. This barrage of light and sound is so relentless that it can convince us we need it without ever letting us know that we have become slaves to it. The world offers so many diversions that promise relief from an often painful and mundane existence, but in the end it is only a cheap replacement for what will really satiate the soul's appetite.

I think film can be an amazing expression of artistry, creativity and a whole spectrum of human experience, but like any good thing, too much of it corrupts the mind and distorts reality. Maybe I'll watch a movie at some point in the future. But for now, my soul is malnourished and needs something more than simple sugars. I guess this isn't anything really revolutionary and it's not like I was doing hard drugs, but I have been in a walking coma for too long. In trying to avoid pain, I stopped living and resigned myself to an empty reality. No more of that.

Death to distraction. Long live the soul.

(I hope you like my drawing.)

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