Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Entertianment Fast, Day 7

So I cheated a few times this week with the Internet, and while I shouldn't have, at least I was very focused and didn't end up wasted a lot of time.

Fasting from TV, movies, and games wasn't so bad. There were a few times when I was bored and watched to watch something, but I ended up reading or writing instead. And that was cool because I've made a lot of progress on the two books I'm currently writing, plus I read a couple books I've been wanting to read for a while.

The interesting thing about this all, at least in relation to the Internet, is how "out of the loop" I felt. Like there was this mild panicky feeling that I was missing out on the comings and goings of the social world online.

Of course, I wasn't. All the Facebook updates and emails between Wed and Sun, and between Sun and now were still there for me to read when I got online. No big deal.

I'm not saying it isn't difficult at times, but I think it is good, and I think as the weeks go it will get better. I should have done this a long time ago, even felt impressed to do it over five months ago, but I kept putting it off. It just seemed too improbable: there were TV shows I wanted to watch, fantasy football stats I had to keep track of, books to promote, and...... I feel like there were a lot more reasons, but I can't think of anything substantial anymore, lol.

I felt like doing this would make me feel restricted, but in actuality I feel more freedom to do what I actually want. I don't wake up in the morning and instantly get sucked into the black hole that is my computer. I have time to just sit and think and read or write. And I don't get stuck watching TV or playing games endlessly. I feel like I have more focus.

So now I'm just trying to figure out what I'm going to do once this fast is over. I don't think I want to keep such tight restrictions, but like I mentioned, I do enjoy the freedom I feel. I need to work out some kind of balance. Maybe it will come naturally as I break away from bad habits.

Sorry this is kind of random and scattered. I'll write more later next week perhaps.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Internet is Killing Me

The Internet is killing me. Or, more accurately, I’m killing myself with the Internet. And movies, TV shows, video games… basically anything I can find to distract me.

This brings me to a very difficult place. Because as much trash as there is on any of the above, I have been uplifted and inspired by each of them at times. Not to mention the appropriateness of just zoning out sometimes.

But even good things can become bad if they get in the way of better things. Not bad in of themselves, but bad in certain contexts. For example, I am apparently unable to regulate my free time in a healthy way. Instead of using and enjoying these mediums, they end up controlling me and sucking up all my free time. I don’t mind giving them their rightful place, but they have encroached upon other territory and have prevented me from doing what I actually want to do.

Of course, I speak as if “they” were doing anything at all, but actually it’s just my inability to prioritize.

Thus, I declare a fast. Until January 18, 2010. Forty days of fasting… or at least rationing. I’m not exactly sure how this is going to go, but for starters:

  1. My fasting applies only to my own free time, but not necessarily to social time. So if you want to go to a movie with me, that’s cool. But I’m not going to sit down and watch a movie by myself just to be distracted or pass the time or whatever.

  1. Which brings me to actual guidelines for my free time:

    1. No TV shows, movies, or video games.
    2. Internet is limited to 1 hour a week (30 min on Wed. and 30 min on Sunday).

  1. I think I will not restrict music or books. Though these do have the same potential as the others, I haven’t noticed a problem with these. But I’ll keep an eye on them to see if they creep in.

  1. At the end of forty days, I can reevaluate myself and do whatever seems appropriate. Perhaps I will be able to overcome my lameness.

I feel strange tell you all this, because it seems like quite a personal matter. But I feel that I will be more accountable if I write about this experiment on here. I’ll try to post something every week or two for those of you who are curious.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Why do we use music to praise God?

So I've been thinking lately about how music is such a central part of how we praise God. Then I started wondering... why? Why did God give us music to praise Him?

Is it for God’s sake that we have music?

I mean, is more meaningful to Him than just saying the words of praise? If what really matters to God is what is in our hearts, then it means the same whether we sing it or paint it or write it or simply say it.

But maybe God receives aesthetic enjoyment from our songs. I guess this could be true, especially since Jesus is human, but still I imagine that the aesthetic value must be relatively small compared to the glory of heavenly music. I don’t picture God saying, “Let’s give music to the humans because I’m getting tired of all this angelic singing.”

Of course, then you might counter that it isn’t what our music sounds like that makes it beautiful to God, but what we’re trying to say to Him and what is in our hearts, right? Which brings us back to the idea that simple words of praise are just as beautiful and meaningful to God as songs.

Now, maybe I’m missing something here, but it seems to me that if God didn’t give us music for His own enjoyment and benefit, then there is only one option left… and just think of the profound implications of that!

Monday, October 12, 2009

By All Accounts, I Should Be A Disaster

From birth, I was destined to be destructive. Before I took my first breath, my cells were coming together, laying out my destiny ahead of me. As a baby boy, little did I know that four out of five crimes are committed by males. Little did I know that my parents would get divorced, doubling the likelihood that I’d someday commit a violent crime. All these statistics weighed heavily on me before I could even stand up and walk.

And as I grew, I made choices of my own, placing myself into more categories, into more statistical groups. I played the violent video games that are supposed to make people more aggressive. I rocked out to the angry music that is supposed to inspire me to take harmful, rebellious action against society. I watched the violent movies that are supposed to desensitize me to brutality.

In addition to that, I have the means. I own a number of weapons – guns, swords, daggers, axes, and so on. I am somewhat of a recluse. I like wearing black. I have vague anti-establishment leanings. Etc.

By all accounts, I fit the profile of killers like those at Columbine or Virginia Tech.

And yet, here I am sitting in my room – not locked in a prison or laying in a grave – typing up these musings. And, believe it or not, despite all the evidence, I have no desire to go shoot anyone, at a school or otherwise. In fact, I have no desire to harm anyone by any means.

Alas, my dear statistics, I have failed you.