Tuesday, January 10, 2006

TV is Everywhere

I am sick of going into public places and seeing television screens everywhere I look!

I stand in line at an amusement park and have to watch Looney Tunes; I sit in a waiting room and have to watch Court TV; I eat in a restaurant and have to watch a sports game. A Wal-Mart near us just installed television screens in every checkout line! Can I scream? Granted, they aren't tuned to a soap opera or cartoon, but it's still irritating advertising that I have no choice but to listen to as I wait in the usually-long lines in Wal-Mart.

Aaaahhh!

There, I feel better.

22 comments:

Samara said...

:) I hear you- I always wish that places would turn off the background music and enjoy some peace.
In Russia, whenever we went over to someone's house that had a TV set, they would turn the TV UP even with no one watching it- we figured that maybe it was some sort of polite way to share the TV, since it's still quite the status symbol there- but it would always stay on all through dinner super loud, so you had to practically shout over it. Whenever my dad mentioned that we could turn down the TV, he was given crazy looks.

zan said...

I always have either Fox News on or Talk Radio. I have been noticing that I probably should turn it off. When I do, I can't beleive how quiet it is. I just like talking. My son still talks in his own language so maybe that is why I like to hear talking. :)

deb said...

Well, we don't have TVs at our Walmart yet, but maybe they're coming :( Our post office does have one though, and it's tuned to the news station. I've noticed that no one else pays much attention to it, but since we don't have TV at home, I usually do try and watch the news for the few minutes I'm in line. Thankfully, I'm not there long enough to endure the commercials.:)

Mr. Baggins said...

I'm extremely thankful to live in North Dakota. It is very quiet here!

Jessie said...

Feel free to scream, Susan. I know exactly what you mean. TV I think has become America's god in many respects. Well, it's a toss-up between TV and sports. But you can actually worship both gods at once, you know- Watch sports on TV! Happy thought indeed!
: ) (or not...)

Susan said...

Hmmm, well Metro Atlanta is certainly not the quietest, most laid-back place on earth. I'd love to someday move out somewhere more rural. Southern Indiana would be my choice, I think. Indiana is in my blood :).

I agree, Jessica, that to most Americans, TV has become a god. I've heard the TV described as "the glowing idol in your living room." Agreed that sports is another huge idol!

Helen said...

Has Walmart got too much money??? A TV screen on every check out line?!

This world could do with fewer TVs...

Susan said...

Well, with all the money Wal-Mart saves by buying the majority of their goods from China, it's no wonder they have money left over for TV screens at checkout lines. . .

Ashley said...

I'm so glad WalMart put TVs in their checkout lines. I was going crazy having to pull myself away from the TV long enough to go shopping. Some gas stations have TVs at the pumps too. And cell phones. Soon I won't ever have to be able to think for myself!

;-)

Susan said...

I think we need to have a little chat, Ashley ;).

Adrian C. Keister said...

I find it interesting that you're reading Les Miserables. That's my favorite fiction work of all time.

I also notice that you're planning on reading All God's Children and Blue Suede Shoes. That's also a great book. May I ask whether you've read Amusing Ourselves to Death, by Neil Postman? He's not a Christian, but the ideas in that book are used in many Christian authors, including a book you have read, Fit Bodies Fat Minds, and others you may or may not have read such as Recovering the Lost Tools of Learning, by Douglas Wilson. Lots of great stuff there. Just some thoughts; take them for what they're worth.

In any case, Amusing Ourselves to Death would support your thesis more than about any book I can think of.

In Christ.

Susan said...

Yes, I finally decided to read Les Miserables after hearing for so many years that I should. Your recommendation for it last fall was the final deciding factor that I did indeed need to read it.

I'm not that far into it - M. Madeleine just heard of "Jean Valjean's" capture - but it's very interesting. The Bishop of Digne and Jean Valjean are intriguing characters.

All the other books you mentioned, believe it or not, are on my lengthier "to-read" list :). I intended to read Postman's book last fall, even checking it from the library with an inter-library loan, but it proved to be a very busy time for me and was never read. I still intend to read it. Thanks for all the recommendations; I do appreciate them; and feel free to keep them coming. They may not be read immediately, but most likely I will read them at some point :).

Adrian C. Keister said...

Ok, you're scaring me now. It always scares me when people do things I recommend. Almost makes me wonder how any man has the guts to be a covenant head. Anyhoo, I do hope you like Les Mis, even the tangential parts Hugo just loves to stick in there. And by tangential, I do not mean anything that has anything to do with derivatives. *smirk*

Well, although you probably already understand this, I'll say it anyway. All recommendations come with a disclaimer: I think they're great, but you may not. Please don't feel obligated to praise something just because I did.

Happy reading.

In Christ.

Susan said...

Haha, now you're making me laugh. Why would you recommend something if you get scared when I actually follow through? And I am loving Les Miserables :). I'm used to tangents. I've read Beowulf; 'nuff said.

Of course I understand that your recommendations come with disclaimers. I will feel free to come to my own conclusions; I really do hate false praise, so don't worry on that score. . .

And derivatives are not a smirking matter. . . ;)

Adrian C. Keister said...

Maybe I'm just not used to it. I'm used to being one of those extreme types, whose tastes are different from practically everyone around me. For example: I hate rock music. I have a difficult time getting people to understand just how much I hate it, because practically no one does hate it. I hate rock music like hobbits love mushrooms. I have nearly a corresponding love of classical music, which is something else people don't understand. *sigh*

I am glad you are "loving Les Mis." It really is an astonishing book, very full of truth and beauty. Some people criticize it saying that all those "coincidences" couldn't possibly happen. I say that sort of thing happens all the time.

Susan said...

Well, I'm used to being an extreme type as well. I've accepted the fact that I'm different :). I get weird looks from people because of my style of clothing, my mannerism, my hopes and dreams, my preferred forms of entertainment; the list goes on. . .

I am completely with you on rock music! To me it's not so much a matter of whether it's right or wrong (I haven't done enough studying for such a conclusion), but what is best. Rock music is so inferior to so many other forms of music. I honestly just don't see what there is to like about it. I have a particular problem with contemporary worship services; the worship of God should not be "cheapened" to the culture's current whims, emotions, etc. God created so many rich forms of music that we can use to worship Him!

Classical music is something I wish I had studied more growing up. I love listening to classical music, but haven't been trained how to analyze it, etc. I would love to take a music appreciation course or something of that sort.

My music background is scattered. I have a little background in recorder and flute, and took a few years of piano. My piano training was rather nontraditional. I started when I was 15, progressed through 5 sets of books in 10 months with my first teacher, then spent 2 more years learning assorted piano techniques with my second teacher, who was much less structured than my first. I regret stopping lessons - though it was necessary due to my college class load - and wish I had more musical training. I still play the piano for enjoyment, but my playing is sporadic and imperfect. Classical pieces are so satisfying to play; the timing and rhythm is so methodical and the pieces are very structured and logical. Like math :).

Adrian C. Keister said...

There does not appear to be any method which I could not use in abusing rock music. Hehe. Probably the most pervasive manner in which it fails to be appealing is the lack of harmonic variation. It's not imaginative. It lacks that complexity that allows it to stand up under repeated and intense scrutiny. Some arguments against rock music don't stand up to scrutiny, however. For example, some would say there is a "demonic backbeat." To that I would claim there is no proof whatsoever. The connection might or might not be there, and it would be impossible to categorize every piece of rock music with such a broad brush. No, the aesthetic argument is the strongest I've seen. It's just not pretty!

Are you sure you want to open the pandora's box of contemporary Christian music with me? Seriously, I could dominate your blog with this. ;-) Before I get started on that whole topic, please understand that when I say "contemporary Christian music (CCM)", I mean a definite genre. I do not mean anything that has been written recently for the church. There is great music being written as we speak, for the church.

I would agree with you, and I think you've managed to put your finger right on the problem: "culture's current whims." Therein lies the problem. The main problem with worship in general, today, is that Christians tend to think it's all about the unchurched; it's evangelism. But worship is not for the unbelievers. It's for believers. And more than for believers, it's for God. Worship must be Trinity-centered. Incidentally, doesn't it bother you that so many in the Reformed world concentrate on Christ to the detriment of the Father and the Spirit? I mean, why settle for one Person when you can have three? We worship God, and there's more to God than Christ, as great as He is, and as surely as He is the second Person of the Trinity, fully God and fully man. *shudder* I always shudder whenever I talk about the Trinity; that's holy ground, that is.

Worship is not something whereby we try to gimmick or trick unbelievers into coming. It's for God. And if it's for God, it must be holy. If it's holy, it must be set apart, by definition of holy. Set apart from what? From the world and its sinfulness. This is the one problem I have with Myers and his All God's Children and Blue Suede Shoes. He leaves out a culture category: liturgical culture. I believe that if Christians were truly Trinity-centered in their worship, the music and everything else would reflect that, and the resulting liturgical culture would permeate the world's culture. The world would say, "Gee, I'd like a part of that." This is the way it used to be, by the way. Guys like Bach and Handel, Haydn and Mendelssohn greatly influenced the world's music through their church music. Instead, we have the world's culture influencing liturgical culture, and that should not be. We do not need to use the world's methods to gain adherents. We should use God's ways.

There is always the problem of dealing with CCM if your church happens to use it. I've adopted the following strategy, which is necessarily low-key. 1. Sing along during all CCM songs so as to avoid being divisive. Music, after all, is not a dividing point of the gospel; it is not an essential point of doctrine, though I do think it's much more important than many think it is. 2. Play great music myself for preludes and postludes; play the great hymns as excellently as I possibly can. 3. Educate those people who are interested in learning more about it. This includes teaching hymns in four parts, which I did once to a sizeable cross-section of my local congregation. They loved it! Singing four parts is so interesting.

This strategy seems to do some good, seems to nudge in the right direction without comprimising the peace of the church, which I took a vow to study when I became a member. Ultimately, God picks us up where are, not where we should be. It matters not how good our music is now. It matters a very great deal where our music is headed. I envision churches which have their own well-trained choirs and orchestras, where the congregations themselves sing pretty much as well as the choir, where everyone sings great music and means what they sing. So many people present the false dilemma: will God be more pleased with a "heart felt CCM song," or a "dry hymn?" If I never heard this dilemma again, it would be too soon. Hymns and great music should never be dry! It should soar! The congregation should sing it manfully! They should think about the words while they're singing, and they should mean the words. The words and the music are equally important, in my view.

Well, this is rapidly turning into a book, and while Sunday is a fantastic day to discuss these things, I'm tired now. I'll get off my stump for now. ;-) I have a strong inkling that, yet again, I've said absolutely nothing with which you disagree. Please understand, though you probably do already, that disagreements don't bother me.

In Christ.

Susan said...

I like your reasoning on rock music. I struggled for years over whether rock music is "wrong" or not, and finally did arrive at roughly the same conclusion you have. I have had many revelations in the past few months - not just over music - as I've realized just how much I've been living under the law, instead of under grace; hence my two posts on the subject :). This past week alone I feel like scales have just fallen from my eyes.

Speaking of rock music, you said: "It's just not pretty"

I liked that :).

"When I say "contemporary Christian music (CCM)", I mean a definite genre. I do not mean anything that has been written recently for the church. There is great music being written as we speak, for the church."

Absolutely in agreement there. Even some music that is classified as CCM is still very good. I really admire some of Michael Card's music, and he is sometimes classified CCM. There are many great hymns that have been written even in the past few years. Have you heard In Christ Alone by Stuart Townsend? One of my absolute favorites.

I think it doesall go back to the "seeker-friendly" mentality. Church has become about the unchurched, which is not at all what it is supposed to be! Just as an example, several churches in my area closed their doors on Christmas and New Year's. One pastor was quoted as saying that since the primary purpose of church was to evangelize, there was no point in holding services since the unchurched wouldn't be there anyway. It made me sad :(.

I hadn't really noticed the overemphasis of the 2nd person of the trinity - Christ - but you're absolutely right. Last week I did realize how much we emphasize Christ's role in salvation, to the downplay of the Father's and Holy Spirit's roles. I Peter 1:2 includes the role of each in our salvation.

I think it's not just reformed circles, though. Just a guess, but the "downplay" of the Holy Spirit in many churches may be a reaction to the charismatic movement.

"Worship is not something whereby we try to gimmick or trick unbelievers into coming. It's for God. And if it's for God, it must be holy. If it's holy, it must be set apart, by definition of holy. Set apart from what? From the world and its sinfulness."

Yes, very good! The antithesis between the seed of the woman and the serpent really is lost, ignored, smeared, etc. in today's churches, unfortunately. Distinction from the world should be a delight! I'm not talking about Amish-type living, as I'm sure you realize ;).

"There is always the problem of dealing with CCM if your church happens to use it."

Yes, that would describe my situation :). You have good, solid advice on dealing with that issue. I've learned many lessons over the past months and years about seeking as much as possible to be at peace with all men. I have been convicted of my attitude in regards to the worship service, and continue to pray every Sunday that the Lord will give me a right attitude.

"Educate those people who are interested in learning more about it. This includes teaching hymns in four parts, which I did once to a sizeable cross-section of my local congregation."

Now you have me jealous!! I really, really would like such an opportunity. My family and I would love to do something like that; while more contemporary than me, they also have a deep appreciation for traditional music. We've even talked briefly about doing something like that, but it would be best to find someone with know-how in that area, and ours is very limited.

"I have a strong inkling that, yet again, I've said absolutely nothing with which you disagree. Please understand, though you probably do already, that disagreements don't bother me."

Well, your "strong inkling" proved correct :) - again. Thanks for the reminder, though, that disagreements don't bother you. As I've said, I hate false praise, so don't worry that I'll verbally agree with you if my mind does not also concur :).

Soli Deo Gloria

Adrian C. Keister said...

I've heard some Michael Card, of course, but not an enormous amount. I have heard In Christ Alone, and I quite enjoy that song, too. In fact, it may be the only CCM song that can make me cry.

About the Trinity: I would agree that the de-emphasis of the Spirit is probably due to an over-reaction to the charismatics. We Reformed people have to remember that there will likely be many charismatics up there with us in heaven. And they may be totally correct about the Spirit. I'm inclined to think not, but surely there's room for charity. And if there is an over-emphasis on Christ, at least it's understandable. After all, the church is the church of Jesus Christ. The church is the bride of Christ, not of the Father or the Spirit. I think the de-emphasis of the Father might be due to Judaism and to Islam and to Unitarianism. I think it quite possible that if you over-emphasize the Father, you might get Unitarianism. So there may be humanly understandable reasons why Christ is emphasized so much. As usual the truth is some balance somewhere in all that mess.

Yes, no Amish-ness for me, though I'll not deny it has its appeal. The problem is that they are pushing the "be not of the world" so much that they manage not to be in the world. Same thing with monasteries. Being in the world is a cross that we have to carry.

I would agree that it's best to have someone who knows what they're doing. I am no professional choir director, but I can teach pitches and rhythm. And, of course, all of that talent, what there is of it and exactly what there is of it, is a gift of God. I might as well boast about the color of my hair (blond, incidentally ;-)) as boast about my talents. Interestingly, Douglas Wilson's church (about 1000 strong) went, in the space of two years, from all CCM to all hymns, and some of those hymns are *tough*. They do Genevan Psalms, which have no meter and have lots of syncopation. Some of them were too difficult for me to sightread. So to hear 1000 people singing in four parts was quite an experience. How did they do it? 1. Get the elders on board. 2. Get an extremely experienced and competant choir director to teach the music to the congregation. That's it.

I, too, hate false praise, so thank you for that. This is, in me, mostly due to Mom, who never gave an ounce of praise where it was not due. To be fair, she did give praise and encouragement when it was due. This was an incredible boon for me, because now I can discern between something excellent and something which isn't. That, in turn, allows me to follow Philippians 4:8 better. Quite good training.

In Christ.

Adrian C. Keister said...

O, something else that occurred to me. It might have been entirely necessary to get Wilson's congregation to understand the importance of observing the Sabbath before they could teach the music. Otherwise, knowing human nature as we do, everyone would certainly make excuses not to come to evening worship (which is when they did this).

Susan said...

We Reformed people have to remember that there will likely be many charismatics up there with us in heaven.

Absolutely. I believe that many charismatics are sincere believers, and don't find their doctrine to be such that it endangers their grasp of basic salvation.

I think the de-emphasis of the Father might be due to Judaism and to Islam and to Unitarianism.

Hmm, hadn't thought of that, but I agree it is probable.

Interestingly, Douglas Wilson's church (about 1000 strong) went, in the space of two years, from all CCM to all hymns, and some of those hymns are *tough*. They do Genevan Psalms, which have no meter and have lots of syncopation. Some of them were too difficult for me to sightread.

Wow, that's a pretty dramatic shift, and impressive that they were able to pull it up without (I'm assuming) a major division. Did you attend Doug Wilson's church at one time? I've noticed that several of your links go to Doug Wilson affiliates which, coupled with several mentions you've made of Wilson, has made me wonder if you have a connection.

I, too, hate false praise, so thank you for that. This is, in me, mostly due to Mom, who never gave an ounce of praise where it was not due. To be fair, she did give praise and encouragement when it was due.

Ditto :). My parents realized the value of encouragement, but did not falsely praise us nor flatter us to the point of vanity. I now see the wisdom in that.

Adrian C. Keister said...

My affiliation with Douglas Wilson is almost excusively through his writings. I've read nearly every book he's ever written. I have been to his church once, which is how I can say the things I say, plus having talked with the music guy up there, Duck Schuler. I have met Wilson several times, and talked with him. He's a great guy, I think. Very humble, as you might expect from someone who normally preaches Christ as powerfully as he does. The astounding thing about him for his dissenters is that he's a nice guy. People like being around him!

Interestingly, all the stuff going on in Moscow, ID, used to be able to be called "The Wilson Show." That's not true anymore, as his elders have forced him to get his fingers out of a number of pies. He focuses on his church now, and doesn't do quite as much with education, Credenda, NSA, etc.

People have also accused him of many heresies. I think he has his faults, most notably a weakness in church history. His strength is practical theology; he's nearly unequaled there, in my opinion. He's a little weaker on biblical and systematic theology. He sometimes says things that can be misinterpreted, and then he has to backtrack and re-explain himself (though this doesn't happen in his practical theology nearly as much.)

Favorite books by him: Recovering the Lost Tools of Learning, Reforming Marriage, Fidelity, Her Hand in Marriage, and Federal Husband. Nancy Wilson, his wife, has also written some fabulous books, notably The Fruit of Her Hands, on being a godly wife, and Praise Her in the Gates, on being a godly mother. Both fantastic.

In Christ.