Sunday, May 28, 2006

Idols in our living rooms

Douglas Groothuis, reflecting on a popular television show with a surprisingly candid title, reminds us that idolatry is not dead in North America:
Now idols are a way of life (and death). Having abandoned the Real (in art, in religion, in music, in politics, in relationships), we revel in the unreal, making it "real" to us. Heroes are out; idols are in. The knowledge of people with commendable character passé; reveling in media personality is hip. Some Americans even consider TV "personalities" to be their "friends." Over sixty million people voted for their idol of choice on "American Idol" and cannot get enough of their instant celebrity. Instead of reading books together, or singing around the piano, or reciting poetry, or just conversing or praying together, people sit mindlessly, but breathlessly in front of multiple idols: the television itself is an idol and a keeper of a myriad (its name is Legion) of restless and rampaging idols. In fact, the entire "living room" (oxymoron now, for most homes) is configured to honor and worship the television: all is directed, not heavenward, but television-ward. No seat is out of range of the TV.
As scathing as those words are, they probably don't go far enough in describing just how damaging television is to the church. And, Dr. Groothuis's post points up how little Christians are writing about them.


Blogger Dan said...

You perhaps have read Postman's "Entertaining Ourselves To Death" for a tight critic of what Groothuis brings up here though from a 'secular' point of view.

Many years ago i started pointing out the uncanny parallelism between John's description of the idol described in Revelation that is given breath and speaks. I invite every to think of their own "living room" or "family room" and notice how these rooms with the TV enshrined and all furniture oriented toward it. What would the apostle think if after having had this vision he walked into one of our living/family rooms!!! A "TALKING" idol!!!! which for john was in impossibility.

11:22 PM, May 30, 2006  
Blogger Milton Stanley said...

I've heard about Postman's book, but unless it's assigned in my upcoming Ph.D. program readings, I won't be able to afford anything other than textbooks till about 2010. And I think you're right-on about the talking idol. Happy blogging at 2nd Thoughts!

3:19 PM, May 31, 2006  
Blogger Vicki said...

Oh my. This nailed me. I had to reference it at my site today. Hope you don't mind. Thanks, Milton.

4:18 PM, June 01, 2006  
Blogger Milton Stanley said...

Don't mind at all, Vicki. I'm honored --and happy to see you trying to break free of the allure of television.

10:12 PM, June 01, 2006  
Blogger Dan said...

Good luck on your Ph.D. work. Postman's book can probably be found in the library system and checked out... it would be a quick read.

12:24 AM, June 02, 2006  
Blogger Milton Stanley said...

Thanks. I'll look it up. Peace.

1:15 PM, June 02, 2006  

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