Robert Henry

Robert Henry

How many times have you sluffed off childhood life lessons as “Old Wives Tales,” or fantasy responded to with, “See that didn’t hurt.” One such life lesson that I sluffed off was the “If you keep watching that much television, you will just become a ‘couch potatoe.’”

The word is spelled p-o-t-a-t-o. A lesson I learned from watching television after then Vice President Dan Quayle happened to misspell the word; so, the media decided that he was ill-equipped to be vice president of anything, let alone the United States of America. I cannot remember if that was before or after the newspaper misspelled the word “school” in the headlines of the front page.

Along with the scare about too much television came the lesson about setting too close to the television and “going blind.” To that lesson, I adhered. I don’t sit near the set; I have simply purchased larger televisions as my vision required help.

However, I have found that my affair with the television has not been a bad thing at all. You see, the true “life lessons” that will benefit in all aspects of life are the lessons founded in the Christian faith. When I watch television, I view everything with that foundation at my core. I look for the good in people and situations. I look for just behaviors and appropriate moral conduct.

I know full well that in all the westerns I have watched, the white hats represented morality and the black hats represented immorality. Because of my Christian foundation I recognized that not all “good intentions” were thought out properly and, therefore, presented many long-term social concerns. However, my parents knew where I was and that if the television did truly hurt me in the long run, it was by my choice and no one else would be hurt by my choice.

I regard television viewing as one of those things that if done in moderation, was not a bad thing at all; even though the idea of “all things in moderation was good for me” is a 9th Century B.C. poetic notion, not from Scripture as many seem to suggest.

In fact, many things I have learned in front of the television, I have applied in life; such as how to properly split fire wood or handle a firearm. Because I never relied on the television to learn and because of my parents and Christian foundation, I can recognize Christian influence in the works of story writers, whether they choose to admit it or not.

Take for example the story of Superman. Superman was an only son who was sent to Earth. Superman, though the reason his father sent him to Earth was to save him, happened to be raised by morally centered Earthly parents, who distilled this morality in their adopted son, and spent his life saving mankind. The Superman story shows a great deal of Christian influence in the writers’ thought processes.

Additionally, I can, as a Christian, see some spiritual truth in even demonic programming. Vampires are walking around dead in their sins with no hope of anything beyond this existence can only continue to exist by continuing in their sinful ways.

One scene in a movie from the genre shows an entombed vampire being fed blood through a contraption created for that purpose. You could see the dried, lifeless heart of the vampire being covered in the blood and new life being given.

Now vampires are complete works of fiction. But because I know that the symbolic covering of the blood of the lamb covers me, I do have new life; life that extends beyond the death of the flesh.

You see, though the evil that exists in this world may seek to disturb and destroy us and may often use the television as a tool for that destruction, those of us in Christ cannot be destroyed. After all, it is not the tool that destroys, it is the behavior of the holder that does the damage.

From the code of the west to the war of the worlds, good versus evil to love stories, it is not the television that hurts, it is the lack of parenting that fails to teach the truths of it that brings destruction to the soul. I pray that parents will help their children to choose good programming and then spend time with them to discuss those topics which may be displayed and must be explained for healthy life choices.

Written by the Rev. Robert Henry, Senior Minister “Living By Faith” Ministries and member of the Pickaway County Ministerial Association for The Circleville Herald.

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