Why I’ve Quit Watching TV

There are some things that one can’t imagine how life would be without them. I recall of a time when these were virtues; integrity, industry, truth, love, fidelity and so on and so forth. Then gadgets and gimmicks came along and crept into this precious list. Unbearable, a word that was used to describe a marriage in the rocks, now describes time spent in the country side; away from the internet, TV and the likes that are associated with the “good life”. It is not an unusual sight to see couples (even on their first date) fidgeting away on their mobile phones, each lost in their own little worlds. It is usually our family tradition to spend the Christmas season over at the farm and the recently ended festive season was no exception. The menu consisted of good food, pleasant conversations, enchanting music (tweeting birds) and God’s presence abounding. To say that I miss those few days is an understatement. I burn to re-live them! Surely that is how life is to be spent all year round-not just on special occasions. Do we need an occasion to have a hearty laugh with our loved ones? Most definitely not! Do we need to mark our calendars that on such and such a day, I will tickle the ribs of a loved one? Most definitely not! Do we need an occasion to share an out-of-the-usual warm meal with a loved one? Most definitely not! Oh! Those days will linger in my memory for some good time to come. However, one thing sure fueled this most cherished period. We had no TV, we had no computer and we had no radio. We had each other. It was then that it dawned on me how much these gadgets have taken over our dear lives. Think about it. How are our living rooms arranged? Who, or rather what, takes the center stage? The faces of our loved ones or some bunch of foolhardy people in an electronic box (read TV) out for attention, fame and a quick buck? How about the dining table? Forgive me but if my memory serves me right, there was a time when eating away from the table was a most grievous sin. Now we put food on the plate and run back to worship our small gods in our living rooms and bedrooms. Where are the times when “ DTTs” (Dining Table Talks) were a time to catch up, impart life-giving knowledge and hear the good ol’ stories of our loved parents in their hey days? Ah! My heart sobs! We have lost something. I look at the social skills of the older folk compared to my generation, and it occurs to me that we have most definitely lost something. We can regain it but first, we have to know what we have lost. And if by reading these few sentences you haven’t realized what it is we have lost, then you are a clear statistic we need help. Help from above to open the eyes of our hearts that we may truly see.

I have another reason why I have quit watching TV-a more personal one but not private. Several times Jesus exhorts us to watch our steps with the Almighty cautiously. He reminds us that the eyes are the light of the body. If our eyes are good, then our whole body is full of light. If our eyes are bad, our whole body is full of darkness. Simple logic yet there is nothing simple in its application. He goes on further saying that if the right eye causes us to sin, we should gouge it out and throw it away, for it is better to lose one part of the body and go to heaven than save the whole body and be thrown in hell. Okay, after the utterance of such from one with the highest authority, any sane person would halt in their tracks and ponder for a while. If I was to take this literally, I would have been totally blind right after birth! However, the “SSS” rule saves our skin from such imbecility. Scripture Supports Scripture, hence Paul exhorts us to throw off everything that hinders and the sin that easily entangles so that we can run well the race marked out for us. There is the major reason for my quitting watching TV. I am a Christian i.e. a follower of Christ (hence the name Christian). That comes before all else; my family, my career, my public outlook, my second name and most of all, my self- my old self to be precise. If anything makes me less of a Christian, it’s not worth keeping. And TV is not worth keeping. I have fought with this for quite some time. How am I going to relate with family and friends? How will I respond to the kind gesture of a host who wants to watch TV and asks for my company? I do realize this will ruffle some feathers. I also realize that I might be alienating myself from others. This is not pleasant at all. Then again, the Christian walk has never been pleasant. It may be full of mirth but this is not wrought from without but rather from within. How will my family (parents and siblings) feel when I sit alone on the dining table, munching away? Well, as cold as this may sound, I am not responsible for how they will respond. However, I am responsible for my Christian walk. I will not be crippled by TV. And boy, there is nothing more crippling than lust birthed by watching TV. It is a starving leech that sucks the joy out of the Christian experience. One day I will appear before my Lord and give an account of how I lived. Be far from it that He should find me unworthy of His presence because I preferred TV to Him in this life. He paid a dear price to redeem me. I should not take that lightly.

Secondly, there are too many trivialities on TV. Look at all the series that make murder look like a walk in the park. There was a time when tragedy was just that-tragedy. It would birth compassion for the bereaved but now, thanks to TV, tragedy amuses us. We sit long hours in front of this god and derive pleasure from criminal investigations regardless of how our hearts are becoming increasingly cold. Forgive me but I do recall the words of the wisest that our hearts should be guarded jealously for from them flow the issues of life. Then again, maybe I am growing old-not flowing with the times. Well, if it means losing my heart in the process, Count me out!

This is how things are going to be. I will eat my food in the dining room. Whoever needs my company, they know where to find me. I will not share my love for them with TV. I will enforce this in my home. The dining room is a sanctuary where we relax, let down our defenses and be our very true selves. It is the one place where a rebuke can be given without the stroke of the cane. Someone give me a reason for exchanging this divine providence with gadgets and gimmicks? This is one priviledge I will not allow to be taken away from my family (wife and children). I pray for a like-minded wife otherwise we would be having world war three at every meal. I will put my Lord before me at all times and should He impress upon my heart to quit another thing, then by His good grace I will. I sure will.

NB: I wrote the above article when self control was not a friend. Hence, it was important to take such a drastic action until I learnt how to use TV for good.Now that I have, I now watch TV but only what edifies and draws another to Christ and not from. God bless you all.

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Through It All

Evil and suffering has been a theme that has baffled as well as afflicted many. All of us have experienced some form of suffering and have been at the receiving end of evil at one time or the other. However, for some, the knife of suffering seems to cut deeper and evil stalks them more often than not. Akeno was one of these. News of flash floods covered the Kenyan media and scenes of destruction were captured on print and aired on national TV. Many watched these from the comfort of their living rooms but Akeno with her two months old baby, Becky, bore it’s brunt out in the cold streets. Some nights security guards chased her from the verandahs into the chilling rain and then lean back on rickety old chairs, snoring heavily. Going back meant selling the only asset she possessed- her body. Her faith could not allow her to do so even though the thought was never far away. Over time, she learnt to protect Becky from the extreme weather using rags and carton boxes. Becky would cry endlessly after a rude awakening by the thunderous rain. This frequently wrought tears in Akeno’s eyes. Absentmindedly, she would thrust her left nipple into Becky’s mouth and ponder what the future held. Hopelessness always crouching at her door, her mind wandered near and far in search of elusive peace of heart and mind. The future seemed grim and the recent past was ghastly. However, there was a time when things were different.

She once had a roof over her head and friends and family to savour life with. The dinner table was always a hive of activity. Dishes were passed across as another politely asked for the salt. Ribs were tickled as stories of how the day was spent unfolded. Family gatherings were cherished as glee abounded much. It was a joy to see Akeno’s parents gleaming over her and her two brothers. She was sure they loved them-they did not lift a finger in trying to hide it. This love was once tested when Akeno erred and got pregnant. The young Casanova denied his own child. Her parents hung their head low in shame but they did not chase her away as many of the relatives advised-Akeno was still their daughter and they made sure all knew that. A generous lot they were too. Numerous times, they shared the dinner table with friends and family and occasionally, with a stranger lost in travel. Of course, this cost them a few times, but it was never an excuse to drop the noble habit. Their home was welcome to all- friend or foe. All was well until they came-fellow human beings with hearts of stone. Loud screams from the boys’ quarters jolted Akeno’s father to his feet. He reached for his spear and even though his palms grew sweaty with fear, love for his family fueled him on. Bullets rang through the still air of the night. He engaged the “beasts” in combat but his efforts came in a little bit too late. The bodies of the boys laid in between the sheets, riddled with bullets. A hoarse loud groan sent Akeno’s mother out of the house screaming, only to catch a glimpse of her husband fall at the end of his own spear. In seething rage, she lashed out at the attacker. Scarring him on the right cheek, she cried out to Akeno, “Run! Akeno! Ru…” Her words were cut short by a bullet through her head. Akeno ran as fast as her little feet could enable her. However, with a growing child in her womb, her speed was no match for the experienced cattle rustlers. Tripping her with a soldier’s boot, one rustler ripped her skirt into two while beating the living daylights out of her. Another opened his fly in readiness. However, just before this inhuman act was executed, a shot in the air brought the goons to their senses. Their leader, a seemingly spiritual man, reminded them of an age-old custom that prohibited the harming of a pregnant woman. The rustlers left Akeno to live another day but sometimes she wished they hadn’t. The pangs of suffering had only just begun. Greedy relatives took over the home and chased her away. She was a disgrace to the community and banishment was a most justifiable punishment. The many friends that her father had entertained rejected her diplomatically. Their petty excuse being a pregnant orphan would strain their already overburdened budget. She was left to fend for herself and the streets that she once walked hand in hand with her father window-shopping, became her humble abode.

In trying times there is always something that reminds us of God’s love;the beautiful blue ocean, the sizzling African sunset, enchanting woods, a friend’s loving pat, the holy writ, a scene from a movie … for Akeno, it was the charming chuckle of Becky. It rang with an angelic tone. It reminded her of the times she used to chuckle to herself. Her father thought she was going senile but to her, it was probably the beginning of a sane life. A missionary couple had visited her family. It was during the same period word had gotten round that she was pregnant. They talked of the son of God that left the heavens and entered the world through a virgin birth. Akeno stooped in shame. This son dwelled with His earthly parents until the age of thirty after which He wandered across the country for three years doing good and telling the masses of His home on high. He was then killed on a tree by the very same people He loved. Akeno’s father seethed with anger-he hated betrayal. However, all of this was God’s plan to save the mortals from the wages of sin-death. Hence, the guilt and shame of sin was paid once and for all and everyone who believed in Him would be saved. Akeno’s heart tingled as it dawned on her that she didn’t have to live with guilt anymore. All of these sounded new and interesting until Becky, the white Lady, prompted them to accept and serve this God-Man exclusively. At this, Becky lost Akeno’s father. A responsible man who did all to ensure his family was taken care of, it seemed odd that accepting and serving was all that was required of him. It was too simple. He kindly rejected the offer to follow Jesus Christ. The boys followed suit. However, Akeno and her mother hung on to every word the couple spoke that day and accepted to be Christians. They didn’t have much time to go to church but the little time they got, they read the scriptures and sung hymns together.

Yes. She knew what it felt like chuckling to self. However, pain and suffering have a way of clouding one’s view of the joy set before them. She recalled of God’s promise that one day He shall wipe away every tear from her eyes and she will know suffering no more. How she longed for that day. She wondered if God was present in her suffering. A hymn her mother used sing with her quietly slipped into her mind. It reminded her that God would never leave her nor forsake her. She smiled. Becky now slept soundly in her arms. As she gazed at her, a strange tingly warmth swept over her body and for a moment, she knew she had experienced the embrace of a loving God. Like a bulb had been lit in her head, she knew where to go for help. The sun was rising up yonder and a cross on a steeple could be seen from afar. She arose from the cold verandah, tied Becky onto her back with the little clothing she had and with short, firm and sure steps she “followed the cross”. The sight of the church building grew larger and larger with every step. Embers of hope were kindled in her heart and the sight of a young woman sweeping the entrance fanned them into flames. She could no longer help it. She ran towards her with all her might while clutching at Becky. Momentarily, she forgot her empty stomach, her foul body odour and the tatters she wore. Tears streamed down her cheeks as she slowed down, nearing the now astonished lady in blue. She approached Akeno and held out her arms to hold her. Akeno fell into them and sobbed her heart out. She held on tightly as if her life depended on the woman’s embrace. Finally, she pulled herself away in embarrassment. “My name is Sister Rebecca,” the woman introduced herself with a lump rising in her throat. At this, Akeno leaned on her shoulder as she was led inside the church. Though it all-Akeno knew, that God had been with her through it all.