Television Blackout

I’m currently in the 4th month of a television blackout. I started at the beginning of May 2009. After selling off the majority of my DVDs, all of my video games (and game systems), and other visual media, I haven’t had the desire to consume television programming.

I thought this would change once the NFL preseason started. For the first Redskins game of the preseason, I turned my TV on for the first time in 4 months, watched a couple of plays, then turned it off promptly once the first commercial began to roll.

Being away from television programming and advertisements for 4 months has made me very sensitive to the purpose and affect of advertising. I couldn’t even stand to watch one commercial, because it seemed so contrary to the life and worldview I’ve been establishing and fostering for the past 4 months.

My life this summer has been all about detaching myself from the love of material possessions, living a minimalistic lifestyle, and finding complete satisfaction and fulfillment from knowing and serving God.

The whole point of advertising is to make you dissatisfied with your life. Advertising takes advantage of your materialistic tendancies — the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life — all things the Bible warns you about.

Advertising promotes exactly the wrong things in life. Especially the advertisements you’ll see during football games. Whether it’s sex, cars, or wealth/retirement, these advertisements have nothing to offer the Christian man or woman, but hindrances to their spiritual walk.

And it’s only after being away from it for 4 months, that I can see advertising for what it is. Which is why I encourage every Christian to take an extended break from television — a “fast” if you will — to break away from the psychological hold advertising has in your life.

Not only will a fast from advertising help you be more content with the life you have, but the absence of television in your life will free up your time for other — more noble — things like family, reading, and prayer.

I didn’t set out to take an extended break from television. But I’m glad it’s turned out that way. I’m going to try and increase this 4-month blackout to an entire year. Yes, that means I’ll miss the NFL season, and yes, that means I’ll miss my favorite shows. But the time I’ll now have for daily Bible reading, prayer, friendships, and family will be more precious than anything television has to offer.

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