Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Concentration (07/24/08)
TITLE: The Sound-Bite Monster in the Living Room
By Gillian Dobson
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What you may ask is a “Sound-bite Monster?” Well, it has one large eye that blinks constantly at you, reflecting an amazing array of moving pictures from the reflective surface of its lens. It speaks too, but has no ears to hear, nor arms or legs to move. This is a small mercy, as otherwise there would be no escaping the creature for it might follow one from room to room. I call it the “Sound-bite Monster” because all of its moving pictures and related sounds are arranged into “sound-bites” of no more than 10 minutes duration. And “Sound-bite Monsters” have invaded homes across the length and breadth of our planet. Have you guessed yet? Yes, the Monster in my living room is otherwise known as the television.
I first became aware of the detrimental effects the Monster could have on one’s thought processes during a conversation with Mrs Nolan, my son’s Grade One teacher:
“I’m guessing you don’t have a TV in your home?”
“That’s right. How did you know that?”
“When I’m reading to the class, I can see that your son is the only one who has a concentration span longer than 10 minutes. He’s the only one who can concentrate on the story without becoming disruptive after a while.”
It seems that children who spend a lot of time watching programmes which are continually interrupted after 10 minutes or so with adverts, never develop the ability to concentrate for longer than that. And I’m not convinced that only children’s thought processes are affected by television.
Television is the ultimate consumer item, to my way of thinking. Apart from buying one and then switching it on, no more effort is required but to passively receive or “consume” whatever it spews out from day to day. Television doesn’t invite one to engage the mind in any way other than at the shallowest and most passive level and therefore is not a medium which encourages any kind of deep thought processes at all. It encourages a mindset that doesn’t take personal responsibility for the acquisition of knowledge, and I believe this affects adults as well as children.
Even within the church, one can see the trickle-down effect of television on the thought processes of Christians. Many are not able to endure long sermons that require mental engagement with the topic, and hence many pastors are now preparing and delivering what one friend calls “sermonettes for Christianettes.” Their lack of thinking skills means that rather than receiving first-hand revelation from God by diligent study of the Bible, many Christians today prefer to passively receive second-hand revelation from the lips or pens of well-known pastors, ministry leaders or authors.
While I have nothing per se against the use of Christian literature, magazines, Christian TV programmes, DVD’s and CD’s as a means of spiritual growth, I believe they should not be our primary method of discovery and knowledge in the spiritual realm. The Bible simply cannot be replaced or equalled as the primary source of Biblical wisdom and the means to building a deeper relationship with the Living God. It’s time to exercise our brains a little more and to quiet the Monster in the living room with the flick of a switch!
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