Unplug Yourself

By Bindu Adai-Mathew

Many, many moons ago, I was addicted to television. Cartoons in the afternoon. Followed by Wonder Woman, Kung Fu, and Benson. The evening news was typically my final flag to turn off the television set and finally start my homework.

In the summers, my addiction to television grew even worse. I was forbidden to go outside, and due to the sweltering heat and no swimming pool in sight or friends to hang out with, I was often content to stay indoors. Unfortunately, that often entailed more television. I’d start off my mornings eating my cereal while watching the game shows: $25,000 Pyramid, Family Feud, the Price is Right. And then followed my soap operas:   Young and the Restless, All My Children, Days of Our Lives, and General Hospital. Finally in the afternoon, somewhere between the cartoons and Wonder Woman, I became nauseated on my television overload and would finally pick up a book to read. By evening, under my parents’ watchful eyes, I was finally able to get out of our house and enjoy some fresh air outside. Only to follow that up with some good ole primetime tv! (Yuck! Now I think I’m gonna throw up!)

Television. In the 80s and early 90s, that usually meant, ABC, NBC, CBS, and the Fox network.

Ahhh, the good old days. When life was truly simple.

Now we not only have television, we have Cable television. We have Premium channels. Movie channels.

Thank God that I am no longer an addict! But then yesterday, I read JMathis’s blog:

Time-killer. Brain-killer. Relationship-killer. Dream-killer. This is what I know about television.

Yet, I ingest this poison nightly.

I have all these dreams that I want to fulfill in my life—dreams which require much prayer, thought, planning, diligence and hard work. Yet, after a long day of work and going through the nightly motions of making dinner and putting my daughter to bed, I am too “exhausted” to even dream my dreams. Slowly, these dreams fade to black as the drone of the TV replaces them one-by-one and piece-by-piece, until they are no more and bear no more significance to my life.

Ouch!  As I read JMathis’s blog yesterday, I realized while I no longer had the luxury of watching television hours on end like I did as a child, I probably still watched it more than I should even now. As I read her blog, I began to feel convicted. I knew I was still guilty of watching television when I should be working on my book…or writing my blog…or spending quiet time with God.  But I wasn’t that bad…was I?

After all, I only watched it an hour or two in the evening when I was unwinding…or on the weekend when I was bored. Or when I was tired. Or when I felt stressed. Or even when there was nothing good to watch. Oh, no, I am still an addict!

But now it’s not just television. How many times have any of you logged onto Facebook—just for a minute or two, you promise yourself—just to check your status, and somehow magically two or three hours have flown by without you realizing it?! And if that isn’t enough, we also have email, Google-ing, Yahoo-ing, shopping, browsing, surfing, twittering, texting, etc. And we can choose to do it on our iPad, our Blackberry, our iPhone, or other mobile gadget. The amount of other things vying for our attention can feel overwhelming.

Time-killers. Brain-killers. Relationship-killers. Dream-killers.

All of them. Is it any surprise that all the things that are supposed to make our lives easier are actually only making them more complicated and busier?

What to do? We can’t just unplug our devices now can we…….or can’t we?

I haven’t read it yet, but I recently heard about a book written by a woman who did just that, albeit, she did have to bribe her three teenagers to get them to participate in the experiment. But in the her book, The Winter of Our Disconnect: How Three Totally Wired Teenagers (and a Mother Who Slept with Her iPhone) Pulled the Plug on Their Technology and Lived to Tell the Tale, the author recounts that while it was initially challenging to pull the plug to all of their technologies, in the end, they reconnected as a family and re-discovered many of the simpler pleasures of life like reading, playing musical instruments, and spending time together as a family.

While most of us would be hard-pressed to give up watching television or surfing or texting for several months or weeks, maybe we, too, can resolve to unplug ourselves for one day a week. Or for one evening.

Maybe after I finish my blog, I’ll quickly surf the Internet for the best deal on the book I just mentioned, and then I’ll turn off my computer, my Blackberry, and the TV and actually read a book the old fashioned way…oh, but wait…that means I’ll have to update my status on Facebook first…you know, just so my friends won’t be wondering where I am…

One step at a time, right?!  LOL!

Another Sex Scandal-Part II

By JMathis

There was a time in medical schools everywhere, that instructors would scare future medical students by telling them the following: “Look to the student to your left. Look to the student to your right. Of the three of you, one of you will drop out before the year is over.”

I am told that in seminaries and Bible colleges nowadays, they employ a similar scare tactic, except it sounds something more like this: “Look to the student to your left. Look to the student to your right. Of the three of you, one of you will be affected by a sex scandal that will destroy your ministry.”

When my seminary student friend told me this, I was rocked to the core and suddenly felt like my eyes had been opened.

Sex scandals are not just a case of guys (and girls) behaving badly. They are a systematic tool by Satan to rip the foundations of families, churches and even political institutions.

Think about it. No one goes into seminary with the intention to cheat on his spouse and to bring his life-saving ministry to a screeching halt. No one goes into a marriage thinking that she will betray the one person who has sworn to remain committed through sickness and health, for richer or for poorer. No young victim of child molestation goes into life thinking that he will one day be a child rapist. 

But it happens. Everyday. Day after day. Satan uses sex—something so beautiful, sacred and divine—to kill, steal and destroy. Kill marriages, steal the minds of functioning members of society, and to destroy ministries that have the capability of bringing billions to Christ.

Women: pray for your future and current husbands. They are on the spiritual frontlines of your family, and Satan will do everything in his power to ensure that your family is destined for hell. He starts with the enticement of an innocent Facebook or Twitter flirtation, and in no matter of time, his plan is accomplished: a dissipation of trust, crushed dreams, fractured relationships, and more importantly—a family that has turned their backs on God due to pain, despair, humiliation and a host of unanswered “Why me’s? 

Churches: pray for your pastors and spiritual mentors. They are on the spiritual frontlines of cities, counties, states and now, with the far-reaching power of the Internet, even global web audiences. Satan will do everything in his power to ensure that the tens, hundreds, thousands and millions touched by these ministries are destined for hell. How many Catholic men are disillusioned and angered by God and the church due to a priest who succumbed to Satan’s plan? How many churches shut their doors because of a pastor’s infidelity? How many international healing and deliverance ministries are disbanded due to allegations of sexual abuse?

It is very easy for us to laugh and roll our eyes in disbelief at the Tigers, Schwarzeneggers and Weiners of this world. It’s even easier for us to judge and wag our collective, holier-than-thou fingers at the Bishop Longs, Jim Bakkers, Ted Haggards and Catholic priests of the Christian world.

However, when was the last time you really prayed for these fallen men? Prayed for the healing and restoration of their marriages, their children, and their ministries? When have we really wept in spiritual sorrow over the countless numbers of lives Satan has ruined by these sex scandals?

Ladies, this is not just a case of men behaving badly. Our men are systematically being targeted by Satan in his broader plan to overthrow the Kingdom of God.

And, by no means am I writing these words to defend or excuse the actions of perpetrators, predators, pedophiles, pimps and perverts.

Instead, I am writing these words to plead for a call to prayer and fasting to eradicate one of Satan’s most effective weapons against Christians: the sex scandal. Whether it takes the form of suburban infidelity, or the fall of a mega-church pastor, the result is the same: shattered lives and a multitude of hearts turned away from God the Father.

Pray for your men.

Fast for your men.

Get on your hands and knees for your men.

Look to the person to your left. Look to the person to your right. “Satan has asked to sift each of you like wheat.” Luke 22:31