Thoughts from a Narrow-Minded Christian

IMG_2367I’ve come to a point in my life where I have been so bombarded with so many people’s opinions that I hesitate to share my own unless I’m asked. But this is one of those times I will share my unsolicited opinion and it comes as a result of a perception that has prevailed, if not in our society, then certainly in our media.

If you are a member of the gay/lesbian community and consider me a friend, I hope you will read this to the end. According to many posts, videos, and blogs I have seen lately, my Christian faith makes me an adversary to your rights. However, I don’t feel that is a fair assessment of Christians as a whole.

Are there those who profess Christ as their savior who have been rude, narrow-minded, and downright mean? Yes. Are there those who have used their faith to justify their bigotry? Absolutely. The history of the Christian church is full of instances where people have used their influence to squelch the rights and even end the lives of those they deemed unworthy and unfit. So in the spirit of author Donald Miller’s confession booth (Blue Like Jazz), I confess, the church has sinned.

But a closer look at the author of our faith, paints a very different picture. Jesus accepted and befriended all kinds of people. Jesus ate with the leaders in the community like Nicodemus and with the least among society like tax collectors and prostitutes. His message was love. He said, “I have not come to condemn the world, but to save the world…”John 3:17. In fact his sternest words were for the church leaders who used their influence to oppress others.

So on this Easter weekend, as Christians express their gratitude for a God who would sacrifice so much for us, can we all take our eyes off of his imperfect followers and consider the man Jesus himself and his perfect, revolutionary, passionate love for all.

The Forgiveness Factor

I was confronted recently with the fact that I have a problem with forgiveness. This realization surprised me. I thought I was a forgiving person. I don’t hold grudges. I don’t let people get under my skin easily. I’m pretty easy-going.

But I was reading a book by Joyce Meyer when the issue of a recent hurt came to mind. In the book, Joyce talked about God’s expectation for us in forgiving others. Not only are we supposed to completely forgive, but we are to love our enemies and pray for those who do us wrong. (Luke 6:27-28)

I realized that the reason I didn’t see my unforgiveness was because for me it wasn’t the original betrayal that I held on to, but it was the fact that the person didn’t act the way I thought he should act in the aftermath of the incident. He wasn’t acting sufficiently humbled and repentant. So, I justified the anger I felt.

As I read the book, I admitted that I did not want to forgive the person. I wanted him to get a clue and go away. But I’ve walked with God long enough to know that my anger, resentment and anxiety affected me, not my offender. To use another Joyce Meyer piece of wisdom, “Unforgiveness is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.” If I held on to the hurt, it would affect my well-being and my relationship with God.

More importantly there exists the reality that God has forgiven me of every hurt I’ve inflicted on others, every lie I’ve told, every wrong move. Therefore, I have to forgive the ones who hurt me.

So I prayed and asked God to help me, believing that He was the only one who could. I didn’t know how to let go or how I should act around this person. But where our abilities to change ourselves end, God’s power and wisdom work in abundance to change our hearts. Step by step, God began to loosen the chains. The anger I felt is gone and the anxiety is dissipating. God is showing me how to forgive.

 

Almost There

TiVo is a wonderful thing when you are ditching cable. I bought a box this week, hooked my antenna up to it and BAM! I’m up and running. I’ve recorded a few shows and it’s working great. I still have a small issue with reception, but I think I can live with it. Every time the picture gets pixilated I remind myself of the money I’m saving.

I haven’t totally shut off the uVerse yet. I want to live with the antenna for a few days before I box up the DVR and send it back to AT&T. But once I do, I’m down to uVerse for my internet alone. If I account for the basic service, HD and DVR. I’m saving about $30 a month. TiVo is a subscription which is the same as the DVR on uVerse. I still have Netflix and the option of getting Hulu or Roku. I’m still pondering that because I think what I have is all I really need. I’m missing some programming but I can live without them.

I’m flabbergasted at how many options there are out there. It’s time-consuming to save money. But I think I’ve found the best deal for me.

Not So Fast

I can’t deal with the rabbit ears!!! Too much time is wasted on fiddling around with those things to make the channels come in clearly. I’m gonna have to go back to Best Buy and find another option. Maybe there’s a way to boost the signal.

Then, in order to have a DVR, I need a Tivo, which Best Buy was out of last week. It still requires a subscription fee. So, for right now, I’m back to the basic uVerse.

I don’t have time for all of this! It’s all part of their plan. AT&T gets me with the convenience! Grrrrrh!

One More Step

I bought an HD antenna this week. I went to Best Buy and told the sales guy that I was cutting out uVerse. He said, “You’re the third person who has told me that today.”

With my antenna I now have access to local stations without uVerse, but, of course I have to watch them live because I don’t currently have a DVR service. I’ve tried watching some of my favorite shows through the app on my iPhone. I have an adapter that will let me run it through the TV. However, the apps will not let me view a show if I don’t subscribe to the channel through a TV provider. Why would I watch through an app if I already subscribe? Even with Hulu I can’t watch shows from subscription-based channels like Syfy. Looks like uVerse has the all wrapped up. I’ll just have to wait until the season is over and shows up on Netflix.

Anyway, the last piece of this puzzle is a DVR. I’m just not usually home when my favorite shows come on. I’m not invested in very many. I have three or four that I watch regularly, most of which are on basic channels like ABC. So I want a DVR. That means Tivo and another subscription. This is ridiculous. But at least it is still cheaper than uVerse.

 

It’s a Racket

Remember when TV was free?

Those days are quickly coming to a close. I downgraded my uVerse to the very basic. No DVR. No HD. I’m tired of the cost of 200 channels when I only watch about 1/10 of that. I’m committing to downgrading for a year, saving some money and try to take back some of the time I’m losing to channel surfing. I know I can watch the shows I normally record over the internet or on my iPhone with the TV Apps. I decided I would try this for a little while before going all the way and dumping the whole service for a digital antenna.

I tried to watch a show this week (this was Castle on ABC, not a cable channel) and I got a pop-up window telling me to choose my TV service and log in. What????? I can’t stream a show with the internet service I am already buying? I have to subscribe to a cable service too? What a racket!!!! The television agencies and the cable companies have this all wrapped up. If I want to watch a show on a network, somehow they are going to figure out how to charge me for it.

I guess in reality I am paying for the convenience of watching a show any time I want. If I want to use uVerse’s DVR it’ll cost me $15 a month.

But I’ve gotten used to the convenience. Maybe I can get used to having a few extra bucks in my pocket each month and a little extra time on my hands.

Cutting the Cable

I’m cutting my uVerse in half.

I spent this past weekend without electricity. The storm Thursday afternoon knocked out lots homes in Arlington. So I had to entertain myself without TV. I like to think of myself as someone who doesn’t watch a lot of TV, but I found myself a bit on edge when I couldn’t watch the next episode of Haven.

Is that sad? I don’t know, but it got me thinking. I spent an unexpected day off out in the beautiful sunshine getting errands done that I wouldn’t have gotten done if I had a TV and a loaded up DVR available at home. Is this TV a big distraction in my life? Maybe more than I want to admit.

Another issue is the cost of uVerse. I’ve griped about the money I spend to get the package of channels that contains the 4 I actually watch. I could buy a new pair of Nikes every month with that money. I could save that money every month and in a year take a nice little trip.

Does this make sense?

There’s the other thing too. If I go deep and am really serious about the kind of person I want to be, the hours I spend in front of the TV do not get me closer to that person. It’s a time waster for me. I have books on my shelf that I want to read and I never get around to them. I want to do some more writing and I never do.

Now, I know that when you take something out of your life, you need to purposefully put something in it’s place. Otherwise I’m just going to find another thing to distract me. So my goal over the next few weeks is to replace the time with good stuff for me.

So I’m going down to basics. I’ve cut my uVerse account down, no DVR, no HD.

Who knows, eventually I may cut it all together.