[I] want this to be funny but it really isn’t.  Television!  For most television is a warranted break between useful pursuits.  For some, television is the center of planned family time.  I know of couples who enjoy their favorite show and who use the time to be together and connect.  I understand television can be used as a tool to educate, entertain and join people together.

I also understand that for me, television is my drug of choice.  Television has become for me the place where I check out.  It is for me, as stated above a planned activity.  The activity planned in my case is escape.  

I listened intently to a sermon this last weekend in which the story of Jonah was told.  I love the book of Jonah.  I love the humanness of Jonah illustrated when he is told by God to go to Nineveh, he does just the opposite and heads off in another direction.  We all have heard some version of what happens to Jonah and how he ends up for three days in the belly of a big fish.  How he is spit out on dry land and then does God’s assigned work, albeit in a rather reluctant way as he is not fond of the folks in Nineveh.   Jonah is so me as it is not enough to get thrown overboard, sink slowly to the bottom of the sea, only to be swooped up by a fish and be “vomited” onto dry land.  Yes he goes directly to Nineveh this time and cries out the now heeded message of repentance.  He does as directed this time but he does it with a bitter heart towards the people of Nineveh, whom he has little use for.   God then uses the state of Jonah’s heart to teach him a compelling lesson regarding compassion.

The point of all this and of the sermon last Saturday evening was that we all have our own private Nineveh.   Our own personal Nineveh, be it a place or activity or tool that we employ to run away from God’s direction.   This is the place where we can check out and numb ourselves to the real work at hand.  This young preacher went on to say directly to me that we run in three ways;  first by being distracted, secondly by ignoring what it is we should be doing and third we choose chaos over the simple facing of the problem, event or call to action. 

Television is my Nineveh and I aim to do something about it.  I am not so silly minded as to say I will “just say no”.  I know firsthand that espousing such thoughts would only throw me deep into the pit of depravation and that is sure fire path back to reruns of Law and Order.  I am though committed to being more aware of the time spent and the time lost.  Today I can say that I will not turn the television on and I will spend at least part of that rediscovered time asking God what it is that He would have me do.        

I would also ask the question…..What is your Nineveh?