My week without TV

What happens when the cable box goes?

I talk about that in this week’s “All Things New”:

Well, for one thing, I actually began to read, deeply. I found myself dawdling over the Liturgy of the Hours, dipping into the Office of Readings. I put the Kindle I got for Christmas to good use, downloading Henri Nouwen and Timothy Keller and re-reading favorite parts of Thomas Merton. I spent some time tidying up my bookshelves and throwing out old magazines and organizing my home office into something that didn’t look like a disaster area in need of the Red Cross.

My wife and I rediscovered the lost art of conversation. We spent more time lingering over dinner, musing about the lousy weather and dreaming about spring. We finished our taxes. We fussed about our bills and how one of us (okay: me) tends to be a little too wild and crazy with the credit cards. A couple of nights, we prayed the rosary.

And after a few days of this, I found that yes, there is a life out there without TV—a surprisingly rich and fulfilling life, at that. A life where things like prayer and holy reading and thoughtful conversation with someone you love can easily supplant sitcoms and tacky talk shows.

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4 responses to “My week without TV”

  1. Giving up TV for lent would be a good idea. I do watch TV but my choice of programs is a little different; Fox News, Hawaii 5-0, the Blue Bloods, Some National Geographic, History Channel and some Spanish TV and some EWTN.

    TV is the shaper of minds now days, substituting books, conversations or anything else. The American mind is molded by the flat screen (no longer the tube).

    Unfortunately, for a Christian and particularly for a Catholic, the TV world-view can be a wilderness. But fortunately many of the shows, even though made for the post-Christian world, have the Christian cultural framework of good and evil, justice, redemption, etc. Not all is bad I guess.

    But definitely, you have given me the idea of turning it off for Lent and that is not going to be easy!

  2. I loved this!!

    There’s been no cable at my house for the last 20 years (!). We were a Nielsen family for a couple of years and they called periodically to see if I’d moved out – since I never watched any TV at all (though my spouse and kids did on occasion).

    The risk of no cable for a long time is that you will run out of bookshelf space (not space on the shelves, but places to PUT shelves)….

  3. @Michelle, Greg knows this already, but I am a former Nielsen employee. Yes, you would have been called from time to time to make sure your meter was what we called “in-tab.” It is important to Nielsen that even those who do not watch much TV are in the sample too… keeps it representative!

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