Obsessed Fanboy writes…

I know you are an extraordinarily busy man and I will not be offended in the least if you choose not to respond to this email. That said, I’ve run into a situation in my personal spiritual life that I’m hesitant to address on my own. If you deign to, would you mind answering some questions for me?

I won’t actually go into the situation at hand unless you ask. It would be kinda lengthy. Suffice to say that I got really into a certain TV Show (think “hopeless fanboy”) and it’s got me wondering what constitutes being *too* into worldly things and what the appropriate way to enjoy worldly things is, if there is an appropriate way. Is being an obsessed fanboy a bad thing? Should I try to dial things back a bit, or even step away from the show for good?

I don’t think there’s a one size fits all approach.  I think you basically have to ask yourself if it’s cutting into interfering with your duties to love God and neighbor in rightly ordered ways.  If not, pray and ask to be shown how Jesus would order his time and try to imitate that, come as what may.  You might talk to a to a spiritual director or confessor and get some outside input.  Beyond that, I’m reluctant to give advice because I’m not a spiritual director or moral theologian, nor do I play one on the internet.  So I’m loath to give free advice, particularly about things I don’t have much personal experience with.

  • Fr. Denis Lemieux

    Obviously I won’t touch the specifics of this man’s situation, since this is not the forum for that. Watching a TV show, though, falls under the general category of ‘hobby’. The moral issues around hobbies revolve around whether or not they conflict with the duties of one’s state of life, and whether or not they fulfill their proper function, which is to restore, renew, and recreate the person in a positive way. A hobby that consumes all one’s waking thoughts or cuts into time one should spend at work or with loved ones, or a hobby that makes one anxious, negative, or generally drains one of vitality or interest in the rest of life, is a hobby that should be dropped.
    Those are the basic principles – it takes the virtue of prudence to apply them to one’s own situation.

    • http://www.likelierthings.com/ Jon W

      I love the church’s well thought-out, common-sense psychology.

    • Fr. Denis Lemieux

      Added: perhaps obviously, if a hobby is also an occasion of sin in some other area (the TV show in question, for example, is morally corrupting) then clearly, it’s gotta go.

  • http://www.2catholicmen.blogspot.com/ Ben @ 2CM

    A new year is good to time to seriously ponder these 4 questions:
    What choices am I making each day?
    Where do I spend my time and money?
    Where do my idle thoughts go?
    Am I moving toward God or toward “self”?

  • Elmwood

    Breaking Bad is addictive, I watched the whole series in like a few weeks. Don’t recommend it to people who are squeamish about violence though.

    • Rebecca Fuentes

      My brother loves that show. He’s disappointed every time we talk because I haven’t started it yet. I’m really more of a Doctor Who girl.

  • http://redcardigan.blogspot.com/ Erin Manning

    If I could offer one tiny bit of advice to Obsessed Fanboy: whenever I’ve gotten rather “addicted” to a TV show, it’s usually because I find myself intrigued by one particular character, either because I really like the way the writers have developed this character or because I’m annoyed with the writers for creating an intriguing character and then just letting him/her languish or lapse into stereotype. I start thinking about what I like about the character, and how I would change him/her if he/she were one of my characters…

    …and before I know it I’ve “stolen” the character to recreate and rewrite as one of my own. Which is something *all* fiction writers do. Even if they say otherwise. :)

    So if you have any creative impulses at all, why not dabble in a bit of fiction? Some people like to write actual “fan fiction” where you keep the characters as they are and set your story in the show itself (as if you were going to sell your idea to the show’s producers). Other people will create their own fiction that is only loosely based on the show or one of its characters, or “inspired” by those things. In any case, it can be a satisfying addition to the hobby of watching the show in the first place, and even if you don’t write anything you’d want anyone else to read just the act of creation can be a deeply satisfying thing to do.


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