Confessions of a Serial Channel Flipper

Bishop Thomas J. Tobin

I don’t watch a whole lot of television. In the morning I’ll check out the news and weather while I’m having breakfast. And in the evening, after I’ve settled in, I’ll watch a couple hours of sports, politics, weather, and sitcom reruns, before taking the dog outside and going to bed. That’s about it.
But, my confession is this: I’m a serial channel flipper. With remote in hand, I flip channels constantly, just about every time a commercial comes on or the program momentarily loses my interest. Almost unconsciously, in a few micro-seconds, I change from local news to national news; from a football game, to a sitcom, to the weather. And I’m a non-partisan flipper, surfing from FOX NEWS to MSNBC without really paying attention to either.
Thank goodness for the remote. Remember when there were just four channels, and every time you wanted to change the channel you had to get up from the chair, walk to the set and turn the dial? How our habits have changed! I recently heard about a young woman who panicked because she temporarily lost the remote and didn’t know she could turn the TV on without it.
The remote is great if you’re in charge of it. But if you’re watching TV with someone else who controls the remote, it can be really irritating. Just when you get interested in a program – bloop! – without warning, the channel changes. It happens again and again, leading to frustration, anxiety and domestic warfare.
Fortunately, there’s an alternative to the drama caused by the multiplication of TV options and the insecurity the remote control inflicts, and it’s the clarity and stability of the Christian message. How comforting and reassuring it is that the fundamental message of Christianity can be summarized in just a few unambiguous, clear words.
Listen to Jesus: “The Kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe in the Gospel.” (Mk 1:15) Or this: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.” (Jn 3:16) Or this: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (Jn 14:6)
The message of Jesus comes through loud and clear. We never have to change the Jesus channel.
Something to think about: Are you addicted to TV? Are you a channel flipper?


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