TV’s blare can come between you and your friends, family — Faith and You (aka what is your soft addiction?)

They won’t shut off the television.

That’s happened to me several times in the last year when visiting friends.

They don’t just have the television on. The television is loud. The television is blaring. The television is screaming for attention.

We are supposed to be talking, at least that’s why they invited me over. It was not to watch the game or to catch a new movie or video.

It was to sit in the same room, maybe have some drinks and snacks, and connect with each other.

But the television won’t let us.

Then someone says, “Can you turn that down a little?”

The ruler of the remote says, “Oh . . . right.” And drops the volume a notch.

The walls have stopped shaking, but the television still controls the room. The soft-spoken people give up on talking when others can’t hear them. Other people yell to be heard, and that makes their comments sound harsher than intended. O’Neal.

Pope John Paul II mentioned in a 2004 speech that media — especially television — give a “distorted view of life.” Most of us know that.

It’s easy to whine about how a 2006 Nielsen report says the average home has the television on eight hours and 14 minutes a day. Or how so much of television is trash. Or how TV and video games keep kids inside when they should be playing outside, and that’s one reason young people have weight problems.

You can find lots of stuff on this topic at http://www.turnoffyourtv.com/.

But I wonder: Why can’t we sit and talk to each other without the television on?

I visited a friend in a small house with five rooms . . . counting the bathroom. The house had three TV sets, and all were on. Each was on a different channel.

If you are keeping score at home, two people were in the five-room house with three televisions on three channels — and we were trying to talk over that mess.

She did turn off the television in the room where we sat — after I asked if she could turn it down. I almost burst into a “Hallelujah” chorus, but I was afraid my screech of a voice would cause her to turn the set back on.

There is much research about people living alone who have the television on for company. They are uneasy with the silence.

Bishop Joey Johnson of Akron’s House of the Lord mentioned how some of us fear silence because it makes us face the pain and emptiness we feel inside. Some drink, some eat, some use drugs, some lose themselves in television and books.

In her book “There Must Be More Than This,” on “soft addictions” such as excessive shopping and TV-watching, Judith Wright said people who watch so much television “hunger to be connected” to others.

But when others show up, some people still won’t turn off the television. The TV set becomes a disconnect.

Psalm 46:10 reads: “Be still and know I am God.”

There are times, however, when we can’t even be still enough to get to know the person in the same room, much less the invisible God of the universe. Sometimes a good way to connect with God is to talk to friends and people we love, to focus all of our attention on them.

And, yes, even make eye contact.

To do that, something has to be turned off, and it be may staring and bellowing at you right now from across the room.

To reach Terry Pluto:

terrypluto2003@yahoo.com, 216-999-4674

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1 Comment »

  1. Jim I’m addicted to TV, I hooked and need to unplug/ cut down on the time in front of the black box and staart talking more to my wife


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