Friday, March 14, 2008

Instead of subscribing in iTunes, we've been watching Lost this season for free at Free is good, but you've got to click after every commercial . . . a bit of a hassle.

But then, this week, I stumbled on to, an emerging video alternative to iTunes featuring NBC content and a limited set of complete movies, all for free, but with embedded commercials. Its super easy to use. If they can get the other networks on board, this will be happening!

Here's a few things I've noticed so far . . .

  • Limited episodes of The Office, the Simpsons, Arrested Development and more

  • Selected Saturday Night Live shorts

  • Complete movies in including Veggie Tale's The Jonah Movie, The Usual Suspects, Ice Age, Master & Commander and more

Again, the content is limited at this point, but I expect they'll be adding more. But even now, there is plenty to play with.

Its clear that content is getting ubiquitous. . . .it feels like a whole new era to me. Having never had a TV pipeline into our home for intentional reasons, its a trip to me that its now more and more available on demand on line anytime. I have mixed feelings about it. One more opportunity for wasted time and mindless distraction.

Check out and tell me what you think . . .


GoWoCo said...

A good challenge I think is with our society changing to this, whether it be bad or good is what insights does it serves for Christians?

I also think with more and more people going on the internet, how do we outreach to people? Would it valuable to have a pastor on Facebook and network people and then answer sincere questions.

I always believe where there is a huge mass going on direction there is another. If mass amount of people are being distracted then there will be a reaction in the opposite direction - yoga, meditation (quiet) things.

Anonymous said...

Just last night Deanna and I were reading John Piper’s book, "Don't Waist Your Life.” Below is a portion that we read and talked about. It’s so true… Good post Pastor Tim!

-Allen Peek
Television, the Great Life-Waster

Television is one of the greatest life-wasters of the modern age. And, of course, the Internet is running to catch up, and may have caught up. You can be more selective on the Internet, but you can also select worse things with only the Judge of the universe watching. TV still reigns as the great life-waster. The main problem with TV is not how much smut is available, though that is a problem. Just the ads are enough to sow fertile seeds of greed and lust, no matter what program you’re watching. The greater problem is banality. A mind fed daily on TV diminishes. Your mind was made to know and love God. Its facility for this great calling is ruined by excessive TV. The content is so trivial and so shallow that the capacity of the mind to think worthy thoughts withers, and the capacity of the heart to feel deep emotions shrivels. Neil Postman shows why.

What is happening in America is that television is transforming all serious public business into junk. . . . Television disdains exposition, which is serious, sequential, rational, and complex. It offers instead a mode of discourse in which everything is accessible, simplistic, concrete, and above all, entertaining. As a result, America is the world’s first culture in jeopardy of amusing itself to death.7

The Weightlessness of God

Since we all live in a world created by television, it is almost impossible to see what has happened to us. The only hope is to read what people were like in previous centuries. Biographies are a great antidote to cultural myopia and chronological snobbery. We have become almost incapable of handling any great truth reverently and deeply. Magnificent things, especially the glory of God, as David Wells says, rest with a kind of “weightlessness” even on the church.

It is one of the defining marks of Our Time that God is now weightless. I do not mean by this that he is ethereal but rather that he has become unimportant. He rests upon the world so inconsequentially as not to be noticeable. He has lost his saliency for human life. Those who assure the pollsters of their belief in God’s existence may nonetheless consider him less interesting than television, his commands less authoritative than their appetites for affluence and influence, his judgment no more awe-inspiring than the evening news, and his truth less compelling than the advertisers’ sweet fog of flattery and lies. That is weightlessness. It is a condition we have assigned him after having nudged him out to the periphery of our secularized life. . . . Weightlessness tells us nothing about God but everything about ourselves, about our condition, about our psychological disposition to exclude God from our reality.

Sorting out Sudan and Panty Hose

We have lost our ability to see and savor the complexities of truth and the depths of simplicity. Douglas Groothuis explains the connection between this weakness and television.

The triumph of the televised image over the word contributes to the depthlessness of postmodern sensibilities. . . . One cannot muse over a television program the way one ponders a character in William Shakespeare or C. S. Lewis, or a Blaise Pascal parable, or a line from a T. S. Eliot poem, such as ‘But our lot crawls between dry ribs / to keep its metaphysics warm.’ No one on television could utter such a line seriously. It would be “bad television”—too abstract, too poetic, too deep, just not entertaining. . . . [Not only that] but the images appear and disappear and reappear without a proper rational context. An attempt at a sobering news story about slavery in the Sudan is followed by a lively advertisement for Disneyland, followed by an appeal to purchase panty hose that will make any woman irresistible, etc., ad nauseum.

Therefore the man who stands before God with his well-kept avoidance ethic and his protest that he did not spend too much time at the office but came home and watched TV with his family will probably not escape the indictment that he wasted his life. Jesus rebuked his disciples with words that easily apply to this man: “Even sinners work hard, avoid gross sin, watch TV at night, and do fun stuff on the weekend. What more are you doing than the others?” (see Luke 6:32-34; Matthew 5:47).