KEYWORDS: tv, world, time, people, television, lord

Shooting Straight, Part 10--Letter Links: TV Entertainment and Sports

November 27, 2004

(ML #3514, GN 1102 )

FD/MM/FM November 2004

Train Up A Child

ML #1142:55-58, DB 8

55. (Dad:) VIDEOS, TELEVISION‚ MOVIES, ETC., ARE ANOTHER MODERN MEDIUM OF EDUCATION, information ' inspiration which the children love! Years ago in my little family, the kids ' I would often sit ' watch television, watch a movie after supper.

56. I SAT THERE ' WATCHED IT WITH THEM ' MADE SURE THEY DIDN'T LOOK AT ANYTHING THAT WASN'T WORTHWHILE‚ like today's "Sesame Street" or Muppets, which absolutely insult our intelligence! It's just typical of today's insanity, absolute idiocy! Yet they say it is one of the most popular series in all of America—of which the most popular character is the Piggie! Imagine! Think what they're feeding their children in the States ’ all over the World where they promote those shows.—Nothing FEEDING, nothing SPIRITUAL, nothing with any MEANING, just all MEANINGLESS!

57. SO I SAT WITH THEM ' MONITORED THE TV, ' if I didn't like it I explained WHY I didn't like it or WHY it wasn't good or WHY that was bad, or if there was something difficult they didn't understand I would EXPLAIN it to them, or I could bring in good applications of the story or use it as an illustration, explain it to them ’ interpret it for them, etc.—Just as we do today with our VIDEOS, I think the same thing is true. I DON'T think the kids should just be allowed free rein to watch any movies they want without SUPERVISION ' without your choice ' selection.

58. I ESPECIALLY DON'T THINK SMALL CHILDREN SHOULD WATCH ANY KIND OF UNPLEASANT MOVIES. In fact, I don't think blood ’ guts ' violence in movies is even good for ADULTS, much less for CHILDREN!—I didn't believe in watching trash ' stuff that I thought wasn't good for them. So I closely‚ very closely supervised their TV watching, ' for God's sake ' your children's sake, please do the same!

Choose the Good ' Eschew the Evil

ML #2454:6-7, DB 9

6. (Dad: ) Children ' teens should ALWAYS be supervised when watching movies, videos etc. Because it doesn't matter what it is, it can still have something bad on it or something they don't need to hear or see or memorise. It's surprising some of the junk you hit right in the middle of a good show sometimes that you don't want kids to see!

7. FRANKLY, I DON'T THINK IT'S REALLY GOOD FOR CHILDREN, AS A RULE, TO WATCH RAW TELEVISION! No matter what the PROGRAM is‚ you never know what's going to be on the COMMERCIALS! Even if you know it's a good show ' it's going to be something good for the children, if it has commercials, it could be very bad with horrors ’ violence ' killing, ’ at the least, silly little ditties that'll run through their heads all day! That's one reason I'm recommending to the Family that they make a serious effort to watch RECORDED programs only‚ VIDEOS that they think are good for the children, or at least not too bad‚ so that they can AVOID all that JUNK!

Loving Shepherding and Interaction—Charter Style

ML #3018:47-50, Lifelines 22

47. (Mama:) When I heard [about] the JETTs and junior teens of one Home, a question came to me: How is it that your kids have so much time on their hands that they can watch a lot of TV? It's one thing to watch scheduled movies and documentaries and various programs that have been planned to watch that are educational or good entertainment. But when we have so much to do for the Lord, how do your kids manage to have so much free time to just lounge around or watch TV or play computer games for hours?

48. Also, what kind of sample are you adults, YAs and senior teens being to the JETTs and junior teens? Are you too wasting hour upon hour plopped in front of the TV watching trashy programs? Or are you engaging in other unedifying time wasters? Please also watch out about very worldly‚ violent, cool type movies (videos), which have an adverse effect on youth and adults alike! Our younger people need to see good samples in their parents and the other Home members. They need to see you excited about serving the Lord, busy for Him and redeeming the time.

49. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not against people having some free time to relax and do the things they like to do. Nor am I against all television, System books or computer games, and the folks in my Home eat "junk food" occasionally. There are many edifying movies, and TV can be a source of inspiration and education‚ if handled well. As you know, Dad watched movies and documentaries with David and Techi, and they enjoyed them very much.

50. Even watching sports on TV once in a while is not completely prohibited. Dad himself would occasionally watch sports with the kids, which he made into an enjoyable, as well as edifying, experience. He was always faithful to not only help the kids to have fun, but to show them that these things weren't really important and that they didn't need to feel deprived if these things weren't a major part of their life. He was also faithful in the course of events over time to make sure they knew the dangers of professional sports and the pitfalls and how people make it such a god, etc. So while they could enjoy watching a game once in awhile, just as they go outside and have their get-out and enjoy their games and sports, they knew what was behind it and they were able to choose the good and eschew the evil.

Help From Heaven

ML #3056:109, 112–121, 126, 129-148, 163–164, 172, Lifelines 23

109. (Mama:) I want to share with you a letter I received from a 14-year-old. She asks a very good question about watching sports on television—basketball‚ to be more specific.

112. "A question I had was about sports, because basketball seems to be a major thing here. Now, maybe someone might think, 'Well, you're a girl, so of course you're not into basketball as much as the boys.' Of course, it's natural that the boys are more into sports usually. But actually, I really enjoy playing basketball at the park every day during get-out‚ and I tend to get into the game quite a bit too.

113. "But the question is, how far can we go when it comes to watching the basketball games on television? Because we watch it quite a bit here, even the adults. Whenever the news says that there'll be games that night‚ the first thing that comes up when wondering what to do for activity is‚ 'Let's watch a game on TV!'

114. "When I first came here, I just couldn't understand what was so 'heavy' about watching a game on TV, and I was so against it‚ openly voicing my complaints to the point where I was told to shut up. (I realize now my attitude wasn't so good either, and I was coming across a bit strong. I should've kept my mouth shut probably.) (Mama: Well, Honey, it's good you spoke up, but you probably could have presented your views better. The solution is not to just "keep your mouth shut" but to try to share your ideas meekly and humbly, which helps people to be more receptive to what you're saying.) Gradually, I got to know the different teams, memorized most of their names‚ and it wasn't such a bother to watch the games with everyone else. I've learned to just control my tongue and can usually sit through the first two quarters of a game. (Actually, I draw, write letters, or read something at the same time, so I won't get too bored!) Sometimes it's interesting when some guy does a slam-dunk or a major foul, half-court shot, or something like that.

115. "Recently, I've felt quite burdened about this, because it's become such a major issue. (I think it's only fair to explain here that another reason the boys watch it is also because the company that one of the teams is representing has helped us with provisions before.) However, I don't think it's so necessary to watch the games almost every other day, is it? I just don't know the policy, so I'd like to be more clear about it‚ if it's the right standard, or not.

116. "I guess I also don't think it's so good when it becomes one of the major topics for daily conversations. For example, one day, one of our catacombers came over‚ and the teen that was with him just talked non-stop about the basketball games. It kind of embarrassed me that we weren't sharing something more worthwhile than sports with our sheep. Instead of witnessing, this teen was talking about sports and all the major events, and so on.

117. "I'm glad I can write you about this, Mama, as it's been on my heart for some time. It's a bit hard for me to share what I feel with the other kids, I guess because there's a majority of boys and because the adult men are also into watching TV sports. Some of the adult women here have mentioned that it's not good, and I agree, especially when the OCs start getting into it too.

118. "Please tell me‚ Mama, if I'm coming out too strong with my personal opinions. But this has been on my mind quite a bit lately, it's nice to get it off. Much love, your daughter."

119. (Mama:) As I mentioned in a previous GN (ML #3018:50, GN 661), Dad used to watch occasional sports games on television with David and Techi, and they enjoyed themselves very much, so there's nothing wrong with watching a basketball game or other sports show on TV every so often. However, like you brought up, it's not good to take it to extremes and spend too much time doing so‚ when we've got so much important work to do for the Lord.

120. I figured a lot of people may have the same question you did, so I asked the Lord if He could please clarify for us the right balance when it comes to watching sports on television.

121. (Dad:) The Lord said, "Come out from among them and be ye separate" (2Cor.6:17). Hey, whose team are you on, anyway?—The worldly teams, or God's team? You know, there's nothing wrong with sports in itself. It's good for exercise, recreation, getting your mind off your work and taking a break. Even if you watch it on TV every now and then‚ there's no harm done. I even watched it with the kids every once in a while. But like everything‚ it has its time and place, when it's edifying and when it's not edifying, when it's helpful and when it's harmful. But for goodness sakes, don't be talking about sports when you should be witnessing or winning souls or getting in the Word! You're just throwing the ball away and giving it to the Enemy! And if you do that, you're losing the game.

126. And if you like to talk about basketball or sports‚ it doesn't take much to somehow relate it to the Lord, or make a parallel or parable out of it. Talk about sports if you want, just bring the Lord into it. You can bring the Lord into any situation or any topic. There's nothing wrong with that; just don't leave Him out of it. That's a good rule to go by: If you leave the Lord out of it, that's how you know you're out of it! Okay?

Cautions on TV and Movie Watching

129. (Mama: ) I wish I could say that watching sports on television was the only problem we have heard of along those lines. But unfortunately, especially now with the Charter in full swing, it seems that many Homes have gone to the extreme with watching too much TV and movies, or partaking of other System input. One of the CROs reported:

130. "Since there are no specific rules about how many hours can be spent and what can be watched on TV, many people have taken this as a license to just get 'glued to the tube.' The sad thing is that our children are also being inundated with many of the lies of the System through the hours that they spend watching movies or whatever the Home is watching.

131. "I've noticed that some of the habits, mannerisms, attitudes or ways of doing things of many of our young adults obviously come from what they have seen in the movies. Many times also while talking to them about subjects like world events, medical and technological research, etc., I find myself having to defend what the Letters say about certain subjects, as our young people, and many adults too for that matter‚ talk with real authority about these things, contradicting what Dad has said. When investigating where they got their information, it always seems to go back to either the TV news, TV programs, or even newspapers, as many have now gone to the extreme of reading the newspaper from cover to cover.

132. "Now that some connect to the Internet, I feel that unless this is properly shepherded, it could cause some damage in that more people might start doing their own 'investigations‚' and swallow the System explanations and reasoning hook, line and sinker, and thereby come to the wrong conclusions which are contrary to the Word, the Truth! That's why I feel it's so important to keep the proper balance in how to use television, movies, and the Internet, but not to abuse them."

133. (Mama:) Because we've received numerous reports that television viewing and movie watching has gotten out of control, I asked the Lord to speak on this subject, to help us get a better balance. Here are some excerpts of the message He gave:

134. (Jesus speaking:) Behold, what a mighty tree!—This tree that stands tall and spreads out her branches to cover the Earth . Though this tree is used to transmit much good, much inspiration, and even helpful knowledge of My ways and My wonderful world, it also transmits much corruption, deception, deceit and lies. Therefore you must look to Me and discern and seek My answers‚ My wisdom and My guidance. For much propaganda goes out into the world in this final hour, and you must pray and discern and walk in wisdom, choosing the good and rejecting the evil.

135. There is much evil transmitted on the airwaves through this box [TV]. For the prince of the air controls and prospers this industry, and he knows that his time is short. Take a look. Ask yourselves who is behind the industry? Who is behind many of the programs, the films, the movies? What is their purpose and what is their plan? You must weigh them in the balances, through prayer and supplication, seeking Me, looking to Me, that you might discern what is good and what is evil. For just as all that glitters is not gold, so all that seems right and fine and proper and correct is not the truth and is not what it seems.

136. Satan's lies often come in nice packages—not only soothing to the ears‚ that you might hear and believe, but appealing to the sight, that you might see and want, as he tugs and pulls, playing on the lust of the flesh and the pride of life. He uses the blend of images and sounds‚ pleasing to the eye, melodic to the ear‚ and sends them out to go round and round the world—to the big cities, to the rural areas, to the four corners of the Earth, deceiving, setting traps, washing the brains and the minds, corrupting the hearts of men who are ignorant of his devices.

137. Yes‚ it's true that I am also able to use such means as television to spread My message, to propagate, to evangelize, to win souls to My Kingdom. But you must remember that Satan is now in his heyday, walking about deceiving those who do not discern. This is the modern-day Tree of Knowledge, and knowledge wears two faces—that which is good, which is from My hand, and that which is evil‚ from the hand of Satan. It is both, and you must choose, receiving the good and rejecting the evil.

138. It is a serious and sober matter to indulge, to immerse yourself, to take in television and movies. It is not for babes and those weak in faith to discern by themselves without the loving hand and guidance of their shepherds.

139. Oh, but you say, "Surely television is but an innocent tool, for everyone owns a TV!" Clever, clever subtleties! Everyone watches television! Yes, and are not the masses deceived? Are not the masses able to be controlled? Do not the vast robotic masses easily accept without question the latest‚ the newest, the "in" thing, the conveniences of modern technology? Are not the masses being set up and prepared to receive the Mark of the Beast? Have I not said that if it were possible, even My very elect would be deceived? But to you, My children‚ it is given to discern the signs of the times.

140. Satan is running loose! He rants and he raves and he seeks to destroy those who would be the greatest threat to his kingdom. I pray for you that you can stand strong and resist the temptations that he sets before you. For these reasons I long to love you and woo you and hold you close in My arms, that you might be full and satisfied and find strength that you know not of for these Last Days. Beware of the decoys! Beware of the red herrings! Beware of the masses of information and the images, the sights and the sounds that are designed to woo you away from My highest and My best.

141. Are you seeking knowledge? Seek the wisdom that is from Above. For this reason I am pouring it on! The floodgates are open and I pour and pour and pour out again and again and again the Words of wisdom and the Words of Truth, that you might find strength and power as you discern the signs of the times. You have but to ask‚ receive and believe! Listen! Watch and pray that you enter not into temptation! Do you long for pretty sights and sounds? Tune in to My visions, and ecstasies poured out without measure to those who would seek!

142. Take heed that you do not sacrifice your children, your young people, to the gods of Moloch—the god of education! Is not this box an educating device? Do you not learn many things by this modern-day god of Moloch—some good and some bad? You must walk in wisdom, pray, and proceed with great caution and great prayerfulness when using this device, and do not give your children free rein without discretion. Do not turn them loose to be burned by this god, but rather protect them, lead them and guide them in all truth‚ helping them to discern the right from wrong.

143. Use this tool for the little good it is able to transmit, but pray and seek Me daily‚ hourly, throughout the day, to know what is worth watching and what is worth rejecting, remembering that you are as sheep in the midst of wolves. Forget not that this is the day of wolves‚ and the wolf is set at liberty, seeking to devour all in his path.

144. Think not that this caution applies only to babes, to the younger generation who have little experience‚ who need help and guidance in knowing how to discern. For I caution you all, young and old, to walk in wisdom, pray without ceasing, and strike a balance in these matters. As you watch, answer not a matter before you hear it—in this case, before you hear from Me.

145. In your times of viewing you must stay in constant prayer and communion with Me‚ seeking Me, asking for My protection, for My guidance to know what is really the truth and what way it really is. Be not quick with your mouth to say, "Yes, yes, this is the truth!" Be not quick with your comments, but seek Me for confirmation. Weigh up all matters against the measurement‚ the standard of My Word, and discern. For only in My Word—My old Word and My new Word—lies the real truth. If it is not according to My Word, set it aside and do not wallow in it.

146. Use this tool of the TV, of videos‚ of documentaries to avail yourself of the good they contain. For I do use these tools to get out My message. I do use these tools as a means of information, that you may stay informed and updated and aware of how the Enemy is marshaling his forces, that you may see how he is moving and working. I also use these as a means to break your hearts for this lost and lonely and needy world, as you witness and watch and see the horrors that are come upon the Earth, as you see and partake of others' lives, that you may get a burden‚ that you may pray for them, that you may let your heart break for them. I use this as a means of communication, and even as a means of relaxation and relief from an intense and tiring day's or week's work. Yet in all things through prayer and supplication, I ask you to seek Me constantly as you pass your viewing hours.

147. Let not the pendulum swing too far to the right or too far to the left. And think not that the Love Charter gives license to run wild, wallowing in the ways of the world, with free access to worldly programs and the filth and propaganda of Satan. Open your eyes! Look on My Word, and the Words of your father David, and live! For has not David spoken in depth on this subject? Has he not laid down guidelines in detail on what to feed on and how to view? Has he not cautioned you along these lines? Research and review the Words of your father on this vast subject.

148. And I say unto you of the older generation, you cannot expect of your younger ones any more than you yourself are living. If you desire that your teens and young people be not totally consumed with attitudes and images they see in the movies, check your own hearts. How much time and thought and conversation do you indulge in viewing television and watching movies? Do you long to look at the sports broadcasts? Do you spend unnecessary hours in front of the box? How many entertainment films do you seek to watch, and what is your idea of entertainment? Check your own hearts and beware. For Satan asks that he may have you all, that he might sift you as wheat. This is the day of the wolf, and he is seeking his next meal! Take heed that it be not you ! (End of prophecy.)

163. (Mama: ) Each Home is responsible to establish the details of their own video and TV viewing policies‚ according to the guidelines outlined in the Charter , which say:

164. "Members should also 'resist the Devil' (James 4:7) by actively striving to minimize the ungodly and unedifying influences in our lives. These ungodly and unedifying influences could be anything that pulls us away from the Lord or pollutes our spirit, mind or heart with 'junk food' of the spirit and hinders our connection with God. This would include the reading of unedifying or ungodly material, or the watching of unedifying videos‚ movies or TV, or listening to ungodly music."

172. What movies or television programs you watch is your decision, but remember, the Lord will hold you accountable for your actions. If there are several Homes in your city or area, you may be faced with some comparing battles or peer pressure, if other Homes watch more or different movies or television programs than you do. You kids might even feel that your Home is really "uncool" compared to everyone else, if your viewing is more restricted. But take my word for it, it will pay off if you stick to your guns‚ don't water down your convictions, and avoid getting sucked into watching junk on TV or video!

Goals for 1998

ML #3160:176-184, Lifelines 24

176. (Peter:) You've probably noticed that recently there's a trend in the Family of becoming more worldly in many ways. By worldly‚ I mean closer to the world. It appears that some feel it's quite acceptable to not stay so far removed from the System; that it's possible to serve the Lord with one foot in the Family and the other in the System. I'd venture to say that such an attitude seeps in very slowly. Rarely does a person go from being completely dropped out in spirit to immediately being compromised and polluted with the ways and attitudes of the world.

177. When the Charter was first implemented, there was a problem with excess freedom, much of which bordered on worldliness. This was to be expected. It wasn't a surprise that there was such a backlash, as many of you were reacting to previous restrictions. Thank the Lord, many of you have now come back to a more happy medium in your freedoms, and you've put more emphasis on your responsibilities to the Lord and the Family as they're put forth in the Charter.

178. However‚ there is still a fairly large pull on the Family from the System. This is manifested in many different ways, such as: excess System influence from videos, System music, the Internet, or watching too much sports on TV, etc.; unfruitful ties and friendships with outsiders that are not based on witnessing or the Word; dead-end System jobs that afford no open doors for witnessing or ministering to others; and relationships with overbearing System relatives in which the Family members involved are compromising for gain or to be accepted.

179. It could be that the Lord allowed this time of fluidity regarding our relationship with the world as a test of each person's resolve, and also as part of "floating your faith." But the Lord makes it clear in the following message that there will be an inevitable division in the Family between those who seek to stay dropped out and revolutionary and those who continue to desire and compromise with the System.

180. As you read the following message, I ask you to check your heart and see which category you fall into. Regardless of where you've been up to this point, it's still possible for you to forsake all once again and get back to your First Love—the Lord and the Revolution for Jesus! Let's each make it a personal goal for 1998 to be one of His dropped-out Endtime soldiers!

181. (Jesus speaking:) In order to walk in unity you must be of one mind‚ your standards and obedience to the Word must be in sync, and you must be on the same wavelength when it comes to resisting the worldliness of the System and keeping yourselves pure and dropped out and separate from the Great Whore.

182. There cannot be great unity between those who are compromised and those who are true to the message. Those who have moved toward the System and partaken of her evils, and who have allowed their thoughts and actions to become polluted and compromised until there's hardly any difference between them and the children of the world, cannot be in unity with those who seek to stay dropped out, who want to be different, and who are willing to stand up for the truth and be counted.

183. I warn those who've moved closer and closer and closer to the ways of the world‚ those who have lost their pureness and innocence as they've become deceived, thinking that it won't hurt them because they can "take it"—that they are in danger of slipping away altogether. The flame of their faith burns dangerously low, and they must be pulled back to the pillar. They must make a stand to strengthen their convictions against the ways of the world and the sirens of the System. Those who partake of the evils of the Whore and drink in her delicacies with great enthusiasm, losing sight of the vision, the Word, the goal, cannot be in unity with those who continue to give their all to Me and who seek not to be encumbered with the ways of the world, the flesh, the System.

184. You cannot be equally yoked with unbelievers and those of the world and yet hope to stay in unity with the red-hot, dropped-out children of David. (End of excerpt of message from Jesus.)

Don't Get Caught in the Web

ML #3174:13-14, 17-19, GN 779

13. (Dad: ) You wonder where all of these wrong attitudes are coming from? Where do people get their ungodly views about sex? Where do people get their screwed-up ideas about relationships? Where do people get their System ideologies? Where do people get their knowledge about the dark side? Where are all of these doubts coming from? Where is your love for the lost? Where is your desire to serve God and fight for freedom no matter what? Whatever happened to the Revolution that we once had? Have our folks just gotten so damned lukewarm and cool in their convictions that they don't want to stay dropped out of the System?

14. Why are our young people hungering and thirsting after the knowledge of Babylon? Why are our kids fucking the Whore and having her babies‚ when they ought to be fucking Jesus and bearing His children? … What's it gonna take to get them on-fire for the Lord and dropped out once again?

17. Maybe you think that I can't see the traps some of you have fallen into, the lack of conviction you have and the ungodly System things you're allowing into your lives. I can see not only in the physical, but I can also see in the spiritual. I can see that some of you are getting weaker and weaker, and if you don't pull out of the downward spiral that the Enemy's gotten you trapped in, pretty soon you're not going to make it in this Gideon's band.

18. Get with the spirit of the Family! Get with the Spirit of the Lord! Get with the spirit of the Revolution! To Hell with what the System thinks! To Hell with their views on social issues! To Hell with the Whore and all her little whorelings! You've got to get stirred up and realize that we're fighting a war, and you don't have hours to waste doing your own thing, reading System publications, watching hours of TV, playing endless computer games‚ fiddling around with the vices of Hell, and certainly not wasting your time getting trapped in the tangled web that the Enemy's spun to catch you and destroy your usefulness for the Lord!

19. Whatever happened to our perfect hatred of the System and her ways? Have you forgotten about the verse that says, "Come out from among them and be ye separate"? The Lord didn't say, "Wallow in the mire, but you can still stay separate." No. If you're wallowing in the mire with everyone else, how are you going to be able to reach out a helping hand to save them? You're not going to do anyone any good by getting all dirty and tangled up yourself. You've got to come out from among them and be totally, completely and revolutionarily separate!

World Currents!—No.90

ML #3215:48-58, GN 816

The World Cup and Sports

48. (Mama:) The World Cup matches in June and July had a huge impact on soccer-loving countries around the globe. In Britain, more people watched England lose to Argentina than saw the royal wedding of Prince Charles and Diana. The parliament in the former Soviet republic of Georgia broke off debate to watch the opening match. In Bangladesh and Kenya, riots erupted in major cities when power outages interrupted transmission of televised World Cup matches. Operations in hospitals were postponed. Departures at some international airports in Latin America were delayed. Businesses and stock exchanges ground to a halt. Record audiences were glued to the matches, with organizers estimating that by the July 12 finals, viewers had tuned in up to 40 billion times. Then when Brazil lost to France, one million people poured into the streets of Paris for the biggest celebration there since the end of World War II!

49. There's nothing wrong with sports, and watching them every so often can be fun and relaxing. But the worldwide frenzy about the World Cup was quite amazing, and we wondered what was so captivating about it. So we asked the Lord if He could give us more insight into competitive sports and the spirit behind them, and He sent Dad with the following message:

50. (Dad: ) The World Cup and other sports really foster the spirit of competition. It's the spirit of the world, the "me first" spirit—do what's best for yourself, win no matter who you have to hurt or step on in order to get ahead of the next guy. That's the spirit of the world, which is just the opposite of what Jesus wants to teach people—to love your neighbor as yourself.

51. Of course, some form of sports is fine. It's good exercise and can be good fellowship time with others, and in the Family we don't usually have a big problem with people becoming overly competitive to the point that they're willing to knock somebody else out of the game in order to win. But things in the world are so different, and when athletes get to the professional level where they're being paid to win, it gets extremely competitive.

52. It becomes almost a life–and-death spirit. For example, the soccer players in the World Cup practically ran themselves to exhaustion, suffered injuries and bruises‚ and still kept playing, because they wanted to win no matter what it cost them physically.

53. It's a spiritual thing. It's the spirit of competition and pride, proving you're better than the other guy. They do it by sheer brawn‚ by their own strength, which really feeds their pride. It's their idea of success. Winning means success in the world, so to win is a very big motivator.

54. It just seems to be sort of an instinct with men especially to want to compete and to win, even with some of our folks. When they watch the World Cup or other sports events, it's almost like an extension of those human desires to compete and win. That's why some people get so into it‚ because they can relate to that drive to compete. The physical exertion, and then finally the goal, is exhilarating for some people.

55. Thank the Lord, He's delivered the Family from going in that direction, and He's shown us His way of playing sports, without the life-and-death spirit of competition. It makes games much more fun and safer.

56. But the world just loves it! And even if they don't play the game themselves‚ they get into the same spirit by rooting for one team or the other. It's a thrill and high for them if their team wins‚ and a real low if their team loses. Just look at the results of some of these losses or delays or problems even with the broadcast of some of these sports events. People riot and get violent! Businesses close so they can watch the event on TV. It becomes big news.

57. It's just that spirit of winning and being the best, coming out on top and being better‚ and getting paid for it. Pride and money, success and fame—pretty powerful tools in the hands of the Enemy! (End of message from Dad.)

58. (Mama:) Thank you, Dad‚ for that good message on competitive sports and the possible pitfalls for those who get too heavily into winning! Now we're not saying that there's anything wrong with sports, or with watching it on TV occasionally. It has its time and its place‚ when it can be a fun group activity. Of course, like Dad brought out here, it becomes unedifying when you go to extremes and get into it too much.

Worldly?—Or Free?

ML #3233:26-29, 47-48, 50, 60-62‚ GN 836

26. (Dad:) Fellowship with the world, and worldliness, is enmity with God! What fellowship has Christ with Belial? It's dangerous for our folks to be shallow and foolish and to hobnob with the world. Anybody who still has a hunger for fellowship with the world and worldly ways had better watch out! I used to say if you want to go down to the bar or out to a club to have fellowship with the world, watch out!

27. But nowadays you especially had better watch out, because you don't have to go to a bar or a club anymore to have fellowship with the world. The Devil is making it easier and easier to fellowship with the world all the time, so you'd better watch out! You can fellowship with the world anywhere, any time, because the various means of communication are so advanced these days.

28. That's why our folks have got to stay close to the Lord and on His channel‚ because fellowship with the world is all around. You can fellowship with the world while surfing the Internet if you don't pray. You can fellowship with the world while watching the evening news or flipping those TV channels, or while doing your weekly shopping right there in the supermarket with all those sights and sounds and trinkets of Egypt, and all that propaganda around you.

29. All that can give you plenty of fellowship with the world‚ depending on how you receive it or how you balance it all out with the Word. You can fellowship with the world day after day in your witnessing and outreach and work for the Lord if you don't stay close to the Lord and keep your heart right.

47. Do our folks want liberty to gain worldly knowledge? For what? Why would they want to get all confused and tangled up and misled by the false, phony theories of man, when they have the knowledge and wisdom of God and the secrets of the universe at their fingertips? The wisdom of man is just a decoy, but it holds an evil fascination for some. Lord, deliver our folks from these lying, cunningly devised fables of man! Deliver us from worldly ways and a hankering for the world!

48. You know, I watched movies and documentaries and read different things. I was always learning and curious to know what was going on. And to some extent our folks do need to be aware and informed. But unless they're going to constantly be measuring up all this input with the standard of the Word, they need to forget it. If they're not going to recognize most of this stuff for what it really is‚ then watch out. A lot of the filth and things going around should only serve its purpose in proving to God's people the truth and the validity of the Scriptures—signs of the times that you're living in the End!

50. The only way to be in the world and not of the world is to stay pumped up with the Word—to be inoculated with the Word and the truth. To hear fresh from Heaven on a daily basis, so that you will be able to stand up with conviction and give an answer to every man that asks. The way to be in the world and not of the world is to not go out and play their game along with them. If you want freedom to go out and be just like them, you're going to find out that fifth column in your heart will poison your soul! It's the Devil's own tool when our folks are being tempted with worldly ways and a hankering for the world.

60. Come out from among them and touch not the unclean thing! You guys need to remember who you are and what you are‚ and how important your job is—and jealously guard it from the attacks and onslaughts of Satan when he tries to tempt you with worldliness and worldly ways and a hankering for the world. You've got to remember it's a constant battle and keep your armor on all the time.

61. You need to remember you're strangers in a strange land, that this world is not your home. My goodness, to think of all the Lord gives you and has for you and has in store for you—you ought to be laughing and almost sneering at worldly ways and practices! If it wasn't so pitiful and sad‚ it would almost be funny. Where are the people with guts? Some of our folks have been half-hearted or double-minded and have left us. Will you also go away? Where are your convictions to stand up for the truth?

62. We're going on to a brighter day and we're free‚ free, free! Phooey on the false lies of Satan! Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty—and we have it! Are you with me? We have total and complete liberty—total freedom from the bondage of the world and its worldly ways into complete liberty and freedom of life through love. That's the only freedom there is! You cannot serve God and mammon. Which will you serve? (End of message from Dad)

More on 'The Shakeup 2000

ML #3262:15-21, 40-41, 43-44, GN 863

15. (Mama:) The Charter membership contract and the Provisional Charter membership contract, which are based on the Love Charter, say that one of the responsibilities of those in the CM Family is the following:

16. A. Maintain a close connection with God through personal communion with Jesus, personal and united prayer and praise, personal and united reading of His Word (both the Bible and the Letters), Scripture memorization‚ and the minimizing and resisting of ungodly and unedifying influences in my life; thus exhibiting the fruits of the Holy Spirit, which are: “love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance.”

17. (From WS Leadership: Since it is not fully spelled out in the above point, we wish to make it clear here that failure to minimize and resist ungodly and unedifying influences includes consistently reading unedifying or ungodly material, including pornographic material, in books, magazines or on the Internet; watching unedifying videos, movies or TV; playing unedifying computer games; sending ungodly e-mail; listening to ungodly music; using foul language or engaging in other activities deemed by the Family's governing bodies to be a reproach to the cause of Christ.)

18. “If you are unsure about whether something is unedifying, go to the Word, go to the Lord, counsel with your shepherds and be open to what the Word, the Lord and your shepherds say” (“Charter Responsibilities,” ML #3197:61). If you wish to keep your Charter membership, then you are required to minimize these ungodly influences in your life.

19. As with all other individual Charter responsibilities, we want to make it clear that discerning whether you are minimizing and resisting unedifying and ungodly influences in your life will be determined by the agreement of any two of the Family's governing bodies—your Home, your area office, and your continental office—and not by you.

20. After other forms of shepherding and Charter discipline have been exhausted, if your Home, your area office or your continental office feel you are consistently not minimizing these ungodly and unedifying influences, they will recommend you for Fellow Member status. If one of the other two bodies agrees with their recommendation‚ the procedure to move you to Fellow Member status will begin immediately, as outlined on pages 211-216 of the Charter.

21. “Since the Lord's counsel on these matters has been published in the Word, and since you as a Charter Member are expected to read and believe the Word, it is expected that you'll accept what the Lord and we have to say about these things. Whether you personally feel that these affect you negatively or not‚ God's Word says they do, and as a Charter Member you should avoid and minimize them in your life.” (“Charter Responsibilities,” ML #3197:66).

40. (Mama:) It's clear that some of you in the CM Family have been weakened because of your not minimizing or resisting ungodly and unedifying influences. You've eaten the poisonous grass and drunk of the evil wells from the System, and now some of you are quite sick. Probably the most common of such negative influences are watching bad movies, videos or TV shows; visiting sites on the Internet that are not profitable or educational or helpful, but which promote ungodly views that are contrary to the Word; reading novels that are obviously full of very negative propaganda or subtle wrong attitudes that are spiritually detrimental, or that have not been approved by your Home; reading pornographic material; playing violent computer games; participating in ugly‚ divisive e–mail communications; failing to follow the counsel given in the MLs and Family publications regarding listening to System music; using foul language, and going overboard on drinking alcoholic beverages.

41. It is absolutely necessary that you make a definite effort to minimize and resist these influences in your life by applying the New Wine practically and spiritually to your life‚ and if you fail to do so consistently, you're contravening the Charter and the Charter membership contract and you will be asked to move to Fellow Member status.

43. Please understand that if someone in your Home is not upholding the CM standard because they're not minimizing and resisting ungodly and unedifying influences in these ways, it is the responsibility of you Home teamworks to help that person see the problem. You should counsel them, pray with them, and hear from the Lord with them. If they refuse to change, then you and your Home Council are responsible to discipline them according to the Charter. And if the person continues to be polluted through these ungodly and unedifying influences, especially if that person pollutes others, then they need to be recommended for Fellow Member status.

44. What each of you Charter Members need to realize is that the level of ungodly and unedifying influence in your life and Home that was tolerated before the publishing of “The Shakeup 2000!” will no longer be tolerated. It cannot be allowed if we are to strengthen the Family. I know you want to strengthen the Family, and to do so, things must change in this area‚ and change drastically!

Coming Persecution?

ML #3361:161, 168, GN 957

161. (Jesus speaking:) This spirit of lethargy is manifested by:

168. • A lack of militancy in fighting against worldly/ungodly influences in the form of the media—TV, movies‚ books, Internet, computer games, System music, etc. This comes about when you let yourself be duped by the Enemy into thinking that this or that habit or trip that you or someone you know are "a little bit into" is not really that bad or harmful. You get comfortable with it‚ and then you don't want to forsake it or make someone else forsake it.

What Is Jesus Worth to You?

ML #3433:168-172, 174-175, GN 1016

168. (Jesus:) There are very few people in the Family who are so busy already and redeeming the time so effectively that they couldn't forsake something in order to have more time with Me. People spend a lot of time relaxing, chilling, vegging, or whatever you want to call it, and some of that is time that could be better used for the things of the spirit.

169. How true it is that your time with Me in the morning is not lost that morning‚ but the night before. The timewasters happen mostly at night. People get in the habit of going to bed late, and that's how the Devil steals their time with Me the next day, so that before people even wake up, the Devil has already made off with their quiet time—he's spirited it away the night before, as they chatted, played, watched TV, surfed the Internet, etc. All those lesser activities‚ whatever they are, that keep people chained to a late schedule, and therefore needing to sleep later, are what steal those quiet hours in the morning that they could otherwise spend with Me.

170. With very few exceptions, most people could manage to be on a much earlier schedule, and then they'd have time in the quiet of the morning to really focus, absorb, pray, meditate, suck My seeds and devote the prime early hours to Me and the Word. You could consider those hours in study and prayer your "tithe" to Me.

171. But the problem is‚ people easily give their tithe to idle pastimes and timewasters, or to frivolity and foolishness, but then balk and complain and think it's "just too much" to give the same to Me. Would you keep My tithe yourself‚ or give it to the world and the wicked instead of Me? It's really sad‚ but it's a mindset that hasn't just crept into the Family slightly, in rare cases, but rather has grabbed hold strongly in the mentality of almost everyone. My brides have unrealistic expectations of what they think they need to be happy as far as recreation, fellowship, excursions, lengthy late–night activities, free time, etc. They are spoiled. If they were to compare with the Christians in earlier times, and even the pioneers in the earlier years of the Family, they would be quite shocked, no doubt‚ at the sacrifices that My children were willing to make regularly, on a long-term basis.

172. The time will come when you, My brides, will be forced to give up all the extra System "fluff." The circumstances will dictate that you give it up; it will be a time of obvious war and you'll not have time or even the opportunity for such trivial pursuits. But the catch is, My warriors, you can't wait until then. You can't just keep hanging out and then think you're going to forsake all when you have to, because the problem with that plan is that you won't be ready. You won't have the strength and spiritual training needed, because you will have frittered away your time when you had it and could have made better use of it, when you could have applied yourselves.

174. After the implementation of the Charter, people were no longer forced by the strict standard of the big Homes and close shepherding to keep up the momentum of redeeming the time. They even rebelled in some ways and wanted more freedom, more say, more anything that was different from the pre-Charter days. But unfortunately‚ those days of rebellion and relaxation caused an effect that they didn't expect. They thought they'd just take a little break, a vacation, a breather from the strict standard of the Word, and then after a while they'd get back on the attack. They thought they were just going to exercise their independence for a while.

175. But lo and behold, guess what happened. All those good intentions to eventually get back on the attack, to go back to redeeming the time in their spiritual lives, fell by the wayside. Instead of taking a so-called break to be renewed for a time of greater dedication and spirituality, they ended up losing steam and going slower and slower, until their toleration for worldly input‚ wasted time, vain babble, and not pressing in became higher and higher, until now people almost expect a life of ease‚ a life of taking it slow and expecting things to just come to them—success, money, answers to prayer, spiritual victory, happy children, and blossoming works. The Family at large has lost sight of how much work and sacrifice it actually takes to be a successful parent and/or missionary, and to stay strong spiritually. Therefore, their expectations regarding free time‚ rest, fellowship, partying, etc., have skyrocketed. (End of message from Jesus.)

Renewal: Q'As

ML #3490:19–23, GN 1074

19. Q: During the renewal we clearly aren't allowed to watch TV or sports on TV. But are live sports (like going to a live match) allowed? Could we have a clarification on this matter?

20. A: (Jesus:) Sports have become as big an addiction and timewaster for some people in the Family as have other forms of worldly entertainment. And just like other forms of worldly input‚ I'm asking you to forsake sports for a time—and by this I mean watching it on TV, listening to it on the radio, reading about it in newspapers or magazines, and going to watch live games.

21. And if you're a real sports fanatic and playing sports personally has even become too big a deal in your life, you should pray about forsaking that as well. If you have an addiction to sports, this is probably going to be one of the hardest parts of the renewal period for you, but do it for Me. Let Me cleanse you; let Me put things in perspective for you once again. If something is out of proportion in your life‚ I need to put it back in its rightful place.

22. On the other hand, if kept in perspective and in the spirit, sports can be a fun time of fellowship and relaxation and even unity when participated in together. Playing a soccer game all together as a Home‚ for example, can be a fun way to spend part of a free-day afternoon. Going for bike rides or hikes or learning a new sport can give you fun times of recreation, besides providing exercise and fellowship.

23. So I'm not banning sports. I'm just asking you to keep it in perspective. And if you're someone who's addicted to a sport or to the competition, to the point that it hinders your unity with others, or it comes before your time with Me, or is just too big a deal in your life in general, then you might want to consider toning it way down or forsaking it altogether.

Renewal: A Gift of Love for the Children

ML #3491:138-148, GN 1075

138. (Jesus:) You've probably read articles about parents in the world who decided that the TV was taking way too much prominence in their children's lives. So they turned it off for a month, or three months, or however long they decided on. At first their kids howled and gave them a terrible time about it, and it was hard on the parents too, because they had to work harder to do other entertaining things with their kids—reading together, playing together‚ going out in nature together, cooking or baking, talking, learning new things. But eventually the kids became happier, more communicative. The whole family was so much happier that in some cases they then decided to get rid of the TV permanently, or at least greatly restricted its viewing. They never wanted to go back to the way things were before.

Text box:

139. (Mama:) An interesting fact we found that backs up what the Lord says in this prophecy is that in the U.S. they have a national TV–Turnoff Week. The goal is that participants unplug the tube for a week in an effort to encourage children and adults to watch much less television in order to promote healthier lives and communities. Since 1995, more than 24 million Americans have turned off their television and re-engaged in life. Afterwards, almost all of the participants responded that they now watch less TV and watch more selectively as a result of the "fast." Many said their viewing habits would be permanent, and that breaking free of TV is a liberating and enriching experience. For many‚ participation was a springboard to making lasting changes in their viewing—and lifestyle—habits.

140. Some of the reactions from participants in the TV-Turnoff Week were:

* Children "rediscovered" about three more hours each day. They read more, exercised more, and spent more time with family and friends, playing board games, telling stories, and talking with mom and dad.

* It was a very valuable experience. We were forced to think about the role that TV plays in our lives, and we discovered the joy of living!

* Hallelujah! Turn off that TV! I do want to emphatically stress that there is much more to life than the boring, degrading, demeaning fare on the boob tube. I urge [everyone] to use this week to break your addiction to television. Just say no! Turn on life!

* I had a great time, and my only question is: If this is so great, why don't we turn off the TV for the other 51 weeks of the year?

* The worst single choice I ever made was getting my husband cable for his birthday. Now there are woodworking, gardening, quilting, cooking, and home improvement shows on 24 hours a day! If we weren't watching these shows, we'd probably be woodworking, gardening, quilting, cooking, and improving our home.

* I got rid of my television altogether, and I have never regretted it for one moment. My life is so much richer now. I got my imagination back.

* Cutting back on TV is a great way to find the time to play outside, take a walk‚ or pick up a new sport.

* The easiest way to reduce inactivity is to turn off the TV set. Almost anything else uses more energy than watching TV.

* Because children are influenced by what their parents do, it is important that whatever effort you make to exercise more, eat better, or watch less TV is done as a family.

* Turning off the TV becomes a great family endeavor, a way to bond and spend time together.

* We have not watched TV for more than 16 years‚ not out of a statement against society or any overt religious injunction, but a simple desire to have time for a more meaningful marriage and family in the face of a busy life.

* I would do it this way again in a minute, and I think if anyone is considering it, go all the way and toss that TV out! You'll have more family time‚ better communication, great readers, self-reliant and imaginative kids, and more snuggle time with your spouse!

141. (Mama: ) Don't worry, we don't intend to get rid of our TV/video setups indefinitely; we're just going to gain more wisdom and prayerfulness in this, and every other area, of our lives! I'm including these for your interest only, and not because I think we all should toss out our TVs and video machines. Ha! But the point is that turning off the TV for a time to get back to the basics of life and to spend more time with family and friends is not something that no one else in the world has ever done or considered a good thing. As you can see from these short testimonials, even those in the world agree that shutting down the TV, to put things back into perspective, is a positive experience.

142. This might even be a point that you parents can make to your children. ...

End of text box.

143. (Jesus continues:) So many people in the world today wish for an opportunity like the one that's in front of you now, but they just don't have the willpower and strength to make it happen themselves. They know that it's laziness and it's robbing them and their children of so much to let the TV baby–sit, to let their kids play those computer games that are violent and less edifying or educational than they should be. They know that it's stealing the time they could have together, the experiences‚ the bond of love and the opportunities for teaching and learning together that families are supposed to have. But they feel they don't have the time to make it happen, so they let it pass. They let these shallow, worldly, meaningless and sometimes downright harmful influences keep entertaining the kids and dictating their lives, which in the long run really take the joy out of life and tear down all that is good.

144. I know it's hard to imagine now, but once you've made it over the hurdle and gotten used to the fact that you can't just put on a movie for the kids to keep them entertained, that you have to do something with them; that you can't let them play computer games for parent time, you've got to read with them, talk with them, walk with them‚ get out of the house together—after you've made it over that hurdle, My loves, I promise that you're going to love it.

145. You're going to love the peaceful spirit that it brings into the Home, simply because the System doesn't have so many avenues of entrance. You're going to love the greater unity and closeness that it brings, because you're fellowshipping and talking together, rather than plopping down in front of a video. You're going to love the opportunities it gives you to really know your children, to be close, to share your hearts and dreams, to teach them all that you know about witnessing, cooking, mechanics, sewing, or whatever it is they're interested in. You're going to love it!

146. I'm not saying it's going to be easy. The first part is going to be very difficult as you all adjust and learn to accept things, and then, even though it gets easier, it's never going to be as easy as going the lazy way and resorting to System entertainment for times of relaxation. But it's going to be so much better for your spirits—yours and your children's.

147. (Mama:) I want to clarify here that the fast of worldly input does not and should not imply that all movies, computer games‚ novels‚ and forms of worldly entertainment are necessarily bad and wrong. This is not the message the Lord wants you to get from the renewal‚ and it's not the message He wants you to convey to the children. It's simply that the Lord wants the whole Family to devote this time to concentrating on other areas of our lives that are more important. He wants to teach us all—adults and children alike—to have a better balance in all things.

148. It's not necessarily the worldly things in themselves that are bad. (Unless you have been overindulgent with your children and have allowed far too much of their lives to be taken up with worldly input, or you have allowed them worldly input that isn't wholesome or godly, in which case you'd need to sort this out with the Lord and start following Him much more closely in this area of your children's lives.) We need to forsake the things of the world for a time to focus on the things of the spirit‚ and emphasize the other important aspects of our lives—and our children's lives—that worldly influences have often overshadowed.

The Stranger

Raise 'em Right

A few months before I was born, my Dad met a stranger who was new to our small Tennessee town. From the beginning, Dad was fascinated with this enchanting newcomer, and soon invited him to live with our family. The stranger was quickly accepted, and was around to welcome me into the world a few months later.

As I grew up I never questioned his place in our family. In my young mind, each member had a special niche. My brother, Bill, five years my senior, was my example. Fran, my younger sister, gave me an opportunity to play "big brother" and to develop the art of teasing. My parents were complementary instructors—Mom taught me to love the Word of God and Dad taught me to obey it.

But the stranger was our story-teller. He could weave the most fascinating tales. Adventures‚ mysteries and comedies were daily conversations. He would hold our whole family spellbound for hours each evening.

If I wanted to know about politics, history, or science, he knew it all. He knew about the past, understood the present, and seemingly could predict the future. The pictures he could draw were so lifelike that I would often laugh or cry as I watched.

He was like a friend to the whole family. He took Dad, Bill, and me to our first major league baseball game. He was always encouraging us to see movies and he even made arrangements to introduce us to several movie stars. My brother and I were deeply impressed by John Wayne in particular.

The stranger was an incessant talker. Dad didn't seem to mind, but sometimes Mom would quietly get up while the rest of us were enthralled with one of his stories of faraway places, go to her room, read her Bible, and pray. I wonder now if she ever prayed that the stranger would leave.

You see, my Dad ruled our household with certain moral convictions. But somehow this stranger never felt obligated to honor them. Profanity, for example, was not allowed in our house—not from us, from our friends, or from adults. Our long-term visitor‚ however, used occasional four-letter words that burned my ears and made Dad squirm. To my knowledge the stranger was never confronted.

My Dad was also a teetotaler who didn't permit alcohol in his home—not even for cooking. But the stranger felt like we needed exposure and enlightened us to other ways of life. He offered us beer and other alcoholic beverages often.

He made cigarettes look tasty, cigars manly, and pipes distinguished. He talked freely (probably much too freely), about sex. His comments were sometimes blatant, sometimes suggestive and generally embarrassing. I know now that my early concepts of the man-woman relationship were influenced by the stranger.

As I look back‚ I believe it was the grace of God that the stranger did not influence more. Time after time he opposed the values of my parents. Yet he was seldom rebuked and was never asked to leave.

More than thirty years have passed since the stranger first moved in with the young family on Morningside Drive. He is not nearly so intriguing to my Dad as he was in those early years. But if you were to walk into my parent's den today, you would still see him sitting over in a corner, waiting for someone to listen to him talk and watch him draw his pictures.

His name? We've always just called him TV.—Keith Currie

END 2: "The Disease of Images"

By David Shenk, HotWired

The headline "Capturing Eyeballs" (in Wired magazine) struck a nerve with me. The collage powerfully evokes a frightening truth that most of us would prefer not to think about: Our culture is increasingly saturated by a flurry of images created not so much for meaningful expression as for the temporary abduction of people's consciousness.

German film director Wim Wenders calls this social condition "the disease of images." It is the paradoxical affliction in which "you have too many images around so that finally you don't see anything any more," Wenders explains. "I'm no better. I fall under the spell of MTV whenever I get into a hotel room."

Contemporary society is a fragmented, alienated collection of individuals who seem to continually shift their attentions between TV and alternative flickering images—flashing billboards‚ news and stock tickers, and now, of course, the Web. Meanwhile, the TV itself never seems to get turned off, but is instead left on as animated wallpaper in bars, restaurants‚ lounges, offices. Wherever a TV appears, it sucks attention toward itself, as though it were emitting its own irresistible visual-gravitational pull.

And that pull gets stronger and stronger as the years go by. We tend to think of TV as a dowdy, time-worn technology, but in fact, television content has been radically transformed over the last 30 years. Most commercials and many programs are now built around blindingly fast cuts, multiple perspectives, purposeful discombobulation—all of which can make television almost as thrilling as playing a video game. Television has always had a hypnotic quality; but the recently emerging hyper-television is clearly more addictive than ever.

It's a cliché to say that television and the book are mortal enemies. But the truth is that prose and moving images can be powerful antagonists. Author Kurt Vonnegut articulated this beautifully in a magazine interview two years ago:

"I can remember when TV was going to teach my children Korean and trigonometry. Rural areas wouldn't even have to have very well-educated teachers; all they'd have to do is turn on the box. Well, we can see what TV really did.... A book is an arrangement of 26 phonetic symbols, 10 numbers, and about 8 punctuation marks, and people can cast their eyes over these and envision the eruption of Mount Vesuvius or the Battle of Waterloo. But it's no longer necessary for teachers and parents to build these circuits. Now‚ there are professionally produced shows with great actors, very convincing sets sound, music. And now there's the information superhighway."

If we allow the flickerers to Capture Our Eyeballs, I'm afraid our eyes will float freely and permanently away from our minds.

(Dad: ) Like I've said before, amusements are just "away from thinking." Now it's not just me saying this. The world is seeing this too. It is a sad truth‚ but very real. Don't let it trap you in its tangle of sights and sounds of the Enemy. Stay pure!

END 12: "Parents must guide children in watching TV"

Baptist Press

Parents who want to keep their children from becoming immune to violence must take an active role in monitoring their television viewing habits, a leader in children's television told Southern Baptist church leaders.

Hedda Sharapan, associate producer of the "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood" television program on the Public Broadcasting System (PBS), quoted recent studies which found only 15 percent of parents guide their 3– to 8-year-olds in watching television, and children are watching from three to five hours a day.

In addition to monitoring programs their kids watch on TV, Sharapan urges parents to watch the shows with them and discuss the content and how it relates to their values and beliefs.

Sharapan shared a letter from a woman whose grandchild had become aggressive and unruly in school after watching a heavy dose of "Power Rangers" on television. When the child's parents stopped letting him watch the program‚ his behavior at school improved.

Sharapan gave several suggestions for encouraging healthy interaction with television:

  1. Use your eyes. "Watch some of the television that the kids are watching so you can know what they're talking about. Sometimes you can 'redirect the play' by discussing a program with children."
  2. Use your mouth. "My daughters used to laugh and tell me that I was no fun to watch television with because I was always making comments under my breath like, 'I can't believe she is so rude to her mother.' Your kids need to hear from you when things don't relate to your values."
  3. Use your hand and write letters to the network or sponsors, Sharapan suggested. "A form letter tends to get discarded, but a letter with a story in it gets passed around."
  4. Use your finger (to turn it off). "I work in television, but even Mister Rogers says that sometimes the best thing is to just turn off the television. Children need to be playing. They need to be doing. And turning the TV off and reading your child a book before bedtime is one of the best things you can do."

Quote from Dad: "Frankly, I don't think it's really good for children, as a rule, to watch raw television! No matter what the program is, you never know what's going to be on the commercials! Even if you know it's a good show and it's going to be something good for the children, if it has commercials, it could be very bad with horrors and violence and killing‚ and at the least, silly little ditties that'll run through their heads all day! That's one reason I'm recommending to the Family that they make a serious effort to watch recorded programs only, videos that they think are good for the children, or at least not too bad, so that they can avoid all that junk!" (ML #2454:13).

END 15: "'Idiot box' is claiming 11 years of life"

The London Times

The average American spends the equivalent of 11 years in front of a television set over a 72-year life span, according to a nonprofit organization that campaigns against the "idiot box."

The group, TV-Free America, has released the statistics in advance of "National TV Turnoff Week." The week is designed to make couch potatoes aware of the "damage to the health of individuals, families and entire communities" caused by tele–addiction.

Television is blamed, among other things, for insomnia, depression, obesity, illiteracy and profligate spending. According to the group's figures, the average American watches 3.7 hours of television a day, which adds up to about 56 days a year. Extrapolated over a lifetime, this "total television time" amounts to about 11 years.

Last year, Americans viewed for 250 billion hours: the value of that time, computed at an average wage of $5 an hour, was $1.25 trillion.

According to White Dot, an anti-TV pamphlet published monthly in Chicago, the average child has seen 8,000 TV murders by the time he or she finishes elementary school. By 18, they will have witnessed more than 200,000 violent acts on television.

Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center found a direct correlation between juvenile obesity and the hours spent watching‚ having been robbed of exercise time and encouraged to consume high-calorie snacks and fizzy drinks.

Other studies have found that a steady diet of television has produced a generation of overstimulated, underactive children who have more trouble deferring gratification or developing a contemplative mind.

(Dad: ) Don't let the idiot box claim years of your life. Choose the good and eschew the evil; avoid getting sucked into the time-wasting tube that's full of tripe and trash!

END 49: "Managing us"

By Fred Reed

The crucial truths of the current age may be these: First, people will watch any television rather than no television. Second, sooner or later they will begin to imitate what they see on the screen. Third‚ while you can't fool all of the people all of the time, you can fool enough of them enough of the time‚ especially if you are a lot smarter than they are, and do it patiently, calculatedly, over time, like water eroding stone. And that is all it takes.

Denunciations of televised fare have become commonplace, conventional, have sunk into clichédom and ceased to be noticed. The gibbering box dulls the mind. You forget what it is doing, and how well it does it. Until you are away from it for a while.

Maybe two years ago, I got rid of cable, reasoning that while the world might be full of idiots, I wasn't going to pay $40 a month to look at them. Recently I resubscribed because I wanted the Spanish channels. The experience was startling—though nothing had changed. I had just forgotten how appallingly propagandistic it was, how gnawingly relentless in inculcating its messages.

The genius of television is that, to shape a people as you want‚ you don't need unrestrained governmental authority, nor do you need to tell people what you want of them. Indeed, if you told them what to do, they would be likely to refuse.

No. You merely have to show them, over and over, day after day, the behavior you wish to instill. … And slowly, unconsciously, people will come to accept and then to imitate them. Patience is everything. Mold the young and in thirty years you will have molded the society. Don't tell them anything. Just show them.

And television is magic: People can't not watch. No matter how bad the fare is, how much it offends their most deeply held values, they will stare at it rather than be alone with their thoughts. Some of them will say, those who know they ought to know better, "There are some good things on TV. I like the History Channel." Yet they watch, and not just the History Channel. They cannot read a book instead.

The packaged urgings flow from America. Television is profoundly American, yet respects no borders. Movies and TV from the United States permeate much of the world. The less civilized parts of the planet particularly depend on dubbed or translated programming from America, because they cannot produce their own. With satellite feeds, supplying these countries is easy. The message is remarkably homogeneous.

Its pervasiveness will over time determine culture. We can't escape, that the same instruction whispers and babbles from sets in bars in Casper and Guadalajara and Nairobi.

Some believe that the drone of right thinking springs from a conspiracy, from some cabal at the top of the journalistic pyramid. I don't know. Through some inadvertence I am not invited to meetings of the boards of the networks. But whether through plot or simple "lemmingry," we have what we have.

The consequence is a ferocious centralization. Washington‚ New York, and Hollywood in large part determine what the world may see, what we may know and may not know‚ and how it will be explained to us.

And while television makes it easy for New York to talk to the world, the world has no corresponding way to talk to the networks, which wouldn't listen anyway.

They have us, and we will do what they say.

(Dad: ) You are what you watch, and the more you watch it, the more you become like it. You can't take in a heavy diet of System input without getting affected by it in some way, whether you realize it or not. So remember to pray over what you watch, and pray whether you personally should watch it or not.

Some shows and movies have significance or value, of course. Others don't, and are just your run–of-the–mill senseless noise, violence and trash that's so common in American "entertainment." Whatever the case, be sure to filter it through the Lord's perspective and to pray over your thoughts afterwards‚ because it can definitely have an effect on you.

It has a big effect on the world too, as this man brought out. It spreads certain values and ways of life all over the world and is a corrupting influence in many a living room, from Bangkok to Buenos Aires. Often what it spreads is "Poison in Paradise," softening people up for the coming One World order and its leader.

END 50: "Television addiction"

By Robert Kubey and Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi‚ Scientific American

Excessive cravings do not necessarily involve physical substances. Consider television, for example, the world's most popular leisure pastime. Most people admit to having a love–hate relationship with it. They complain about the "boob tube" and "couch potatoes," then they settle into their sofas and grab the remote control. Even researchers who study TV for a living marvel at the medium's hold on them personally. Percy Tannenbaum of the University of California at Berkeley has written: "Among life's more embarrassing moments have been countless occasions when I am engaged in conversation in a room while a TV set is on, and I cannot for the life of me stop from periodically glancing over to the screen. This occurs not only during dull conversations but during reasonably interesting ones just as well."

The term "TV addiction" is imprecise, but it captures the essence of a very real phenomenon. Psychologists and psychiatrists formally define substance dependence as a disorder characterized by criteria that include spending a great deal of time using the substance; using it more often than one intends; thinking about reducing use or making repeated unsuccessful efforts to reduce use; giving up important social, family or occupational activities to use it; and reporting withdrawal symptoms when one stops using it. All these criteria can apply to people who watch a lot of television.

The amount of time people spend watching television is astonishing. On average, individuals in the industrialized world devote three hours a day to the pursuit—fully half of their leisure time‚ and more than on any single activity save work and sleep. At this rate, someone who lives to 75 would spend nine years in front of the tube. To some commentators, this devotion means simply that people enjoy TV and make a conscious decision to watch it. But if that is the whole story, why do so many people experience misgivings about how much they view? In Gallup polls in 1992 and 1999‚ two out of five adult respondents and seven out of 10 teenagers said they spent too much time watching TV. Other surveys have consistently shown that roughly 10 percent of adults call themselves TV addicts.

To study people's reactions to TV, researchers have undertaken laboratory experiments in which they have monitored the brain waves (using an electroencephalograph, or EEG), skin resistance or heart rate of people watching television. As one might expect, people who were watching TV reported feeling relaxed and passive. The EEG studies showed less mental stimulation, as measured by alpha brain-wave production, during viewing than during reading.

What is more surprising is that the sense of relaxation ends when the set is turned off, but the feelings of passivity and lowered alertness continue. Survey participants commonly reflect that television has somehow absorbed or sucked out their energy, leaving them depleted. They say they have more difficulty concentrating after viewing than before. In contrast‚ after playing sports or engaging in hobbies, people report improvements in mood.

Within moments of sitting or lying down and pushing the "power" button, viewers report feeling more relaxed. Because the relaxation occurs quickly, people are conditioned to associate viewing with rest and lack of tension. Habit-forming drugs work in similar ways.

We wondered whether heavy viewers might experience life differently than light viewers do. What we found nearly leaped off the page at us. Heavy viewers report feeling significantly more anxious and less happy than light viewers do in unstructured situations.

More than 25 years ago psychologist Tannis M. MacBeth Williams of the University of British Columbia studied a mountain community that had no television until cable finally arrived. Over time, both adults and children in the town became less creative in problem solving, less able to persevere at tasks, and less tolerant of unstructured time.

To some researchers, the most convincing parallel between TV and addictive drugs is that people experience withdrawal symptoms when they cut back on viewing. Nearly 40 years ago Gary A. Steiner of the University of Chicago collected fascinating individual accounts of families whose set had broken—this back in the days when households generally had only one set: "The family walked around like a chicken without a head." "It was terrible. We did nothing." "Screamed constantly. Children bothered me, and my nerves were on edge. Tried to interest them in games, but impossible. TV is part of them."

In experiments, families have volunteered or been paid to stop viewing, typically for a week or a month. Many could not complete the period of abstinence. Some fought‚ verbally and physically. Whether or not we formally diagnose someone as TV-dependent, millions of people sense that they cannot readily control the amount of television they watch.

Maintaining control over one's media habits is more of a challenge today than it has ever been. In its easy provision of relaxation, television can be beneficial in limited doses. Yet when the habit interferes with the ability to grow‚ to learn new things, to lead an active life‚ then it does constitute a kind of dependence and should be taken seriously.

(Dad:) TV can be either good or bad, depending on what you watch and how much of it you watch. It can provide relaxation, education or entertainment‚ or foolishness, filth and frivolity, and result in time-wasting addiction.

Use it; don't let it use you! Don't let it gain a hold on you to the point that you become a lethargic couch potato even when you're away from the tube. Like this scientist said, it can make you feel drugged and passive; it can suck out your energy, leaving you feeling depleted; it can leave you feeling anxious and unhappy; it can result in your becoming less creative‚ less persevering, and more frustrated. Talk about a "drug" with powerful side effects! Whew!

So watch out when you're watching it and don't develop a TV dependency, or let your kids develop one. Watch in moderation, pray before and afterwards, and filter the System sights and attitudes through the filter of the Lord's viewpoint and Words for best results.

Ask Dad!—No.16: News-Watching Guidelines"

Question: I know that watching the news is very important to follow what's going on in the world. But does the Lord have something to say about what news channel(s) we should or should not watch? Particularly I was wondering about CNN. Is it OK to watch, as it's so much the voice of the American government? Or are there other channels or sources which would be better for the Family to watch, or some news channel on the Internet that would be appropriate?

Are there any guidelines in news watching so we don't get negatively influenced by biased newscasters? How can we really know what is going on when the news is often distorted to fit the opinions of the broadcasting station? Of course we can read it later in the END. But it would be nice to have guidelines to follow or even get some recommended newscast from the Lord.—Mercy (of Byron).

(Dad:) What news channel should you watch? Well, a lot depends on what you have available. As I moved from country to country when I was on Earth, I watched a number of channels. I saw quite a variety of news and got a variety of viewpoints on the news through it, and I think that helped me to analyze the news for the Family and pass on mine and the Lord's perspective on it, which you needed—and still do.

Now you have CNN and other worldwide news channels in English‚ such as BBC, and I watched some of those. And there are news channels on the Internet too, as you say. All these channels, whether on TV or on the Internet, have both their good points and their bad points. Among the good points, you get to see what's actually happening in the world or in your city and country, and you catch wind of things that could affect you and your work, as well as see the signs of the times come to pass before your very eyes. I think that's important for the Family. But among the bad points, you can't always believe what you're hearing, nor can you always be sure that you're seeing the full picture. It's important that you watch even the news prayerfully, not just sit back and passively accept what's being fed to you.

But before we get into guidelines, let's talk a little more about the news channels themselves. Like I say, what you watch often depends on what you have available. CNN is one of the most easily available and widespread news channels these days, but it's not one of the best. For one thing, almost all of the news has an American slant to it‚ or at least it's not worded in such a way that it would be very critical of U.S. policies or actions, and it majors on news of interest to America and Americans, virtually ignoring the rest of the world or covering it in just a few minutes. Some of their news shows can drone on about some sort of American scandal for so long that you really wonder how people can stand it! There are exceptions, of course, but on CNN you're mostly going to get world news as seen from an American perspective‚ with rarely a critical word about the U.S. or U.S. allies, such as Israel, unless they do something blatantly and outrageously wrong—and even then you may hear they were "provoked" into doing it!

The BBC is another fairly widespread news channel, and I'd say you get much better coverage of world events from BBC than from CNN, since Britain once had colonies around the world and still has citizens and interests in those countries. You'll find their news more comprehensive and objective‚ but it's still not unbiased. For one thing‚ they're not going to criticize their government much, as they'd be biting the hand that feeds and funds them! And for another thing‚ you're not going to find much objectivity when it comes to religion, because many of the so-called "educated" British look down on religion as superstition or as some sort of intellectual handicap.

So when it comes to matters of God and faith, you're not always going to get a very godly viewpoint from BBC, or even a very respectful one, whereas CNN and other U.S. channels might handle it better—unless it's news about us or some other little religious group that's making waves! The BBC also has a tendency to present just the basic facts about a wide variety of stories—often in a dry and boring manner—and sometimes they don't give you enough of the context to make sense of the facts. But then CNN and other U.S. newscasts can provide so much detail about a subject that you're drowning in context and you wish they'd shut up!

So which is best? Well, a lot depends on you and where you are and where you'll get the best news. Why don't you and your Home alternate watching the different news shows available and then pray and ask the Lord what would be best for your situation, after you've had a chance to check out the choices?

But whatever news you watch‚ as I mentioned earlier, don't just passively watch it and automatically accept it at face value, but pass it through the filter of the Lord and the Word as you're viewing it. Ask yourself how that news fits in with what you've learned from the Bible and the Letters and from the Lord Himself through prophecy. That's probably the most important thing to keep in mind, because to put it bluntly, governments, politicians, diplomats and other people in the news can lie‚ deceive, propagandize, tell partial truths, present only their side of the story, or mislead you in an incredible number of ways! Look at how they present us in the news most of the time, for example!

So as you're watching the news‚ ask yourself who's being portrayed as the good guy and who's being painted as the bad guy or bad government. Who's doing the labeling, dehumanizing‚ or demonizing, and why? What language are they using? Is a government being called a "regime"? Are people resisting occupation and oppression called "terrorists" or "guerrillas"? Are the "good guys" just doing their duty, or was it an "unavoidable accident" instead of an outrage, atrocity or even mass murder? And most of all, how do all these things fit in with what you've learned from the Lord and the Letters and your own personal experience over the years?

You see, governments and the international media have become very proficient in the art of propaganda! And I'm not just talking about communist or authoritarian governments, but about the ones that are supposedly free. For example, during the U.S. attack on Iraq, the U.S. military held briefings for the international media at their headquarters in Qatar. One Chinese journalist who was there turned to the reporter next to him and said, "This is propaganda. I was born and grew up in a propaganda country, and so I know it well. Actually, they do the propaganda very well‚ better than we do it. We in China can learn from this propaganda." Imagine!

You might think, "Well, if the news is propaganda and it takes so much effort to figure out what's going on, why should I watch it?" It's because it's an education, Family. You can get at least a general idea of what's happening in the world and what trends are forming‚ see the pictures of what's taking place, study the faces of those who are making the news, and pray for the various situations that are taking place.

That's my final guideline for watching the news: Watch and pray! Pray for the Lord's protection from propaganda, for His insight into the real story, for those who are suffering in some way and need to come to know Him‚ and that He will continue to speed up the events of the End to bring this present evil world to its conclusion and usher in His Millennial Kingdom. Hallelujah! Watch and pray! Love, Dad.

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