Sunday, March 30, 2008

blackout boredom

Now it may be true that people were "enjoying an hour of quiet darkness" during Earth Hour, as the FAQ page claims. It's not that hard to fill one hour once a year.

But what about when the "hour of quiet darkness" becomes more than an hour? When it fills all the hours of every evening? Where would we be without our evening entertainment?

Martyn Lloyd-Jones' observations about "blackout boredom" during World War II suggest that quiet enjoyment would be the last thing on our minds:
And yet perhaps there was never a time in the history of the world when it was so difficult to learn [contentment in all circumstances] ... as it is today. The whole of life is so organized at the present time as to make it almost impossible to live this self-sufficient Christian life. Even in a natural sense we are all so dependent on the things that are being done for us and to us and around and about us, that it has become most difficult to live our own lives. We switch on the wireless or the television and gradually become dependent upon them, and it is the same with our newspapers, our cinemas, our entertainments. The world has organized life for us in every respect and we are becoming dependent upon it. There was a good illustration of that in the early days of the last war when the blackout regulations were described as the 'boredom of the blackout'. People found it almost impossible to spend a succession of nights in their own homes doing nothing. They had become dependent on the cinema, the theatre and various other forms of entertainment, and when these things were suddenly cut off they did not know what to do with themselves - 'the boredom of the blackout'. That is the very antithesis of what Paul is describing here. But increasingly it is becoming the tendency in the life of man today; increasingly we are becoming dependent upon what others are doing for us. It is the very reverse of what Paul is teaching here.
Martyn Lloyd-Jones saw constant entertainment as a spiritual issue, for it makes us dependent on outside circumstances for happiness. Who are we when the TV and computer is turned off? When cinemas and cafes are shut? When the constant barrage of stereo and iPod ceases?

Who are we when we are alone with God?

The quote is from Martyn Lloyd Jones Spiritual Depression pp. 281-2.


Rachach said...

Very thought provoking!
I have been thinking lately that TV can be a kind of comfort, like food. When I am feeling stressed or angry with the kids I reach for the remote and escape for a little while, instead of praying or meditating on God's word.

Jean said...

Which, of course, is fine, if it provides healthy rest for you. TV is a good gift of God for our relaxation. The problem is, as you say, if it becomes the source of our comfort and contentment. Not always easy to tell the difference!! Like all potential idols, I guess it comes down to when and why you turn to it, for how long, what you think and talk about, what your thoughts dwell on, whether you can do without it cheerfully etc. etc. ...

Jean said...

A clarification: fine for pleasures to bring "comfort", just not to become the source of comfort in our lives.