Saturday, May 10, 2008

My New Habit

I have a new habit. A year ago, I would have laughed if you had suggested to me that I would be doing what I do.

Let me stretch out the suspense for a few beats...


Christian evangelistic television shows. Yup. No one's more surprised than me. I don't even keep up a shield of irony while I'm watching. My Jewish grandmothers would cry if they knew.

I used to watch the news every morning. I still do, but I keep the TV on for over an hour while I do my stretching and exercises, and the news stories start to repeat themselves after the first 30 minutes. I flipped around looking for something else to watch, but there's not much choice in the 7:00am to 9:00am timeslot.

I stumbled across the evangelists by accident, and thought I'd watch for a bit of a joke. I've always been suspicious of organized religion, for multiple reasons. I'm not capable of believing anything without asking questions, no matter how good the payoff sounds. And generally I'm not comfortable with pressure to conform.

I do have spiritual beliefs, but they are hard-won and ever-changing as I progress through life and accumulate wisdom. I come from a Jewish background. I have explored New Age territory. I studied weekly with a Buddhist monk (Nichiren Buddhism from Japan) for six months. Christianity is a new one for me.

I quite like these preachers and missionaries. They are charismatic and sincere, positive and caring. Joyce Meyer exhorts me to recite positive affirmations every day. Bill and Gwen Prankard tell inspiring stories about bringing food and clothing to needy tribal peoples living in Russia above the Arctic Circle.

They're not perfect. I don't swallow everything they say unquestioningly. But it's nice to switch over to them after hearing about the latest shootings, traffic problems, increase in gas prices, etc. A little inspiration in the morning goes a long way towards getting me through my day. I'm a pragmatist by nature, so if it works for me, then I'll stick with it. It's very weird, but good.


Anonymous said...

I do that sometimes too. Occasionally, I'll just be flipping around the television and I'll stop on the faith-based channel. It doesn't really matter which religion is being discussed. I like the shows where the host is just talking about his religion in a calm sensible manner, trying to relate stories from the Bible, the Torah or the Qu'ran to modern life. There's one show on Saturday nights on CTS, don't know what's its called but the host is really interesting. He just interprets the Qu'ran. I don't think I've ever heard the guy say anything controversial. From watching bits of these shows, I see the common bonds amongst the major religions. Deep down, it's all good.

jameil1922 said...

lol. that's amusing. sometimes i park it on the nuns. i love the nuns. catholicism is very odd to me but the nuns are funny and sweet and comforting. i'm wary of any televangelist and i've been in Christian churches my whole life. a dose of skepticism (i prefer the term realism) is necessary to make sure you don't mail them the deed to your house.

Karen said...

I really enjoy listening to Joel Olsten. Aside from the religious aspect, he is a great motivational speaker. I am a practicing Catholic, but I get a lot out of what I hear. And I enjoy learning about all religions.

Keera Ann Fox said...

There was some religious group back in the late 80's that did various documentaries (like what would Jesus really have looked like? Nothing like the Caucasian hippie he's usually depicted as, etc.) and I remember enjoying those, simply because it was totally different from everything else on TV at the time.

Aric Blue said...

Positive and caring? You mean the ACT like that. Remember Jim and Tammy Baker? (How much money did they steal?)

I'd say 95% of them are in it for the money. You must have a dvd player and movies you can watch!

Sparkling Red said...

Whatigotsofar: I don't know much about the Qu'ran, but I've had a few friends and colleagues who are practicing Muslims. It'd probably be a good idea to learn something more about their beliefs. I agree "it's all good". Kind of like different sales reps for the same company. ;-)

Jameil: True enough. I'm not planning to send them any money. I don't know much about nuns, but the concept fascinates me. Anyone who gives their whole life to spirituality and doing good deeds is a different kind of person than the average shmoe on the street. It's a whole different culture.

Karen: I don't know Joel Olsten. I'll have to keep an eye out for him. It's great that you get what you need from your religion. So many people are dissatisfied with their religion, or so it seems to me. Lots of lost souls seeking out there.

Keera: That does sound very interesting. I've heard that before about Jesus, that considering the part of the world he was from it's silly to imagine him with white skin. I'd like to see how they had him look in the documentary.

Aric Blue: There are always going to be people in any walk of life who lie, steal, and generally behave like jerks. Of course it's worse when they're masquerading as people who care. Even so, I do believe that there are sincere religious people, even the ones on TV. Thing is, since I'm not planning on sending them any of my money, if their words inspire me every morning, that's reason enough to tune in. I'm a pragmatist. It's working for now. That's good enough.

ConverseMomma said...

Can I get an AMEN!!!

Seriously, I think whatever works for the heart and soul, is important to incorporate into your daily life.

My hubs calls himself a jew-bu! Jewish by birth, buddhist by choice. Pretty cool!

Anonymous said...

HA! HA! I thought you were going to say you bite your toenails or something. I say whatever gets you going. Even it if means trying to contort yourself into a pretzel to get at those toenails.

Keera Ann Fox said...

Jesus most likely would have looked Semitic, with a squarer face, short hair and clean-shaven. He was able to disappear into crowds, which he wouldn't do if he stood out in appearance. Also, the documentary folks suggested he would be strong-looking. Not only as a son of a carpenter, with hands used to handling tools, but because he was able to carry his own cross.

I've never cared for the hippie-type faces I've seen of Jesus so I'd love to see an alternative. Even a Black Jesus, like in Madonna's "Like a Prayer" video. It looks right, for some reason.

Warped Mind of Ron said...

As long as you get something positive out of it and they don't convince you to mail in a paycheck enjoy it.

Sparkling Red said...

Conversemomma: Amen! :-)
I almost became a Jew-bu a few years back. Buddhism has a lot of wisdom.

1218blog: I can honestly say that I have never once been tempted to bite my toenails. Although considering some of the bad habits people choose, that one's not so awful. ;-)

Keera: Is it inappropriate to say that he sounds attractive? ;-)

Ron: No worries. Their "thank you" keychain isn't tempting me yet. :-)

Anonymous said...

Demons out!

Keera Ann Fox said...

I don't think it'd be wrong, Spark. After all, Mary Magdalene thought so, too. :-)

Nilsa S. said...

Have you read Trish Ryan's book? Oh, you really must. In some ways, the curiosity you display in this post reminds me of her.

Jenski said...

I will say that I don't think I have heard someone say they have a "habit" of watching Christian evangelistic TV shows. My friends were just giving me a very hard time for not being up on the news, but being up on blogs instead. Like you said, the news is depressing! That's great you found something that is uplifting to start your day!