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Giving up the News for Lent

I really like being well informed. I am concerned about public issues and the direction of our society. In fact, I’ve been quite religious about watching the “evening news.” Now I know some of you are thinking, “Who watches the evening TV news anymore?” Well, I do. And a large number of senior citizens must be watching, too, gauging by the flood of ads for prescription medicines that are aired during these programs. Sometimes I watch part of the BBC news at 5:30 on Public Television and then the PBS news hour starting at 6:00 and then switch over to CBS or NBC at 6:30. That’s my habit. I want to break it.

I have the potential for gaining around an hour a day for other things. I can use that hour for reading. Oh yes, I could just spend more time reading The Week or Time magazine, both of which I am currently receiving. And I could fill the extra time by reading more of the news summaries and links to more and more news that arrive on my phone and computer daily. But that would be missing the spirit of what I want to do. I can skip through those headlines and paragraphs in minutes the same as I do now.

So, what’s the point? First, I want to break the hold of this habit, one which I’ve had ever since the evening TV news programs came into existence! Honestly, we used to sit around in dorm commons areas watching Huntley & Brinkley on NBC or Walter Cronkite on CBS! Yes - I was there! This is a lifelong habit. So it’s a habit hard to break.

This is about letting go of something I am addicted to, and letting God get a grip on my time more freely. I’m not sure what I’ll do with that hour. Probably I’ll talk with Mary Ann part of the time. I’ll read some books I keep putting aside and not finishing. I’ve bought four new books in the past two weeks, for goodness sake, and I ought to read them!

OK, best of all, this will give me opportunity to take extra time to read and pray, to listen to the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ life. It really works great to listen on the YouVersion Bible App on my phone, by the way. And I want to ask God what He wants me to do about whatever I am reading or hearing. What is God’s will for my day, my evening, my week? That’s what this is all about.

I’m trying to trade some TV news time for the Good News time that I think God wants to use to shape my life. It’s that simple.

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