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A Different Kind of Housecleaning

heartI’ve already told you about how focused our family has been in getting out of debt. The getting out of debt is just one of the steps we’ve done in an effort to clean house and focus our lives completely on God.

We have always been a faithful couple. The first time we held hands was to pray together over the first meal we ever shared. As we dated, we visited each other’s churches. One of our early dates was to spend a few hours browsing through a Christian bookstore. But while we’ve always been faithful, we had in the past held back “all.” And in the course of the last year, we’ve been working on giving it ALL to God, to make our entire lives – as individuals, as a married couple, and as a family – over to God and over to what He would have us do for Him, so that whatever we do will be used to glorify Him.

The closer we’ve grown to God, the stronger our marriage has become, the tighter our family has become, and the better our lives has become. While I’ve always been a happy, optimistic person, there’s now a joy to waking up every morning that I have never experienced. I look forward to each day and can’t wait for what opportunties will come my way where I can serve God.

bookDuring the last eighteen months or more, Gregg has been away from home most of the time for either his civillian job or his military service. One way we’ve had some quality time “together” has been to read books at the same time and discuss what we’ve read. In addition to a daily devotion that we do together and our own personal daily Bible reading, Gregg and I have read books on parenting, marriage, love, boys, girls, male sexuality, female sexuality, leaders in church, money…christianbooks.com has become a favorite site for us and we get regular shipments from them.

While reading these books and discussing what we discovered within them, several books pertaining to or addressing specifically modern culture, the world versus Christianity, and sexuality really convicted us. A couple that come directly to mind are Every Man’s Battle (if you have a son I STRONGLY recommend this book), Covenant Marriage, and 5 Conversations You Must Have With Your Daughter (if you have a daughter, I STRONGLY recommend this book). In them we discovered just how insidiously the sexual culture has leaked into Christian homes. We discovered how males are visually sexually charged and how women are charged by fantasy. We learned how men, without consciously doing it, will mentally place themselves in a sexual scene if they see one on television or in a movie. We learned how women do the same thing if they read a sexually explicit romance novel.

ratingsLearning all of this, we’ve cleaned our house. We removed any movie from our (extensive) home collection that had either premarital sex or gratuitous sexuality. In doing so, we were surprised at just how many of our “favorites” contained these things. My favorite movie of all time has always been The Terminator. I was probably 15 the first time I saw it, and it not only has premarital sex, it has an explicit sex scene in it. We’ve joked about the fact that we got to keep Aliens but had to get rid of For Love of the Game.

We stripped our bookshelves of my (more than extensive) collection of romance novels and are working through the novels that are left to make sure they meet our minimum standards. I changed the focus of my own writing from contemporary romance to inspirational romance.

And we canceled cable.

This wasn’t met with as much enthusiasm as the rest of it. Let me give you an idea of what television was like in our home up to now: we have two television sets but three TiVo’s. Why three TiVo’s? Because two of them could only record two shows at a single time. We often had more than two shows playing at one time that we wanted to watch. We actually created an Excel spreadsheet so that we could coordinate the TiVo’s and not miss a thing. Because a TiVo machine is just a computer running Linux, Gregg was able to hack them and upgrade their hard disks and connect them to our home network so that any computer in the house could upload or download a show that was recorded. It’s insane how our life revolved around television and the three TiVo’s.

But some of the shows are just so worldly that they no longer can be tolerated. An example: Bones. Our daughter, Kaylee, is 12 and LOVES Bones. Within Bones there is a lot of premarital sex – a lot, including a lesbian plotline. We ignored it because we enjoyed the unveiling of the mystery of that week, but cannot ignore it any longer. And Bones is not alone. I could fill this website with examples.

small Sky AngelSo, we cancelled cable this summer with plans to get a Christian satellite service. We’re looking at Sky Angel. It’s not something I want installed without Gregg home, so we’re waiting to install it. And, since the cable was cancelled and we have three TiVo’s complicatedly wired into our home network (hence the reason I’m waiting for the satellite), I haven’t been willing to try to do anything to get just regular television. Consequently, we have nothing.

On Facebook this week, I noticed that it was the Fall Telvision Premier week. I also noticed something else. I didn’t feel any pangs of withdrawl, any desire to reaquaint myself with last year’s shows or to even inspect any of the new shows coming. I find that I enjoy the DVD’s that we have in our collection now and enjoy the family time that is television free with the kids each night.

We don’t object to the concept of visual entertainment. We simply object to the barrage of sin that is presented in a way as to make it “normal”, “healthy”, “accepted”. We want our children to know that premarital sex is wrong regardless of what the latest heartrhrob is doing on the silver screen or which member of this season’s cast of the latest hospital drama is sleeping with whom on the small screen. The more they are exposed to it, the more they will accept it as the norm. The Bible tells us to flee from sexual immorality and makes it clear that what we see, we can take into our body sinfully. We are by no means righteous or perfect – but we are striving to be.

I challenge you to do your own research. Read the books. See what the world and the societal culture offers that you are inviting into your home, what you’re exposing yourself and your children to on a daily basis. See how it affects your brain, your spirit, your own triggers, and see what it can do to your children. There is a huge market for family friendly movies, programming, and books that can quite successfully replace what the world wants to give you in the form of entertainment. We recently built a fireplace mantle designed to hold a wide screened television. The plans for that television have not gone away – simply what we will allow to come through that television and into our lives and hearts and minds is what we have changed.

Hallee


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