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Beware the Undertow  

My wife and I have proudly joined the 2010s.  We now have Netflix on our TV.  Since all the cool kids went there a long time ago, I guess we're not so cool. But we are enjoying a lot of what we see.  From tours of English castles to hilarious movies to mind-expanding  (and downright entertaining) TV series, it’s been fun.

But as delightfully distracting as Netflix is for a season like Coronavirus, it flows into our homes with a deceptive undertow.

I shouldn't be surprised by the unrelenting push to watch more episodes of whatever we just watched.  But it does bug me that my helpful profile is that helpful. 

Netflix (and its media twin, Hulu) have given birth to the concept of binge-watching. Our culture not only accepts the idea—we celebrate it.

Not so fast.  Philippians 4:5 urges, "Let your moderation be known unto all men." Not your binge-watching.  Why?  The verse finishes, "The Lord is at hand."

I dislike that Netflix not only knows what I've seen but brings to my attention with annoying regularity those episodes I have not seen.   As if I am cheating myself for being a TV slacker.

Understand—I don’t wish to trash Netflix.  There is much good to celebrate in its offerings.  But the most uncomfortable part of our streaming relationship is the inescapable undertow of evil.  There is a relentless invitation—an urging, even— to watch things that are  NOT honorable, pure, lovely, and of good repute, the biblical grid laid out in Philippians 4:8.

None of this is a surprise for genuine Christ-followers. And we are surely not the first to struggle with our culture. In his best-loved hymn, Isaac Watts asks, “ Is this vile world a friend to grace, to help me on to God?”  His reply must be ours as well:

“Since I must fight if I would reign,

  Increase my courage, Lord!

I’ll bear the toil, endure the pain,

  Supported by Thy Word.”

 

Streaming television?  It’s great! 

Just beware of the undertow.

 

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Jon GaugerJon Gauger

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