Friday, July 11, 2008

Timewasters 101

Okay, so I compiled a list of some things that I do that waste the most amount of my time from doing other things that would be far more productive in my life. Sadly, they are actually the typical and most obvious things.

T.V.- I spend a lot of time watching T.V. I really love stuff like Law & Order (but only the seasons with Lennie and Green as the detectives; sad I've seen enough episodes I can say that, eh?), Stargate, and X-Files, not to mention just about anything shown on The History Channel. However, over the last year, I've really begun to view my T.V. habits through the philosophy (I don't know if I made this up, or heard it from elsewhere- latter is most likely), "Philosophy is not always entertainment, but entertainment is always the by-product of someone's philosophy." Problems with most of the shows I like watching (particularly, those that are sci-fi/paranormal related): They are extremely anti-God and do not promote the Bible as the source of Objective, Absolute Truth. So, much as I- in my flesh- may enjoy wasting time on these things, I think it's time to start watching a whole lot more sparingly, lest I fall victim to allowing my view of God to be influenced by my entertainment.

Video games- I used to waste a ton of time on these, but not nearly so much of late. However, in response to my internet fast, I have deleted what few games I actually had on my computer off, and have made the decision that games will be for when I have friends over. Fun party games like Smash Bros., Mario Kart, and others of the like (notice the Nintendo emphasis there, though I obviously enjoyed playing Team Halo with the entire Wass Family-Jon and I in MN, James in WI, and his dad in Canada- via X-Box Live :-) ). The violence in a lot of games has become more than simply a matter of "survival to complete the mission" to just flat out excessive (take games like Hit Man and Grand Theft Auto- Vice City, for example, and I haven't even gotten into other moral content within some of these games). Not saying that the games are the cause for the problems in our society or my own life for that matter, but like with T.V., if we as Christians don't spend more time in God's Word than on the compy (or HD T.V.) screen, we're going to be spiritually adrift from our moorings pretty quickly, due to the poor theological influences contained within the games.

Sidenote: just for the record, I've heard a lot of erroneous teaching over the years regarding certain video game elements and characters. For example, for those who see the pikachu in the picture and are thinking that Pokemon is Japanese for pocket monsters and I'm now evil for enjoying a game with Pokemon characters in it, get a grip. The word actually means.... nothing in Japanese. It means about as much as the word "blah" means in English. I know, cause I went to school with an MK from Japan and spoke with him about this. There isn't anything inherently evil with the Pikachu character. There may, however, be some poor theology/philosophy if one watches the cartoon (which I have not, given- outside of old school anime like Voltron- I don't care for anime cartoons; even that like is more out of childhood nostalgia, than actual liking; kind of like old school Super Mario for the NES). Our arguments against elements of our pop culture need to be fought with an open and well known Bible in hand, not off the cuff Bible-thumping reactions. If you choose to go with the latter rather than the former, please permit me to send you an "I Don't Read my Bible" T-shirt. :-D With that in mind, side note ended.

Facebook- Yep, sorry (especially given this blog post will most likely be seen by people on Facebook than those who actually read the blog), but it's true. Facebook and email are actually my worst time wasters. You're probably thinking, "I haven't heard from Noah in forever. And, he's only got like 5 applications that he actually uses. How can it be that he claims to waste so much time on Facebook?" You'd be surprised. The whole you haven't heard from me in forever thing is partly why I don't use the applications. I'd prefer to actually communicate with as many people as I can when I can, rather than send them spam mail inviting them to use some application that doesn't really have personal meaning. Not to say that all applications are that way, but most of them are, or so it would seem.

Sidenote: if you received a notice that I blocked an application that you invited me to, please don't take it personally. The reality is, I decided it was time to start actually hitting the block button on those invites, since I only had 170 some invites that I hadn't hit ignore on, and it was logging up my Facebook activity, believe it or not.

Replacements- Not wanting to leave a vacuum of time that would then revert back or be worse, I have had to replace the time with some other valuable things. These include, but are not limited to:

Sleep- A lot of time wasted- particluarly on the internet side- resulted in sleep deprivation. Going to bed an hour or two earlier every night is helping to fix this problem.

Calling people- I actually prefer to call and talk to people, rather than emailing. Emailing just is not quite as personal. Granted, for some people, that is the only way I have available of keeping in touch (or Facebook). But, I do try to make it a habit to go through my contacts list in my phone from time to time and call people that I know I haven't talked to in a while. I like to stay as current as I can. Now that I have my phone plan, I can keep better track of my minutes used, too. With about two hours of driving every day, I have tons of time to talk, especially in the evening, when most people are available. I'm on ATT and my nights and weekends start at 7pm, so I have a lot of opportunities to talk to people in a way that (hopefully) doesn't cost them anything extra (except the time spent, of course), either.

Hanging out with friends- during the summer months, most of my friends are gone, but there are still a few who are around. I love roller blading and riding my bike, so what a better way to hang out with friends, especially if one of them has roller blades, also! It's great exercise, which is good for me and is needed- regardless of my waist size- and it's a great way to hang out. Video games are fun to play while hanging out with friends, also. Not to mention eating. That's always a good thing to do with friends. Board games are a fun diversion, also. Not to mention that- in most cases- the only philosophy and theology involved in such games is only those that you bring with you! Settlers of Catan was a great recent spend.

Writing- while coming up with ideas for writing on this blog (I have an interesting post I'm working on for next week, hopefully), working on my book (that I've been working on since summer 2005), coming up with ideas for future Sunday School/ Youth Group teaching curricula, I find that writing is rather enjoyable again. And, I have more time to do it (not to mention 10 more GB of hard drive space after deleting one game). One of these days I hope to afford Finale and start writing music again, too. Or perhaps take a bunch of the songs I've already written- but only have the music for them in my head- and actually put the words and music together in a readable (and playable/recordable) format.

More time in The Word- Last, but certainly not least, this is the most obvious choice, but not always the choice actually chosen by those of us who seek to use our time more wisely. It is very easy to forget in this age in which our god seems to be Entertainment rather than Jehovah (Someone told me recently that A.W. Tozer wrote an article to that effect; if you know where to find it, please do tell) that God should have first place and most place. I love how with some of my friends, I can be playing a game of Smash Bros. Brawl, Settlers, or just sitting down over dinner, and our conversation always comes back to topics of spirituality. Fellowship is all about encouraging one another spiritually to love God the way He loves us; doing everything within our power to help one another love God with all of our hearts, with all of our souls, with all of our minds, and with all of our might.

I hope that we wish to spend more time with the King of kings and Lord of lords instead of Wii, Sony, Microsoft, Dell, HP, and HD. None of the things in this life that we use to entertain us are bad in and of themselves, but far too often, we allow the entertainment to control and influence us instead of letting God, His Word, and His people have the control and influence in our lives.

Your thoughts: How do you spend your time? What are your biggest time wasters? What do you do with your time that helps you to chase after God (so, instead of time wasters, perhaps God-chasers for short?)?

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

I'm baaaaaaaaack....

Yep, that's right; Internet fast is now over. It was good for me, too. I learned a lot about myself and how I choose to spend my time. Was able to accomplish a number of things I normally didn't, too. So, with that being said, I'm not making any promises here, but I am hoping to post decently regularly (like once a week or along those lines). God is doing some amazing things in my life (well, at least to me it seems amazing), and He's showing me a lot. I hope that such insights will bring Metamorpho back to its semi-original purpose: to stimulate spiritual growth through the discussion of God's Word and showing how God's Word applies to issues happening in our day (given that the ORIGINAL purpose was for Jon, myself, and some friends to go through a book together and use the blog as our way of staying in touch with one another throughout the study since we couldn't find a time to meet, you can understand that the blog's purpose has grown a bit).

Other than that, I'll reply to everyone as I can. Don't be surprised if some of you get phone calls, instead. Laters!