Saturday, January 29, 2005

The Saga of the Button Pusher

Since Christmas, I have made much use of my Christmas present. You see, I'm one of those "hard to shop for" people. I usually don't want much. Maybe a sweater or a pair of jeans. But this past year, my family got the one thing they knew I wanted and would use - satellite radio. I'll admit that it sounds like such an incredible luxury (and it is), but the reason I use it so much is that the radio in my truck is lucky to pick up static. The local station fades out while I am less than two miles from the signal tower. So having satellite radio gives me something to listen to during all the driving. And listen is what I do; not just in the truck, but in the house also. I figure that if I'm going to pay for keeping the service, I'm sure going to get my money's worth!

So as a subscriber to Sirius satellite radio I now have around 120 channels to choose from. There is almost every kind of music imaginable on individual channels -- smooth jazz, traditional jazz, raggae, new country, relatively old country, really old country -- you get the idea. There are also a bunch of sports-talk and news-talk stations, ten regional weather channels, comedy stations and some stations you would have to hear to believe. Now to complicate things, I'm a button pusher. If I don't care about what's on then I hit the next preset or roll to the next channel. I try to sit and listen to one station sometimes, but eventually I'll try for something else.

There is one station which features all Contemporary Christian music - channel 12. I like channel 12 just fine. I listen to channel 12 more than any other channel. But it seems I'm always hitting the buttons to switch to 148 to hear a talk show or 146 to hear comedy bits. Many times it's other types of music I go after. Maybe it's 14, 15 or 16 to hear classic rock or 72 for jazz or 32 for country oldies. It seems there are always a bunch of channels begging for my listening.

It hit me this week that my Christian walk can sometimes resemble my radio habits. There is that one focus for my life -- my own version of channel 12 -- which is Jesus Christ. But there is always the call from the other channels trying to drown out what I'm hearing. It's not always the bad stuff either. Channel 26 is my wife trying to get me to do what I have promised to do. Channels 27, 28 and 29 have the concerns of my three kids. Channel 9 broadcasts the needs of my shirt business, while Channel 3 is for pastoral concerns. Then there are my hobby stations: 33 for IndyRacing, 56 for NFL football, 77 for college basketball, 41 for history, and a host of others which are naturally a part of my life. Channel 12 -- my Christian walk -- usually blends well with these concerns. Apparently the channels with one or two digits can be tuned in with or without channel 12 humming along in the background. My desire is to keep it on at all times.

The trouble is that there are another hundred or so stations which the world broadcasts especially to pull me away from my Christian walk. Those triple-digit channels cannot be heard while channel 12 is being received. Channel 139 is greed. Channel 160 is lust. Channel 183 is hatred. Channel 128 is laziness. These stations don't just compete for my attention, they try to keep me away from dear old channel 12.

It's easy to be a button pusher in life. There are a ka-jillion choices out there. Some of them blend in beautifully with a Christian way of life. But too much time on these stations cause us to lose our focus also. Even family is not a substitute for a relationship with Christ. Of course too many channels exist only to pull us away. Jesus said that men loved the darkness because their deeds were bad. It's easy to keep hitting the envy button or the obscenity button because that's what the world around us is listening to. We hate to be left out.

There is always a battle for our minds. It never ceases. And there's always another button waiting to be pushed. I'm glad channel 12 comes in so clearly.

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