Sunday, July 22, 2007


I sometimes think about conflicting things in my life and wonder what it says about me and the direction of my family. I also wonder on a macro level about how these things affect our culture, and the future of our culture. It has been said that our post-modern times are fundamentally contradictory. We think the world is falling apart, yet we consume and waste like there's no tomorrow. Religion is down, but spirituality is up. We build huge homes, yet the typical family spends less and less time together in them. We buy in to all these time-saving devices, yet feel as though we've never been busier.

My tensions, or conflicts are many, but here are some related specifically to technology that I've been thinking about lately.

On the one hand, I want a huge 1080p HD television with a BluRay player and HD satellite or cable so I can enjoy and experience the best in modern home theater entertainment. On the other hand, I want to get rid of our 27 inch CRT because of the low priority I want to place on it and how, compared to the average family, how infrequently we watch it.

On the one hand, I want to subscribe to cable or satellite service that delivers a million channels, especially the ones I know I enjoy, History channel, ESPN, Discovery, and so on, mostly so that I can spend my time flipping through all my options, not necessarily settling on one thing to watch. On the other hand, I need to be content with my life line cable, the major networks, a couple of Spanish channels, some PBS, WGN and TNT. Oh, and CPAN 2, for some reason. Why pay the money for all those extra channels if we're trying so hard to de-emphasize TV in our family?

On the one hand, I want an iPhone. Those things look so cool! On the other hand, I want to get rid of my cell phone. Not because I dislike it, but because let's face it, do I really NEED a cell phone? I pay Sprint $68/month so that people can reach me nearly on demand; yet I have email, voice mail at home and voice mail at work. I'm not THAT important!

On the one hand, I should dump MLB. It's a commitment. I've replaced the vacuum created by hardly watching TV with baseball. But for some reason I enjoy it so much. On the other, I enjoy it so much!

One the one hand, I should dump my online Blockbuster subscription. What a crazy thing it is to devalue TV/Cable/Satellite, think I'm clever because I'm not spending extra money on all those channels but then get movies I sometimes don't care about in the mail. And then I watch them! I should read a book! On the other hand, I enjoy movies. I like being caught up on what's being produced. I like the story telling, the art, even-- the production of movies. I enjoy a story, of just about any subject, told well.

As I type this I am becoming aware that what I'm dealing with is not a conflict of interests, but a conflict of values. I do value gadgets. I don't know why. I guess I also value the art of movies, the drama (though not all see it that way) of baseball.

I have not settled on where the moderate level of all these things would be. I jump in to a thing and soak it all up sometimes, even if it means just soaking it up on the periphery. I am not sure I have arrived at priorities. I mean, beyond the very important things of God, my wife, and my kids, these other things must descend in some meaningful way from there. I am uneasy or, uncertain, anyway, about how all this should balance in my life.