The stranger.

The Stranger

(Author Unknown)

A few months before I was born, my dad met a stranger who was new to our small town. From the beginning, dad was fascinated with this enchanting newcomer, and soon invited him to live with our family. The stranger was quickly accepted and was around to welcome me into the world a few months later.

As I grew up I never questioned his place in our family. Mom taught me to love the word of God, and dad taught me to obey it. But the stranger was our storyteller. He could weave the most fascinating tales. Adventures, mysteries and comedies were daily conversations. He could hold our whole family spell-bound for hours each evening.

If I wanted to know about politics, history, or science, he knew it all. He knew about the past, understood the present, and seemingly could predict the future. The pictures he could draw were so life like that I would often laugh or cry as I watched.

He was like a friend to the whole family. He took Dad, Bill and me to our first football game. He was always encouraging us to see the movies and he even made arrangements to introduce us to several movie stars.

The stranger was an incessant talker. Dad didn’ t seem to mind but sometimes mom would quietly get up while the rest of us were enthralled with one of his stories of faraway places and go to her room, read her Bible and pray. I wonder now if she ever prayed that the stranger would leave.

You see, my dad ruled our household with certain moral convictions. But this stranger never felt obligation to honor them. Profanity, for example, was not allowed in our house–not  from us, from our friends, or adults. Our longtime visitor, however, used occasional four letter words that burned my ears and made dad squirm. To my knowledge the stranger was never confronted. My dad was a teetotaler who didn’t permit alcohol in his home–not even for cooking. But the stranger felt like we needed exposure and enlightened us to other ways of life. He offered us beer and other alcoholic beverages often.

He made cigarettes look tasty, cigars manly, and pipes distinguished. He talked freely (too much too freely) about sex. His comments were sometimes blatant, sometimes suggestive, and generally embarrassing. I know now that my early concepts of the man-woman relationship were influenced by the stranger.

As I look back, I believe it was the grace of God that the stranger did not influence us more. Time after time he opposed the values of my parents. Yet he was seldom rebuked and never asked to leave.

More than thirty years have passed since the stranger moved in with the young family on Morningside Drive. He is not nearly so intriguing to my Dad as he was in those early years. But if I were to walk into my parents home today, you would still see him sitting over in a corner, waiting for someone to listen to him talk and watch him draw his pictures.

His name?…..We always just called him…TV

See also The Stranger sermon by Pastor Tim Conway.

6 thoughts on “The stranger.

  1. As I recently found here: http://www.sounddoctrine.com/tv_shep.htm and sent out to my YahooGroup:

    The TV is my Shepherd, I shall not want anything else.

    It maketh me to lie down on the sofa. It leadeth me away from the Scripture.

    It destroyeth my soul. It leadeth me in the paths of sex and violence for the sponsors sake.

    Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will enjoy the evil, for blood and sex, they excite me.

    It prepares a filthy commercial before me in the presence of my children.

    It anoints my head with humanism.

    My coveting runneth over.

    Surely laziness and ignorance shall follow my family all the days of our lives, and we shall dwell in the house watching TV forever.

  2. Wow…that was a good sermon illustration! It’s sad how many Christians allow all kinds of filth to come into their lives and their family just because it’s a TV…

  3. Great stuff! I would recomend everyone to read the book “Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business” by Neil Postman, a great read for anyone looking into this topic and it’s wider impact in our culture. Here are a few great quotes from the book:

    “[It] is not that television is entertaining but that it has made entertainment itself the natural format for the representation of all experience. […] The problem is not that television presents us with entertaining subject matter but that all subject matter is presented as entertaining.” – Neil Postman

    “Television screens saturated with commercials promote the utopian and childish idea that all problems have fast, simple, and technological solutions. You must banish from your mind the naive but commonplace notion that commercials are about products. They are about products in the same sense that the story of Jonah is about the anatomy of whales. ”
    ― Neil Postman

    “Our politics, religion, news, athletics, education and commerce have been transformed into congenial adjuncts of show business, largely without protest or even much popular notice. The result is that we are a people on the verge of amusing ourselves to death.”
    ― Neil Postman

    “When a population becomes distracted by trivia, when cultural life is redefined as a perpetual round of entertainments, when serious public conversation becomes a form of baby-talk, when, in short, a people become an audience, and their public business a vaudeville act, then a nation finds itself at risk; culture-death is a clear possibility.”
    ― Neil Postman

    “For in the end, he was trying to tell us what afflicted the people in ‘Brave New World’ was not that they were laughing instead of thinking, but that they did not know what they were laughing about and why they had stopped thinking.”
    ― Neil Postman

  4. Leo – agreed! The men in my church were assigned that book last year (we get one book a month to read) as part of our “life style evaluation”. Very good insight by a pagan in that book.

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