Binge-watching shows is the norm – a decade of changes

Binge-watching shows is the norm.  At least according to 247temp.com.  

Binge-watching shows is the norm - a decade of changes is article #7 in the series: Ten years of life changes. Click button to view titles for entire series

Binge-watching shows is the normHere’s what 247temp.com had to say about binge-watching shows being common.

If you can watch more than one episode of your favorite show in one sitting, why wouldn’t you? Waiting a week to find out if Rachel got off the plane can be painful. Luckily, you don’t have to. About 60% of all TV viewers report binge watching at least once a week, according to a 2018 Morning Consult/Hollywood Reporter poll. It’s common for people to even cancel plans so they can stay home and binge watch. As much as 36% of all viewers also prefer series that release the entire season at a time.

For anyone who’s been under a rock for many years, binge-watching is defined as the practice of watching multiple episodes of a television program in rapid succession, typically by means of DVDs or digital streaming.

Is binge-watching bad?  It seems to be rather popular.  I can’t imagine sitting there watching an entire series of shows in one session.  I think I’d fall asleep.  Or more likely, do something else while the TV’s on for sound.  Even more likely, I just wouldn’t do it.  But that’s me.  My preference doesn’t make something good or bad.  

Since this is a site about God, let’s turn to the Bible.  See what it says about binge-watching.  I’m guessing there wasn’t a lot of it going on back in biblical times.  After all, there weren’t any TVs, let alone DVRs or the Internet.

Can bingeing keep us away from God?

Just a small side note.  After typing “bingeing”, it looked really weird.  But so did dropping the “e” and having “binging”.  So I looked it up.  Apparently both are OK.  But – 

To binge means to overindulge, usually for a brief period. Both binging and bingeing are acceptable, according to dictionaries. However, around 1980, retaining the E became distinctly more popular than dropping it, according to Google Ngram Viewer.

The fraternity put a ban on bingeing on alcohol.
I spent the first day of summer vacation binging on television.

So with that little piece of trivia in mind, we’ll go with bingeing.

In any case, can bingeing keep us away from God?  Yes.   I was going to write up some examples, but I actually found a couple that work quite nicely.  They came up when I was looking into whether any of the more contemporary Bible translations started using the word binge.

Finding the word binge in the Bible.

At first, I thought that searching for “binge” in the Bible is going to come up empty.  Well, searching the more “traditional” translations will come up empty.  But what about the newest translations?

I actually did find “binge” in two Bible translations.  

Binge in The Word Bible 

Here’s the first one, with the complete passage for context.  It’s from 1 Peter 4:1-11.

Living for God’s Glory

1 Forasmuch then as Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind; for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin; 2 that you no longer should live the rest of your time in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the will of God. 3 For we have spent enough of our past time doing the desire of the Gentiles, and having walked in lewdness, lusts, drunken binges, orgies, carousings, and abominable idolatries. 4 They think it is strange that you don’t run with them into the same excess of riot, blaspheming: 5 who will give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. 6 For to this end the Good News was preached even to the dead, that they might be judged indeed as men in the flesh, but live as to God in the spirit.

7 But the end of all things is near. Therefore be of sound mind, self-controlled, and sober in prayer. 8 And above all things be earnest in your love among yourselves, for love covers a multitude of sins. 9 Be hospitable to one another without grumbling. 10 As each has received a gift, employ it in serving one another, as good managers of the grace of God in its various forms. 11 If anyone speaks, let it be as it were the very words of God. If anyone serves, let it be as of the strength which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.

And the second one is from The Message Bible translation.  It’s from 1 Corinthians 11:17-34.

17 Regarding this next item, I’m not at all pleased. I am getting the picture that when you meet together it brings out your worst side instead of your best! 18 First, I get this report on your divisiveness, competing with and criticizing each other. I’m reluctant to believe it, but there it is. 19 The best that can be said for it is that the testing process will bring truth into the open and confirm it. 20 And then I find that you bring your divisions to worship – you come together, and instead of eating the Lord’s Supper, 21 you bring in a lot of food from the outside and make pigs of yourselves. Some are left out, and go home hungry. Others have to be carried out, too drunk to walk. I can’t believe it! 22 Don’t you have your own homes to eat and drink in? Why would you stoop to desecrating God’s church? Why would you actually shame God’s poor? I never would have believed you would stoop to this. And I’m not going to stand by and say nothing.

23 Let me go over with you again exactly what goes on in the Lord’s Supper and why it is so centrally important. I received my instructions from the Master himself and passed them on to you. The Master, Jesus, on the night of his betrayal, took bread. 24 Having given thanks, he broke it and said, This is my body, broken for you. Do this to remember me. 25 After supper, he did the same thing with the cup: This cup is my blood, my new covenant with you. Each time you drink this cup, remember me. 26 What you must solemnly realize is that every time you eat this bread and every time you drink this cup, you reenact in your words and actions the death of the Master. You will be drawn back to this meal again and again until the Master returns. You must never let familiarity breed contempt.

27 Anyone who eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Master irreverently is like part of the crowd that jeered and spit on him at his death. Is that the kind of “remembrance” you want to be part of? 28 Examine your motives, test your heart, come to this meal in holy awe. 29 If you give no thought (or worse, don’t care) about the broken body of the Master when you eat and drink, you’re running the risk of serious consequences. 30 That’s why so many of you even now are listless and sick, and others have gone to an early grave. 31 If we get this straight now, we won’t have to be straightened out later on. 32 Better to be confronted by the Master now than to face a fiery confrontation later.

33 So, my friends, when you come together to the Lord’s Table, be reverent and courteous with one another. 34 If you’re so hungry that you can’t wait to be served, go home and get a sandwich. But by no means risk turning this Meal into an eating and drinking binge or a family squabble. It is a spiritual meal – a love feast. The other things you asked about, I’ll respond to in person when I make my next visit.

Pretty intense stuff, isn’t it?

The first says we, Christians, should have left our drunken binges in the past.  And the second – wow.  A warning about turning the Lord’s Table into a drinking binge.  Of course that kind of thing would turn us away from God.

But what about binge-watching TV?

Well, since televisions didn’t exist back then, we’re not going to find binge-watching TV in the Bible.  Instead, let’s look at something Paul wrote to the church in Philippi.

Shining as Stars

Phil 2:12 Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.

Phil 2:14 Do everything without complaining or arguing, 15 so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe 16 as you hold out the word of life—in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing. 17 But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you. 18 So you too should be glad and rejoice with me.

Question.  Do you think binge-watching TV is in line with – Phil 2:14 Do everything without complaining or arguing, 15 so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe 16 as you hold out the word of life.

I dare say, we’d be hard-pressed to say yes.

Even binge-watching Christian TV, if there even really is such a thing, seems questionable.  What happens to the concept of a Christian community when we’re in front of a TV for all that time?  And isn’t watching the box kind of mind numbing anyway?  

No – I’m not saying watching sermons and things on TV is, in and of itself, a bad thing.  I’m just asking how long can we really just sit and watch without doing anything be a good thing?

What’s my point with all this?  John records Jesus saying a prayer for His disciples.  That prayer expresses my point.

Jesus Prays for His Disciples

Jn 17:6 “I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. 7 Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. 8 For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me. 9 I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours.

Check out that last verse.  I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours.  It seems a bit shocking.  This prayer from Jesus isn’t for the whole world.  Not for everyone.  Only for the ones given to Him by the Father.  The disciples.  And even then, only 11 of them, since we know Judas wasn’t a true follower.

10 All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them. 11 I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name—the name you gave me—so that they may be one as we are one. 12 While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled.

Jn 17:13 “I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. 14 I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. 15 My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. 17 Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. 19 For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.”

Notice especially this sentence:  15 My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.  Jesus isn’t asking that His disciples be taken out of the world.  In fact, He’s praying that they not fall victim to the evil one.  And even there, it isn’t that problems won’t come up because of Satan.  Rather, the prayer is about this:

17:15 keep them from the evil one. Jesus knows that the world will hate His disciples as it hated Him, but He does not ask for the disciples to be protected from suffering, but rather that they would be kept from the evil one. It is not the physical or social troubles of the world from which Jesus wishes His disciples to be “kept,” but from its moral corruption. See “Christians in the World” at Col. 2:20.  1)Whitlock, L. G., Sproul, R. C., Waltke, B. K., & Silva, M. (1995). The Reformation study Bible: bringing the light of the Reformation to Scripture: New King James Version (Jn 17:15). Nashville: T. Nelson.

Yes, it’s about the possible moral corruption that can come from being in the world.  You know – as in watching so much TV full of violence, sex, drugs, Etc. that we forget where the line is between right and wrong.

Just in case there’s any question about whether that prayer applies to us – Jesus’ disciples today – the prayer continues.

Jesus Prays for All Believers

Jn 17:20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.

Here, Jesus modifies that earlier statement about His prayer for being for  the world.  It’s really for more than just the 11 disciples that truly followed Him.  But also for less than everyone. 

It’s for anyone who decides to follow Jesus.  Back then, since then, now, and until what Jesus called the End of the Age.  That prayer above is for every person who truly decides to follow Jesus.  For more on what that really means, I invite you to check out Are we supposed to Believe God, Believe in God or Follow God? over on my other site.

22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: 23 I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

Jn 17:24 “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.

Jn 17:25 “Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. 26 I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”

That second passage is an excellent example of why we shouldn’t just pull something out of the Bible without examining surrounding text for context.  If I only included the first passage, Jesus Prays for His Disciples, I’d give you the impression that Jesus didn’t pray for anyone other than the original 11 disciples.  But now we know, He prayed for today’s followers as well.

Conclusion – Binge-watching shows is the norm

Yes, binge-watching may very well be the norm for people today.  But then, Christians aren’t supposed to follow the norms of society in general.  We’re called to be different.  Like different as Paul described in his letter to the church in Ephesus.

Made Alive in Christ

Eph 2:1 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. 4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Once again, we see references to the way we used to be and the way we should become.  The differences before becoming a Christian and afterwards.  Not that it’s an instant thing, as is pointed out in Pop Tart Christians.  It’s a process.  And part of that process is getting away from bad habits, like binge-watching TV shows.

BTW – I’m not saying never do it.  I’m saying don’t make a habit of doing it.  Our habits, the things we normally do, should be things that will bring glory to God.

So if you’re a Christian, keep in mind that we should be like a light on a hill – not like a noisy gong.


Image by Peggy und Marco Lachmann-Anke from Pixabay


 

References   [ + ]

1. Whitlock, L. G., Sproul, R. C., Waltke, B. K., & Silva, M. (1995). The Reformation study Bible: bringing the light of the Reformation to Scripture: New King James Version (Jn 17:15). Nashville: T. Nelson.

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