Are you distressed that television competes with family worship in your home? Worry no more. The Rev. Robert S. Macnicol offers you a way out. Following the old maxim, “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em,” this Church of Scotland minister suggests in a new book that we convert our nightly session with the one-eyed monster into an occasion for family worship. His recommendation: Before turning on the set, the family should pray, “God be in my head and in my understanding.” If we say grace before eating a meal, he reasons, why not pray before viewing TV? And who knows, maybe prayer is more needed before televiewing than before gluttony.
Lest you hastily dismiss this latest wrinkle in sacred-secular synthesis, consider how TV may lend itself to your religious life. Do we not all need divine wisdom to understand why the TV prophets of profits offer us such continual trivia? We can be thankful, though, that the high priests in television city do provide different services to please everyone: for high churchmen—living color; for low churchmen—black and white.
Checking TV Guide, I found many program titles fraught with theological significance. If you want light on the doctrine of man, you might tune in such shows as “Lost in Space,” “Jeopardy,” “The Fugitive,” “Bewitched,” “Death Valley Days,” or “The Monkees.” For ethics, try “To Tell the Truth,” “Let’s Make a Deal,” or “Love on a Rooftop.” Television also offers certain messianic figures: “Captain Nice,” “Mr. Terrific,” and “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” (or, if you prefer, “The Girl from U.N.C.L.E.”). Some shows apparently deal with demonology: “Dennis the Menace” and “The Green Hornet.” If you desire eschatology, dial “It’s About Time” or “Star Trek.” And don’t forget ...1
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