January 29, 2013
Sunday morning talks shows had to go.
I don’t have cable or the like. So I didn’t need to give myself the rule of not watching 24-hour news cycle political coverage. I don’t have regular access to that stuff anyway. Even less so do I listen to talk radio of any kind. But I often turn on the TV morning news shows as I get ready to head into my day. So I had grown accustomed to listening to local or national commentators debate while I was getting ready for church.
Nixing George Stephanopolous didn’t mean I had to avoid all talk of politics or public policy. I still wanted to be an informed, engaged citizen. I would catch some political headlines on TV morning news shows as I got ready for work. I was pleased when on rare occasion my schedule allowed me to watch the national evening news. And my work and volunteer service allowed me to impact public policy. But as a political junkie, I knew that I needed to pull myself away from the most negative influences—those that most enraptured, irritated, and side-tracked me.
I had grown even more addicted to TV political talk shows during the mayoral campaign I had worked. I often tuned in to see how our candidate would do during his interview or what opposing candidates had to say. Being up to speed on the tenor and amount of coverage we were getting on a variety of media outlets was important to our team as we developed policy positions and talking points.
Additionally, I had become so busy during the campaign that I stopped going to Sunday morning services. (It didn’t help that I was struggling to find a church that had what I was looking for. Nor did it help that my husband had given up on Christianity altogether. But those are stories for another day.) I had been church-hopping when the campaign started, though I was still connected to a mid-week, Small Group from my previous congregation. But when campaign staff meetings were scheduled for Sunday mornings, and I was busy watching all the local TV interviews in the morning anyway, it was easy enough to disengage from my previous routine of going to church. (It is my understanding that the busy candidate found a way to get himself to mass at least some Saturday nights. But for the first time in my life, my regular church attendance was interrupted—for about a year.)
Clearly, this politics stuff had contributed to me developing more than one unhealthy Sabbath habit. Sleeping in a bit and watching political talk shows had become my new Sunday morning routine. Pulling myself away from those shows was going to be quite a doosie. But it was very important to my reclaiming my Sunday mornings for a focus on God.
Having just moved to a new home as my political sabbatical began, I also started looking for a church in my new neighborhood. It sure was easier to get moving and out the door on my quest for a new congregation when I wasn’t engrossed in Face the Nation. And once I found a church home, I arrived there in a much better mood and more ready for worship than I did in the past. Lingering aggravation about political commentary no longer ruled my Sunday mornings.
Not watching Sunday morning talk shows has another benefit. It helps me better honor my husband. He dislikes TV news, generally, and often gets worked up even more than I do over political rhetoric and posturing. He much prefers TV-less and politics-free peace and quiet any morning of the week.
This past Sunday, the intro to Meet the Press appeared on my screen just before I switched the boob tube off. Old habits die hard. But, all-in-all, I’m doing pretty well in beating back that temptation post-sabbatical.
Now both I and my hubby are in a better frame of mind as we try to enjoy Sundays together and endeavor to make it a true day of rest.
More on that one later.