Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Caesar of Leisure Part 1

Friends for the past week I have been reading this awesome book by Trevin Wax entitled “Holy Subversion”. The premise of this book is about how Christians should be living their lives and what they need to subvert in their lives to really live for Jesus. The term “subverting” in this book refers to “undermining” or “Pushing” something back down to its proper place. Another term Trevin uses in his book is “Caesar”. Caesar of course comes from back in the days of the Roman Empire. During Jesus ministry the Roman Empire ruled most of the known world and the leaders of the Romans were referred to as Caesar, named after Julius Caesar.

The early Caesars had been declared “divine” shortly after their deaths and before long the Caesars began accepting that title of worship during their lives and expected to be treated as such. Everyone under the rule of the Romans were forced to bow down and confess Caesar as Lord. So when he talks about the Caesars of today he is talking about anything we put up as idols and worship instead of worshiping Jesus, these include money, power, sex, self, success and leisure. The Caesar I would like to talk about is one that is dear to my heart “Leisure”

It’s funny that I chose this topic because my brother and I have had many discussions on this topic and I have always came back with my balance theory. That theory meaning you should balance your time with God, family, work and friends. Trevin Wax devotes an entire chapter of his book to this subject and I will be quoting a lot of it. He writes

“We can enjoy the fruits of our labor, admire beautiful art, soak up the glory of creation, and play sports and games for recreation. Yet leisure is all to ready to leave its proper place in our lives and steal the throne. Instead of being a friend to a hard worker, leisure often morphs into a taskmaster that squeezes the life out of us. Just as the early church rejected the addictive entertainment of the Roman games, subversive communities of faith will encourage believers to consciously monitor their media intake. In order to subvert the Caesar of Leisure, we must begin thinking seriously about our free time, structuring our time in order to show that God is our first priority, and focusing our leisure time on people instead of the newest distractions of our entertainment culture”

Does this sound familiar? I will be the first one to tell you I have been bowing to the Caesar of Leisure. I posed this question during our monthly men’s ministry meeting while discussing starting a book study “are we spending as much time in the Word as we are on Facebook” ? This was in response to a question of do we have the time for a book study. What are some other things that fall into the category being a Caesar for our Leisure?

How about TV? We might as well go for the jugular here. Trevin talks a little bit about the good ole Television set and its impact on American culture. John Piper also writes in his book “Don’t Waste your Life” “Television is one of the greatest life-wasters of the modern age. And, of course, the Internet is running to catch up, and may have caught up. You can be more selective on the Internet, but you can also select worse things with only the Judge of the universe watching. TV still reigns as the great life-waster. The main problem with TV is not how much smut is available, though that is a problem. Just the ads are enough to sow fertile seeds of greed and lust, no matter what program you’re watching. The greater problem is banality. A mind fed daily on TV diminishes. Your mind was made to know and love God. Its facility for this great calling is ruined by excessive TV. The content is so trivial and so shallow that the capacity of the mind to think worthy thoughts withers and the capacity of the heart to feel deep emotions shrivels”

Now before you go out and start giving away your TV sets and cutting the cable off like some people have been proud to announce to the world that they have done, sit back and think of ways that you can use the TV to bring the family together and not drive apart. One of the biggest issues with TV that Trevin brings up is the fact that everyone has their own TV and the family no longer spends time together watching it. Again I have this issue in my house as well. With today’s incomes and the low cost of TV’s it’s easy to provide every member of your house to include the dog a TV, and I’m not saying that your family must watch TV together all the time but it is something that at times should be done together. So what is the answer?

Trevin suggests one way would be to practice “intentional TV watching”. That would be getting a movie the family would enjoy watching together and making it a family event, or watching a favorite TV show that everyone enjoys. Some of my fondest memories as a child was watching the “Walton’s” with my family. We had one TV and it was in my Aunt Kay’s room that she shared with my mother (yes we were poor) but that one night a week we would all pile up on her bed and watch what was going on with John Boy and Marry Ellen. My job was to make the popcorn for everyone. But that’s what we did back then and we loved it. My brother Tony and his family do something like this as well. They have a DVR and during the week record a lot of shows they like to watch as a family then on the weekends get together for some family time and catch up on the latest shows they like.

These are just a few solutions for subverting the TV idol. Remember you have more control over television than you know. You have the ability to record multiple shows at once while watching another. Use this to your advantage. Is there is a good show on and dinner is ready? Well record the show and sit down with the family and eat together and when you do get a chance to watch it you can fast forward through the commercials. Well this is all I have for this segment but on part 2 I will be talking about video games, sports, an overbooked calendar and about spending some quite time with God. I will leave you with EPH 5:15-17 ESV “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is” Peace and Blessing…Chris


Anonymous said...

Great post bro. I know that I am challenged with how I spend my "spare" time. I have been reading A.W. Tozer's book "The Pusuit of God". I am only through the first 2 chapters but he is hammering home this idea that relationships are really only deepened by the people trying to relate to each other spending time togther. That book and this post really make me realize that I cannot really grasp the accessibilty to the Father we have been given by Jesus at the cross. I am certain that if I knew I could go to the park or the mall and find God physically walking around waiting to hang out with me I would go there everyday and hang with Him. The reality is that we can and it doesn't require a trip anywhere, but yet I struggle to take the time. Challenging stuff bro! Thanks for posting.

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