As I reflect upon the year thus far, I realize that I owe a debt of gratitude to certain individuals, groups, and organizations. You have helped to make my life simpler, have reduced my stress levels, and have added to an overall sense of increased calm. I shall list these in no particular order:
The News Media – Because of your bombastic reporting, talking heads pontificating on subjects they know little about, ambushing interviewees, slanting coverage and viewpoints to one extreme or the other, and allowing guests to try to outshout each other to the point of bedlam, I have almost ceased watching the news altogether.
It has freed up several hours of time each week and I find that I am not nearly so aggravated, irritated, and agitated. I have also discovered that, if the news story is big enough, someone will tell me about it in a timely manner.
My thanks go out to CNN, CBS, ABC, NBC, FOX, MSNBC, and Georgia Public Radio (which I once supported financially), to mention just a few.
Politicians of all parties – You have convinced me that the brightest and best do not always get elected to office. Your public preening, rampant ambition, refusal to negotiate with the other parties, blind support of issues based solely on left and right, rampant and profound hypocrisy, have demonstrated to me that public service is not always altruistic, noble, or admirable.
So, I don’t enter into the food fight on social media (except on moral issues) and I keep more friends that way. The childish behavior demonstrated in at least two of the co-equal branches of government is downright embarrassing. We all know that term limits are sorely needed and we all know that our elected leaders are too selfish to support anything against their own interests.
The National Football League – While I do not place all players in this category, a bunch of you guys have given me my Sunday afternoons, Monday nights, and Thursday nights back. I lost friends who fought under the American flag and your decision to “take a knee” during the playing of our National Anthem has disgusted me to the point that I have decided not to watch you this year.
You remind me of spoiled surly, rich kids who, not getting their way, hold their breath and turn blue. You fancy yourselves as warriors — you are not. You view football as combat — it is not.
While this country has given you, under its capitalist system, the ability to be highly paid for your many talents, you are still an athlete and it is still just a game.
The heroes that you denigrate who serve under this flag are the true warriors and they are engaged in combat as we speak.
We do not want to see you protest. We want you to entertain us. Until that changes, I will watch college football and root for the SEC and the ACC — and maybe Notre Dame.
Public Television – PBS, you have been an oasis in a dry land. Thanks to those previously mentioned, I have found the time and the interest to search your offerings and have been delighted. I have discovered “Midsomer Murders,” “Father Brown,” the “Doctor Blake Mysteries,” and a number of other wonderful programs.
I also must add some non-PBS channels where I learn a great deal about history, the military, science, and bizarre foods (which has helped me to taste foods that I never would have before). PBS has also brought back rock, R&B, Motown, and other musical offerings from my long ago past. I find myself becoming relaxed, informed, and entertained.
My Kindle – Because of the News Media, politicians, and time taken by the NFL during the fall, I haven’t had much time to read non-work-related stuff. Having slowed down a bit, I find that my Kindle allows my mind to investigate and to wander and wonder as never before. In fact, the TV is mostly turned off these days and I am quite content to read those books I never had time to read before.
So, for vastly different reasons, thank you, News Media, politicians, the NFL, Public Television, and the Kindle for helping, in your own unique ways, to restore some modicum of balance to my hectic life.
I look forward to re-visiting the first three should you ever grow up and quit taking yourselves so seriously. In the meantime, it’s time to go read Book 11 of the Mitch Rapp series.
[David Epps is the pastor of the Cathedral of Christ the King, Sharpsburg, GA (www.ctkcec.org)., 4881 Hwy. 34 East, Sharpsburg, GA. Sunday services are at 10:00 a.m. He is the bishop of the Mid-South Diocese which consists of Georgia and Tennessee (www.midsouthdiocese.org). He may contacted at email@example.com.]