One of the most difficult side effects of my chemotherapy has been a condition known as “chemo brain”. Some people scoff at this “excuse”, assuming cancer patients are blaming chemo for their forgetfulness. Trust me, it’s real. It is hard to lose all sense of focus, forget the simplest of words, and be unable to put two sentences together in a legible fashion. It is a struggle… and I am a deep thinker. I love to bury myself in books that challenge me. If I am going to watch a movie, I want it to have a purpose to it. And if I watch television, it needs to be more than crude humor and sexual innuendo. I want something well-written, thought-provoking… something to challenge my mindset.

You can imagine how difficult the past few weeks have been for me. The physical pain and exhaustion from my treatments often leave me with hours of just lying in bed unable to do anything… definitely nothing focused going on! My dismay has only increased as I turn on the TV looking for something to fill my time that doesn’t require “work”. I haven’t watched daytime television in years, and let’s not get me started on the prime-time trash that’s out there… nightly soap operas focused on who’s cheating on or sleeping with whom, off-color comedy, and let’s see how belittling we can be to men in our culture of feminism.

But I digress… in the space of 2 hours (I’m embarrassed to admit I even wasted that much time) of flipping around trying to find something mildly entertaining, I was apalled at the mind-numbing drivel that fills the airwaves or soundwaves or whatever it’s called (see, chemo brain is real). Here’s a taste:

First, there’s Regis and Kelly. Okay, I actually didn’t see them that day, but I’ve watched them enough in waiting rooms over the past 2 months. Let’s spend 20 minutes talking about ourselves, then we can spend 15 more talking about who’s hot and who’s not on the red carpet. Why? Why do we spend so much time obsessed with beauty and with belittling those who we don’t think are beautiful? We are all created in the image of God… all of us!

Other drivel I subjected myself to–20 minutes of The Tyra Banks Show where the discussion was on the new word of our culture, “frenemies”. This is girl friends who compete constantly with each other. So Tyra has them compete on her show–who can get the most hot guys in an hour to meet them at a bar? Who has the higher IQ? Who has the stronger emotional IQ? Sigh. Who cares? Instead, let’s teach them what friendship really is.

The other shows I only saw previews of, thank goodness, but here’s the list. Maury Povich “Caught On Tape”… Montel Williams “Psychic Connections” with some chain smoking psychic who claims to hear people from the other side. I wonder when someone is going to tell her to quit smoking. Then there’s Jerry Springer (I had no clue he was still on), whose preview this week was on clowns–yes, people actually dressed up as clowns–who were cheating on each other and smacking each other all around the stage. All I could do is sigh deep sighs.

Oh, and Oprah, who I’ll admit can bring some fascinating topics, guests, etc. to her show. However, she is so self-absorbed that she continually interrupts her guests and rudely has to say what she has to say no matter what. Must be nice to have such power.

It saddens me. The problem is it defines so much of our culture, and we, in turn, allow so much of our culture to define us. It is scary to talk to high school and college students today, and see just how much television defines their reality. “But that’s the way it is on Grey’s or Desperate Housewives or ER.” Small town courtrooms are expecting impossible evidence because it looks so easy on CSI. Why do we allow TV to define us?

I submit two reasons… although I know there are many more. First, we are discontent. Our lives are not satisfying to us, so we look to other realities in which to escape. Secondly, we fail to be defined by God. We fail to define our culture and television by the Word, and we buy into the lies of our culture instead of seeking to redeem it. So often we make what we want the basis of what we believe or how we act… it is then we become followers of culture rather than followers of Christ. I am saddened by how our culture is affecting Christians, rather than Christians impacting and redeeming our culture. I don’t mean an “in your face” impact, I mean through integrity.. by really making a difference in lives through loving others.

Yes, I still watch some TV… there is entertainment there, and it does make me think sometimes. But what makes me think more is God and Who He is, and in Him I’ve found my relief from the drivel of daytime television. On those days when I can’t read or write or think, I can still hear. Sound travels in darkness and in light. I can listen to John Piper’s sermons ( or download old sermons by our former pastor, Phil, two deep thinkers who aren’t afraid to speak against our culture and speak the truth of the Word. And I am blessed with the thought of God.

If you read history, you will find that the Christians who did the most for the present world were just those who thought most of the next. The Apostles themselves, who set on foot the conversion of the Roman Empire, the great men who built up the Middle Ages, the English Evangelicals who abolished the slave trade, all left their mark on Earth precisely because their minds were occupied with Heaven. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this. Aim at Heaven and you will get earth ‘thrown in’: aim at earth and you will get neither. (C.S. Lewis)

6 responses to “Drivel”

  1. Don’t you know the only good thing to watch on daytime TV is the Ellen show? Fun times…

    Thanks for your thoughts, I wholeheartedly agree! Plus, if America, Christians or not, all turn in a little TV time for time with family we might be in a little better place to recieve love from each other and from above.



  2. Hey Angie, been thinking of you and still praying. You are so right about TV. We never watch daytime TV as we decided against having cable installed when we moved to B’water 10 yrs ago and we get not a single station on at our house. So our only TV watching is if we are away from home. I am shocked by what I see and frightened for my children. They watch only videos and DVD’s that we allow them to. Try to enjoy some of the quiet time and think of the times when your chemo brain is too foggy as just like the time when you were a very young child and your father (or mother) read you a story. Listen to your sermons on tapes and books on tapes just as when you were a little girl being read to. May the Holy Spirit be ever nearer to you. Love, Carol


  3. That’s daytime tv alright. It is very sad… But, you might like Ciao Italia on public tv 😉


  4. Amen! This has been a huge brewing conviction over the past few years that unfortunately has done little to affect my daily life. I mean, I certainly police what my kids watch, and I’m growing increasingly sensitive to the shows I choose to watch, *BUT* … your post has reminded me that my well-meaning, but half-hearted attempts at ‘limiting the influence of culture,’ are nowhere close to what they should be. Especially when viewed alongside what *should* be my ultimate goal, that of pointing my family towards Christ.



  5. Angie,
    I recently discovered this amazing web site that you poor your heart into and needed to let you know how incredibly touching it has been for me. Your ability to find the Lords strength in your weakest moments has been an inspiration to many people. Reading about your childrens growth and the great things that only kids think has brought a smile to my face many times. You are in our prayers and in our thoughts. Please know that we are eager to reach out and help in any way that we can.


  6. Just catching up . . . lots to catch up on! I can totally relate to the wee little cast. We had two broken bones in the family this summer. No fun, but, I’m so thankful that our little ones were spared more serious injuries. The thought of Audrey’s head striking that coffee table, instead of her arm . . . and I’m so sorry that she got hurt but OH! those photos really are priceless.

    I am nodding in vigorous agreement with your comments on popular culture invading our lives and our churches. Making an impact with quiet integrity — this should be so obvious to us, but I’m afraid the obvious is being lost in the din as “bigger, better, faster, louder” becomes the mantra. Surely a God as great as we serve does not need the trappings of today’s society to spread His Word — God’s redeemed, living out their lives in humility and praise, are a far more powerful than any of our “evange-tainment” efforts will ever be.

    May God continue to bless and keep you, dear one. You are often in our thoughts and prayers.

    Faithful One (Selah)
    I find no hope within to call my own
    For I am frail of heart, my strength is gone
    But deep within my soul is rising up a song
    Here in the comfort of the faithful one

    I walk a narrow road through valleys deep
    In search of higher ground, on mountains steep
    And though with feet unsure, I still keep pressing on.
    For I am guided by the faithful one.

    Faithful, faithful to the end,
    My true and precious friend,
    You have been faithful,
    Faithful, so faithful to me

    I see your wounded hands, I touch your side
    With thorns upon your brow you bled and died
    But there’s an empty tomb, a love for all who come
    And give their hearts to you, the faithful one.

    Faithful, faithful to the end,
    My true and precious friend,
    You have been faithful,
    Faithful, so faithful to me

    And when the day is dawned and when the race is run
    I will bow down before God’s only Son
    And I will lift my hands in praise for all you’ve done
    And I will worship you, my faithful one.



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