Sunday, July 25, 2010

Choices (Throwing out the Television)

We cannot live without making choices. It is a simple fact of life. I must choose constantly: what to eat, what to wear, where to go...etc. The list goes on and on and catches nobody's attention until we do something that is not in accord with the norm. In our modern world we are expected to follow a pre set pattern for doing things. We are expected to eat alot of junk food, buy alot of junk, throw away alot of the junk we buy so we can buy more of it so as to keep our "economy" from shutting down. Today we are expected to have a big house with almost no family to fill it. We are expected to die if we do not have A/C in the summer and ice for our lemonade. All of these choices are not really choices because our culture has pre set the pattern for us. It is much like the motto of the Ford motor company when it began a century ago. It marketed its new Model T Ford saying that you can have it in any color you want as long as you want it in black. Here it is obvious that we don't really have a real choice. Rather we have one option and that is all we get.

All of these choices make me think about some of the choices my wife and I have made for the sake of our family over the last couple of years. One of the choices we made was to throw out our television to the marked astonishment of my family. In fact I thought some of them were going to go get me a new one right after I gave the first one to goodwill. Now if I had chosen instead to buy a many thousand dollar big screen flat TV no one would have made a fuss because I am acting within the acceptable perameters established by our materialistic culture, but since I chose otherwise, well you get the picture. We chose to throw out the TV because it to easily becomes a family idol that dictates to us and especially our children how they should act, what they should wear, eat, etc. It puts vicious images into our heads and makes it difficult for us to think with our reason over our emotions. It takes away family time and replaces it with mindless entertainment. The list goes on and on. This is not to mention that with a TV comes additional costs especially if Cable is involved. I can say I benefited for EWTN during my college conversion, but can say that although it is truly good I think many people don't watch enough of it to make it worth the big cable bill.

Another choice we made was to live voluntary simplicity. There are many levels of this type of living, but it is a worth adventure. It often requires us to look at our stuff and trim back and haul off or throw away a bag or box of stuff that we didn't know we had. We are on an adventure to radical simplicity as we get ready to move off grid and build our own house. We plan to have no electricity or plumbing. We are discovering ways to heat and cool the house without going modern. We are going to build on a concrete slab to keep the house cool in the summer and also we will heat with a wood burning cook stove. We have a long journey ahead of us. To all those contemplating the journey it will indeed be long, but worth it. I am always looking for others who would like to take this journey with us. Just shoot me an email if you are interested in moving to Kansas. We would love to form a homesteading community somewhere in Northeast KS. We don't own any land yet so we are pretty open to moving. Back to the initial topic.

Another choice we made was for me to come home to live work and pray with my family. The fruit has been tremendous. We all must make sacrifices if we want to live this life. Some will be great some small, but we must still make many choices if we want to become holy.



Anonymous said...

Thanks for blogging about your experiences. I've read almost all of them. This is an excellent example of using technology for the good! Many will benefit from your postings, I'm sure. Two thoughts... 1) re-think the slab; how about a basement? (Tornado protection, and excellent storage for vegetables, among other things.) and 2) It's great to be self-sufficient in terms of electricity, but it puts a lot of pressure on a person. Maybe moderation. At any rate, prayers for all of your family and your endeavors!
~ Kristie in Massachusetts
(Not sure how to set this google account thing, hence the "anonymous said..." :)

Anonymous said...


Funny - we got the same reaction when we decided our girls (wife and 3 daughters) would wear only skirts below the knee! Amazing how far we have strayed from basic modesty. We didn't toss the telly, keeping it for Catholic DVDs... and old shows like Andy Griffith, also via DVD. But I support the concept of "the toss"! ;)

My wife, four children (we have a son, as well) are very close to taking a similar path as you, albeit in the rural prairies of Western Canada. We, too, would like to form a common community. We won't go completely off the grid, but will come close. Wish us luck. We have no fear....

We will pray for you and your family, as well. I am very familiar w/NE Kansas, as I was a Jayhawk in Lawrence during my university days. I'd agree w/some sort of underground protection during the tornadic season. But God will provide Grace to your adventure. This I firmly believe.


Anonymous said...

Hi Kevin,

I'm with Kristie. Rethink the slab. It doesn't have to be a full basement, but Kansas is tornado country. Not to mention the fact that a root cellar right under the house is a lot easier to access in the middle of a snowstorm.

And good for you on ditching the tv. We got rid of ours about 10 years ago, we don't regret it in the slightest.

It's funny though how similiar the experiences are. Living counterculturally is not for the fainthearted, but the rewards are enormous.

Wendi in Michigan.

Homeward Bound said...

To all, I have considered a partial basement for root cellar and tornado protection. I grew up near Greensburg, KS... I know what a tornado can do.