Volume. XIX, No. 34
Sunday, 06 March 2005

From the Pastors Heart: Homes Invaded

About a year ago, my father and I went to Central market for shopping. We decided to eat a simple meal at the new food court. As we were about to eat, two young men ran into the arena (one chased the other), threw chairs, spat, abused each other with execrable language, and punched each other. It was not too long before they left the place and a security man came. However, it scared many of us who were uninvited extras for the show. I know that it is not a common experience in the market. Violence, abusive language, and aggressive behaviors in public places give us bad feelings. Today’s newspapers show that there were street riots in Sydney. A group of young people were arrested and not allowed to be bailed out. These are not just happening in our streets. More violence is found in our TVs and computer games. No one will deny that media access and use is pervasive in our society. Even very young ones are heavily exposed to various media, including TVs, videos, DVDs, computer games, and movies. Of course, music is another world. There have been many scientific researches about the influence of media on our minds and society. Basically, every study tells us that too much exposure to media is not good for us and our children. If there is any exception to this rule, it is media itself. In 1995, Newsweek magazine published an article that claimed there was no solid evidence that exposure to media violence increases aggression (Leland, 1995). A group of sociologists and psychologists have written a letter to the editor in an attempt to correct this factually incorrect statement. “The reply said that they were not interested in publishing our letter. More recently, The New York Times published an op-ed article (Rhodes, 2000) that similarly attacked extant media violence research in general, and specifically targeted the pioneering and ongoing research of Rowell Huesmann and Leonard Eron (e.g., Huesmann et al., 2000). Despite protests from a variety of sources, including a very thoughtful reply by Huesmann and Eron, no rebuttal, retraction, or reply was ever published (International Society for Research on Aggression, 2001).”

It does not too much effort to find an enormous influence of media on our children and families. According to a recent study in America, on average, young children:
Watch TV for 2 to 4 hours per day.
Watch 4,000 hours of TV before they enter kindergarten.
Are exposed to 20 to 25 acts of violence per hour on Saturday morning TV programs intended for children. (http://www.actagainstviolence.com/mediaviolence/index.html).

If we look at these statistics, any one can hardly deny the roles and influences of media on our families. It is not to deny the usefulness of TVs, computers, or music for educational and entertainment purposes, but to say about potential dangers. Graphic images, sound effects and excitement media have taken our children’s time, mind and energy, and they learn their values from them. “Extensive research has shown that higher levels of children's exposure to media violence correlate with increased acceptance of aggressive attitudes and increased aggressive behavior. Recent studies associate exposure to violence in the media with violent behaviors.” My family have decided to remove our TV set from living room to dinning room where there is no TV antenna. We have not watched TV at home for a long time. Of course, we watch some programs here and there when we visit others. However, we decided not to have it in the centre of our home. If we can listen to the movie producers, we may have a better understanding about the issue. “TV scriptwriter Grace Johnson said that violent TV shows ‘often serve as a release valve for aggressive impulses which would otherwise be bottled up, only to explode later’ (See No Evil?, 1954, p. 8). Similarly, film director Alfred Hitchcock said, ‘One of television' s greatest contributions is that it brought murder back into the home where it belongs. Seeing a murder on television can be good therapy. It can help work off one's antagonism’ (Myers, 1999, p. 412)” (June/July 2001 American Psychologist, 479-480). I hope that none of the Hopefuls will follow their advice. At the same time, we ought to ask ourselves: are we spending time for TVs, DVDs, or music, in proportion to the time we spend for Bible reading, praying, or spiritual things such as devotions and Bible study with our families?

See the following example to notice that we have been desensitized over the issues of media influence. “In 1903, Edwin S. Porter directed a film called The Great Train Robbery (Edison & Porter, 1903). This 11-minute film is usually considered the first film ever made to tell an organized story (Turan, 1972). In one scene, there is a large close-up of a cowboy firing his pistol directly at the camera. The first audiences who saw the film reacted by running out of the theater screaming.” I am sure that even children will laugh at them. “A recent content analysis of more than 8,000 hours of programming on cable and broadcast television in the United States found that about 60% of TV programs contained violence (National Television Violence Study, 1996, 1997, 1998). By the time the average American child graduates from elementary school, he or she will have seen more than 8,000 murders and more than 100,000 other assorted acts of violence (e.g., assaults, rapes) on network television (Huston et al., 1992). The numbers are higher if the child has access to cable television or a videocassette player, as most do. Violence dominates the big screen as well as the small screen. The percentage of PG films produced has steadily dropped over the years (Auletta, 1993). Even G-rated films contain more violence now than they ever have before (Yokota & Thompson, 2000). Violence is also frequently found in video games. For example, Provenzo (1991) found that 85% of the most popular video games were violent. Even young children are exposed to many violent video games. Buchman and Funk (1996) found that fourth-grade girls and boys reported that the majority of their favorite games were violent ones (59% for girls, 73% for boys). One plausible explanation for the media emphasis on violent materials is that violent media are easy to export to foreign markets, perhaps because they lose less in translation than do other types of media. Comedies, for example, often require some knowledge of the popular culture. In time, violent media might become America's most exportable commodity (Hamilton, 1998).”

The decision is now yours. I am concerned about music as well. I’ll write on this later. Your homes are invaded. What are you going to do about it?

Lovingly, Your Pastor

More Lively Hope



Shorter Catechism Question 92: What is a sacrament? A sacrament is an holy ordinance instituted by Christ, wherein, by sensible signs, Christ, and the benefits of the new covenant, are represented, sealed, and applied to believers.

Please pray for healing for Rev George & Sis Nan van Buuren, Rev Peter Clements, & Sisters Myung Ki,, Michiko Law, Aranka Rejtoe & Susan Varadi “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls” (Matt 11:29).

Please pray for - Comfort for Bro Yul & Sis Janet Sankey & family on the home-going of Bro Yul’s father on Thursday; Journey Mercies for Sisters Maggie Wong, Joyce Poon & Gek-Lan Tay (S’pore), Bro Lincoln Law, Sisters Josephine Lee, Gillian Ong & Serene Wong (Mt Gambier, Warnumbool), Bro David Paauwe (Adl); Cambodia Missions - Rev & Mrs David Koo, Rev & Mrs Stephen Choi and their ministries in Sihanoukville & Phnom Penh; Bro Surish - for health and guidance in Laos; Easter Family Bible Camp Speaker: Rev Douglas Threlfall; Provision of permanent job for Bro Simon Yeo.

Praise and thank God for - Journey mercies granted to Dn Edwin D’Mello (Adl), Bro Simon Yeo (Melb), Bro David Paauwe (Perth), Bro Lincoln Law & Sis Sheela (Adl); YAF/Teens Share & Prayer meeting on Friday; AFG and Ladies’ Fellowship meetings yesterday.

Family Bible Camp at Easter Weekend: 25-28 March 2005 at Mylor Recreation Centre, Mylor. All are encouraged to attend. Helpers are urgently needed. Please hand in your camp forms ASAP.

Bible Witness for Sept - Oct 2004 is available on the literature table. Please help yourself to a copy.

BBK Class starts today. Those who would like to become Church Members or be baptised/confirmed are advised to attend. Please see Elder Michael Lee or Dn Edwin D’Mello for details.



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14 Bedford Square, Colonel Light Gardens, South Australia 5041