Favorite TV Show? I Don’t Have One.

Tonight I was dumbfounded when a friend asked me what was my favorite television program. It is not that I don’t watch TV; I do. But I don’t have a program that I would classify as my “favorite.” My television habit has severely curtailed in recent years. It is not that I don’t watch television, but it isn’t that important to me anymore.

Directv NowI subscribe to DirecTV Now, an internet-streaming service. It costs $60 a month. They stream most of our local over-the-air channels, as well as the YES Network, SNY, MLB Network, MSG Networks, Fox News, USA Network, TNT, and a good assortment of entertainment networks (most of which I don’t watch). At $60, it is a much more comfortable cost to watch TV when compared to DirecTV’s (satellite) regular $130 a month charge. DirecTV Now doesn’t have a DVR, but with on demand, I guess I can say I don’t want to pay for a DVR.

Overall, I watch more sports than I do anything else. For instance, as I type this, the MLB Network is on showing the Arizona Diamondbacks vs. St. Louis Cardinals game. Right before, the New Jersey Devils’ game was on. And now as I type that previous sentence, that game is back on with the locals leading the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The last TV show I watched was NCIS: New Orleans (watched it on demand via the CBS All Access app). This morning, I watched parts of CBS 2 local news, Fox News’ morning program, including the last ten minutes of their 5 AM show, and some infomercial promoting the My Pillow Topper. At around 6:40 AM, I turned the TV off. And 14 hours later, I turned it on to watch the Devils, New York Rangers, Nashville Predators game in Washington DC against the Capitals, and baseball on the MLB Network.

I like dramas more than comedies. Documentaries score high on my list.

But a favorite show? I don’t have one. The last television show that I considered my favorite? 24 on Fox. Before that, The X-Files, also on Fox.

And I like to read, mostly mysteries and thrillers outside of religious-themed books. I like the Kindle more than the iPad to read, but actually holding books have come back into fashion with me. Listening to books is OK, but not great – listening to them makes me tired, especially religious-based books.

I like reading newspapers – on my iPad. The New York Post, the New York Times (the subscription is part of a deal that ends in May), the Wall Street Journal (also part of subscription deal) are part of my morning newspaper routine. The Bergen Record, our local newspapers, is delivered, but at $38 a month, it is very costly and is really not worth the monthly price.

Apple MusicI listen to the radio. Apple Music and iHeart Radio and Radio.com and Sirius XM, all streamed from my phone to Apple’s HomePod, though Apple Music’s integration is perfect with HomePod and the others is a little clunkier. I like the playlists on Apple Music and their “radio stations” have gotten extremely good recently. Favorite music genres? Country, Christian Contemporary, Chill (especially piano), and some modern pop.

And look at that – the Devils beat the Maple Leafs and are heading to the playoffs for the first time since 2012.

Though a Rangers and Predators’ fan, I’m happy for the Devils.

Common-sense Ten Commandments

If we pray the Ten Commandments each night before going to bed, then we’d see their actual importance for our lives. When we recognize our failures in each of the commands of God to the Israelites, we see ourselves as sinners who are not only are in need of forgiveness, but also of guidance to be better people.

In this morning’s Your View section of the Editorial page, a writer from Paramus states that as we enter the New Year, we all pray and hope that the world will become a better place. I don’t think many people say to themselves, “You know, I want this new year to be miserable for everyone.” Most of us do hope that the coming year is better for us as individuals, but also for others.

We all want our hopes to overcome the sadness.

The letter writer gets it.

The Ten Commandments are an authoritative guide to our everyday behavior.

In my sermons recently, I’ve preached on the importance of living one’s faith, expressing the love of God in words and deeds. See, the center of the Christian heart is on the confession of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit and what it means for us individually. When we confess God in words and deeds, we are saying something about what God has done for us – saving us from the eternity away from Him and creating in us a new person each day where we love God above all things and love one another without condition.

The Ten Commandments stress these points out clearly. In the first three commandments, we are shown the importance of putting God above everything, of respecting and loving HIm like He has loved us, of receiving Him and responding to His love as we worship Him. When God is at the center of our lives, we are different. We hold onto God’s grace and love and mercy and announce it to others. No matter our lots in life, we trust God through everything.

The remaining commandments show us the same point of the first three: We are to love and respect all people. Of course, the hard part is doing it because there are way too many people who get on our nerves. God wants us to be His agents of love and mercy and grace in this world. The specific commandments show us how we are kind and merciful and gracious and loving to others.

As the letter writer wrote, the world would be a better place if we all tried to follow the commandments.

Police Chaplaincy – No Religious Training Required.

NOTE: This is NOT a political post.

The New York Post today published a story about a donor of New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio named Jona Rechnitz who admitted that he donated money to the mayor to gain political access.

Rechnitz and his buddies donated lots of money to many politicians to have an inside track to attain political favors. Honestly, not surprising since that is why big money people donate lots of money to politicians. They don’t give without expecting something in return.

One of the said receivers of Rechnitz’ financial heft was Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino who is seeking re-election this fall. According to the Post, “Rechnitz donated $15,000 to Astorino’s political war chest and once chipped in up to $8,000 to buy him a Rolex watch, he said.”

But it was the following that really caught my eye:

(Astorino) Helped Rechnitz and his pal Jeremy Reichberg become chaplains for the Westchester County Police Department, despite the fact that they were not clergymen, Rechnitz claimed.

Huh?

Politicians do weird things, at times, but giving a chaplaincy to people who weren’t clergy? It kind of defeats the purpose of having a chaplain, doesn’t it?

Luther, Trump.

I’m just saying, but never trust a Roman Catholic priest trying to explain the Lutheran Reformation while comparing the leader of said Reformation, Martin Luther, to President Donald Trump.

Plus, whenever the “Luther hated the Jews” or the not used a lot “Luther hated the Muslims” mantra comes up from a Roman Catholic priest, there is an easy response: The Pope of the Roman Catholic Church did nothing and said nothing to stop Hitler from trying to exterminate the Jews, and it was the Roman Catholic Church who led the Crusades to kill the Muslims.

Just saying.

Let’s be honest – show me an anti-Semitic Lutheran Church. You can’t. Lutherans believe and want all people to come to faith in Jesus Christ. This is and has always been our mission, one that was given to us by Jesus in Matthew 28. Luther’s anti-Jewish writings and his anti-Muslim writings are his own. They are not mine. Luther was not perfect. None of us are. We are not God-like or equal to God (like the Roman Catholic Church believed at one time the Pope was). All of us do and say dumb things, at times. Luther was not immune from it.

We Lutherans follow God’s Word as the core of our lives and faith. I can’t get to heaven because I may have read and believe one of Luther’s Table Talk writings.

I only get to heaven by faith alone in Jesus Christ.

Continue reading “Luther, Trump.”