The Sacred Space of Television

We speak of people who “weave” a tale as if a storyteller shapes a structure around their audience.  This structure is sanctified – set apart for the purpose of an encounter.  A story is like a basket that invites you to eat an apple or like a wigwam that invites you to come in from the cold and share a meal.  Even an empty basket or an empty house is distinguishable from the surrounding environment and may be the cause of disappointment or loneliness as we meet nothing where we hoped to meet something or someone.
When we watch television we are seeking some sort of diversion.  We go on vacation for the same reason.  We want to see somewhere else and be somewhere else.  Perhaps, however,  we aren’t quite as aware that we are making a decision to go somewhere when we watch a show.  Television’s chief value is that it takes us out of our normal routine.  It has an intense power to pull us out of our current environment into a different one.  In a sense a television show is sacred space – it is set apart for the purpose of an encounter.  But who do we encounter in the story?  How are we changed in the encounter?  Like Moses descending from Mount Sinai do we come back from our encounter with a fearful countenance, eager to change our own life and the lives of others?  Do we ever want to come back at all?  Do we suddenly find ourselves a desert monk alone with someone else’s visions?  Who is the god we have worshiped and how have we been changed?

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