One of the issues that really gets me fired up is that of entertainment. I have strong opinions about what Christians should/should not be watching. This afternoon I read an article in HomeLife magazine about setting tv limits for kids ("Remote Control", February 2008). I'll admit right off that I read everything in this magazine skeptically - expecting my discernment to send up red flags. It isn't that the magazine is bad, it is in fact published by the Southern Baptist Convention, through LifeWay. BUT, every issue is infiltrated with easy-believism and sometimes other "isms."
What I do like about this particular article is that is says you need to teach children to discern for themselves - that's good (though not something most kids are capable of doing). But, what I don't like is that the article only makes brief mention to refraining from tv/movies altogether. And, even then it seemed to be slanted saying, "for some kids this is effective." Some? Just some?
We do not have tv in our house, but we do have a dvd player. In the past two weeks we have watched 0 hours of visual entertainment (that's right, I said zero). Our oldest is 6 and she has no discernment. When the kids do watch something we watch it with them and talk it through with them. For example, most kids' cartoons are openly believing evolution. We own the Jungle Book, but every time we watch it Rebecca will quote back to us our speech that apes cannot become human. She knows that speech, but would NOT recognize evolutionary elements in other programs. We recently rented a Wiggles dvd and it had songs and dialog about evolution!
In the January 2008 issue of HomeLife there is an article called "The Media Diet." This article says that Christians should not withdraw completely from media, because they will become irrelevant. This thought of relevance is so prevalent within modern day Christianity. I have heard countless sermons about how we need to stay in tune to current music and movie trends so that we can better minister to our society. WHY? How can we reach out to the world if we are just like them?! Dick Staub, who wrote both aforementioned HomeLife articles, maintains that we need to watch tv and listen to pop music to be able to reach out on the level of the lost person. Again - why?! I fear that too many Christians have bought into this mentality and as a result we are now hearing cursing from behind the pulpit, and we are seeing clips from rated R movies in worship services! It's an outrage!
We are to set our minds on things above (Romans 8:6-7; Colossians 3:2). We are supposed to take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5). We are supposed to dwell on things that are "pure, noble, right, true, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy" (Philippians 4:8 NASB). How can we so guard our hearts and minds if we are polluting ourselves with media?!
Maybe you, reader, are not like me. Maybe you are not as impressionable as I am. But, when I hear cursing, I find myself filtering it out of my own thoughts before I should happen to say it. And, when I see certain sins repeatedly portrayed on tv/movies, I become hardened of heart. I become quenched to the Holy Spirit's prodding. At present, when I turn on the tv I am repulsed, that is a good thing! But, if I watch too much I find my discernment is marred. If we take in a healthy "media diet" as Staub recommends - we may find ourselves too quickly becoming gluttons!
I am terrible at moderation. Maybe you, reader, aren't like me. Maybe you can carefully regulate yourself with discipline. But, I am unable to do so - with so many things I am all or nothing (including caffeine). I had to let go of entertainment, because I saw that I was addicted. (Sure, I only watched a few hours a week, but that was enough to deeply affect my mind.)
Without any tv/movies we are able to spend more time in worship, more time in reading, more time with the kids... I just can't think of any reasons NOT to give up visual entertainment!
Are you watching media to stay relevant to the culture? Is it working? Or, are you becoming so submersed in the culture that you blend in with it?
"See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ." Colossians 2:8 (NASB)