A particular TV show has been recommended to me quite often of late, several of the recommendations coming from Christians I respect. I don’t have cable, satellite or Netflix, though, so my only way to watch would be through the purchase of DVDs. Before plunking down that kind of money, I thought I ought to do a little research to see what the show was like.
Adventure, swords … “A lot like ‘Lord of the Rings’” one good friend told me. That did sound intriguing. Based on what I had read, though, I asked him, “But doesn’t it have a lot of nudity and graphic sex?” He replied, “I don’t pay attention to those parts.”
Based on the fact that he is a male, with a wife an children of his own, I immediately concluded that he was lying. More on that (maybe) in a minute.
Another person who I talked to about this show assured me that “I don’t let my kids see those parts.” He didn’t deny seeing them himself. And secondly, notice that neither of these people denied that the show contains copious amounts of nudity and sex (not to mention graphic violence—something I don’t have as much trouble with but maybe I should).
Before I go any further, let me be clear (as a politician with a particularly opaque behavioral pattern is fond of saying), I am in no way advocating for censorship of this show (or any other) or even a boycott of it. I realize that freedom of speech is easily abused, but I have a great fear that if it is infringed upon (in the case of a TV show like this, for instance) the next infringement will be on my freedom to preach the gospel or write things like this.
Still, I can’t help but think of the Apostle Paul’s words when he wrote (or said, I happen to think he dictated his letters), “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” (Philippians 4:8, for those of you keeping score at home.)
Is this a command? Even if it’s not, even if it’s just a suggestion on Paul’s behalf, I think two questions are worth asking in light of the current discussion: 1] what benefit is gained by following it; and 2] what are the consequences of ignoring it?
The benefit of following is a mind (and heart and life) filled with light. The danger of ignoring, is that we let darkness—even if it’s just one hour’s worth of darkness a week—into our lives. The same thing could be said of much of the TV, movies, music and books we let into our lives. Does every word we read need to be Scripture or written by Max Lucado or CS Lewis? No, but I think it’s worth asking what this “entertainment” I am choosing puts into my head [it stays there, I can’t pretend it doesn’t when I hear a song—even a worship song—I haven’t heard since high school and still can sing along with every word] and how it is influencing further thoughts.