Sister to Sister: Have You Been Anesthetized?

It’s really a daily challenge to be in this world and yet remain insulated from its spiritually destructive components. I cannot imagine going through a day without having to constantly remind myself of what conversations, media and relationships are appropriate for somebody who’s following Jesus and what Philippians 4:8 would filter out for me. I want His word to always be the filter in the nitty-gritty decisions of everyday living. I think sometimes it’s easy for me to say the big things like “I would give my life for Christ,” or “My favorite book is the Bible” or “Growing in Christ is my number one goal,” but it’s the all-day-long difficult and specific choices that make or break my big easily stated commitments.I don’t call into question the sincerity of somebody whose little choices don’t reflect the big professions of life. Sometimes I think we really do mean the big commitment statements found on our profiles on facebook. It’s just that the inconsistencies in the little decisions don’t sting because we’ve become environmentally and culturally anesthetized. What should really hurt us as His people doesn’t hurt at all because we’re breathing the fumes of the society in which we live. Once I accidentally made a pretty huge gash in my left hand; lots of blood and nausea, an eventual scar and a pain that was wretched. On another occasion a doctor made a similar gash in my foot to remove a piece of glass; lots of blood, a similar scar, but absolutely no pain. The difference was, of course, the presence of the anesthetic.

So how is it that we can sing “I am mine no more, I’ve been bought with blood,’ or “Purer in heart O God, help me to be,” or ” I surrender all” or “Lord take control,” and yet fail to even feel the sting of the destructive media influences that are in direct opposition to the themes we’ve stated for our lives? I think we just don’t feel the pain that should accompany spiritual wounds because we are anesthetized by the culture in which we live. As the world becomes more and more ungodly, we are lulled into a kind of comfortable moral drowsiness that makes us unaware of the effects of the tools in the hands of the devil. We find ourselves laughing at all kinds of wickedness as it is digitally welcomed into our living rooms, bedrooms and dorm rooms. We can listen to vulgarity and profanity and hardly be aware we’ve heard them even as they work to erode the values that we’ve professed all along. Pretty soon we start thinking through our days about the drama or the hilarity of some episode that really was pretty far removed from the “I want to grow in Christ” thesis through which we intended to filter our choices. We start talking about things that are in the Galatians 5:19-21 list with the same nonchalant tone with which we would talk about the weather. Without even really thinking about it, we spend more time concentrating on the works of the flesh as portrayed by Hollywood than we do in Bible study or prayer. Pretty soon, the gap between what we profess and our practical focus is a chasm.Perhaps we find that in our entertainment choices, we sometimes “rejoice in iniquity.” Perhaps we even encourage others to violate their consciences by encouraging them to love what God would identify as abomination. In short, we’ve just become numb to the sorrow we should feel as his children at the presence of sin in our media choices. The devil wants to devour us and he is much more successful when we start failing to feel the pain of the lion’s tenons and teeth.

It’s been helpful for me to constantly remember and repeat the phrase “Entertainment is optional.” Being “optional” means it’s not a requirement for life. It means it’s not absolutely necessary. In fact, retaining entertainment in my life is probably less necessary than retaining my limbs or my eyesight. But Jesus said if your eye or your hand offends you, just get rid of it rather than allowing it to cause the loss of your soul. I can go to heaven without ever turning on the television, but I can’t go to heaven if I’m not “abstaining from the very appearance of evil” (I Thess.5:22).

Matthew 6:33 is not too difficult to understand when it comes to this abstinence from the appearance of evil. It’s not hard to understand when I try to conform my thoughts to Philippians 4:8. Where it gets hard is not in my ability to comprehend its meaning. It means when I have choices in optional matters I am going to make sure my allegiance is first to His kingdom and righteousness. Where it gets hard is in my willingness to apply it all day long. It’s difficult while I am watching the episode to stop and ask, “Am I seeking righteousness when I put this stuff into my head?” It’s difficult to just pick up the remote and say “I choose to seek first His righteousness.”

So many times, I can look back and know full well that a particular decision was completely out of alignment with the BIG profession I have made for my life. Those times are my biggest regrets. I want to adjust the practical part of my Christianity, because Christ can’t remain in my heart if He’s not affecting my agenda, dominating my calendar, making my choices, and shaping my plans. The remote should be controlled by Him.

“Awake. O sleeper, and arise from the dead and Christ will shine on you.” (Eph. 5:14)…”We are not of the night or of the darkness. So then, let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober.” (I Thess.5:5,6) . Let’s get out from under the power of the anesthesia and into a well-lit recovery room!

Sister to Sister: Give Him the Remote

It’s a daily challenge to be in this world and yet remain insulated from its spiritually destructive components. I cannot imagine going through a day without having to constantly remind myself of what conversations, media and relationships are appropriate for somebody who’s following Jesus and what Philippians 4:8 would filter out for me. I want His word to always be the filter in the nitty-gritty decisions of everyday living. I think sometimes it’s easy for me to say the big things like “I would give my life for Christ,” or “My favorite book is the Bible” or “Growing in Christ is my number one goal,” but it’s the all-day-long difficult and specific choices that make or break my big easily stated commitments.I don’t call into question the sincerity of somebody whose little choices don’t reflect the big professions of life. Sometimes I think we really do mean the big commitment statements found on our profiles on facebook. It’s just that the inconsistencies in the little decisions don’t sting because we’ve become environmentally and culturally anesthetized. What should really hurt us as His people doesn’t hurt at all because we’re breathing the fumes of the society in which we live. Once I accidentally made a pretty huge gash in my left hand; lots of blood and nausea, an eventual scar and a pain that was wretched.On another occasion a doctor made a similar gash in my foot to remove a piece of glass; lots of blood, a similar scar, but absolutely no pain. The difference was, of course, the presence of the anesthetic.

So how is it that we can sing “I am mine no more, I’ve been bought with blood,’ or “Purer in heart O God, help me to be,” or ” I surrender all” or “Lord take control,” and yet fail to even feel the sting of the destructive media influences that are in direct opposition to the themes we’ve stated for our lives? I think we just don’t feel the pain that should accompany spiritual wounds because we are anesthetized by the culture in which we live. As the world becomes more and more ungodly, we are lulled into a kind of comfortable moral drowsiness that makes us unaware of the effects of the tools in the hands of the devil. We find ourselves laughing at all kinds of wickedness as it is digitally welcomed into our living rooms, bedrooms and dorm rooms. We can listen to vulgarity and profanity and hardly be aware we’ve heard them even as they work to erode the values that we’ve professed all along. Pretty soon we start thinking through our days about the drama or the hilarity of some episode that really was pretty far removed from the “I want to grow in Christ” thesis through which we intended to filter our choices. We start talking about things that are in the Galatians 5:19-21 list with the same nonchalant tone with which we would talk about the weather.Without even really thinking about it, we spend more time concentrating on the works of the flesh as portrayed by Hollywood than we do in Bible study or prayer. Pretty soon, the gap between what we profess and our practical focus is a chasm.Perhaps we find that in our entertainment choices, we sometimes “rejoice in iniquity.” Perhaps we even encourage others to violate their consciences by encouraging them to love what God would identify as abomination. In short, we’ve just become numb to the sorrow we should feel as his children at the presence of sin in our media choices. The devil wants to devour us and he is much more successful when we start failing to feel the pain of the lion’s tenons and teeth.

It’s been helpful for me to constantly remember and repeat the phrase “Entertainment is optional.” Being “optional” means it’s not a requirement for life. It means it’s not absolutely necessary. In fact retaining entertainment in my life is probably less necessary than retaining my limbs or my eyesight. But Jesus said if your eye or your hand offends you, just get rid of it rather than allowing it to cause the loss of your soul. I can go to heaven without ever turning on the television, but I can’t go to heaven if I’m not “abstaining from the very appearance of evil.” (I Thess.5:22)

Matthew 6: 33 is not too difficult to understand when it comes to this abstinence from the appearance of evil. It’s not hard to understand when I try to conform my thoughts to Philippians 4:8. Where it gets hard is not in my ability to comprehend its meaning. It means when I have choices in optional matters I am going to make sure my allegiance is first to His kingdom and righteousness. Where it gets hard is in my willingness to apply it all day long. It’s difficult while I am watching the episode to stop and ask, “Am I seeking righteousness when I put this stuff into my head?” It’s difficult to just pick up the remote and say “I choose to seek first His righteousness.”

So many times, I can look back and know full well that a particular decision was completely out of alignment with the BIG profession I have made for my life. Those times are my biggest regrets. I want to adjust the practical part of my Christianity, because Christ can’t remain in my heart if He’s not affecting my agenda, dominating my calendar, making my choices, and shaping my plans. The remote should be controlled by Him.

 

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Sister to Sister: Fifty Shades: Five Excuses…Ten Reasons

Unknown-7Shocking is what it is to absorb the conversations among some of those who wear the name of Christ…women who see nothing wrong with being entertained by the erotica fiction of the 2011 romance novel and the new movie, “Fifty Shades of Grey.” I do not have to read the books or see the movies to know that Christian women have no business anywhere near the “Grey” zone. Here are five of the top excuses for partaking in the evil of a blatantly pornographic form of entertainment:

  1. “It’s literature…a literary phenomenon.” Yes. It is. The original book has sold over 100 million copies, making in excess of 95 million dollars for the author. A sad commentary on our culture.
  2. “Just because I watch it doesn’t mean it will affect my behavior or my thinking.” Studies have already been done. One at Michigan State University found that women who have read the book are more likely to have abusive partners, be binge drinkers, and participate in unsafe sex, and eating disorders. I’m not sure if women who do these things are more likely to love the movie or the other way around. But, either way, the study results, in themselves, wave a big red flag to people of morality. It’s like the Good Book says: “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7).
  3. “I’m just curious.” You could follow the link below if you’re curious about the content. My friend, Tom Holland used to say “You don’t have to stick your head in a trash can to know what trash is.” You will, for the sake of curiosity, put some images in your head that are not erasable.
  4. “I want to make our sex life better.” Would you like for your husband to work to make your sex life better by watching pornographic videos? Perhaps he does. If so, how does that feel to you? Besides, pornography does not enhance sex in the long run. It destroys relationships and cheapens what God has sanctified. The trump card is that it’s a clear violation of God’s commands. (Matthew 5:28; Titus 2:3-5)
  5. “It’s fun.” At least you’re being honest on this one. Sin is selfishly pleasurable in the short term. Satan loves this reason and, truth be told, it’s probably the reason we make up all the other excuses to sin.

And here are ten of the top reasons you should stay away from “Fifty Shades.”

  1. BDSM. If you do not know what that is, you may be fortunate. It is “Bondage, Discipline, Dominance, Submission, Sadism, Masechism, all of which are strong thematic elements in the movie. It is a portrayal of a perverted attraction to an extremely sexually abusive man who keeps Ana, the main female character, in sexual bondage using abuse, expensive gifts and confidentiality agreements.
  2. Your money. Do you really want your movie/book dollars to be included in the 95 million-plus that E.L. James has made/is making from her self termed “expression of a mid-life crisis”? Do you think God is pleased with that sort of stewardship?
  3. Christ is coming back. Do you want to be reading/watching “Fifty Shades of Grey” when He does return? And, if not, then are you okay with Him seeing you read/watch from His seat beside the throne?
  4. Your children. This movie is phenomenally huge. The book, sadly, has become the #1 seller in the world. The book has also now surpassed Harry Potter as the fastest selling paper back. It became the first book ever to sell  more than a million copies on Amazon Kindle.  James was named by Forbes as the 2013 best selling author in the world. Your children, even if they are small or not yet born, will likely one day hear about this book and ask if you have read/seen “Fifty Shades”. Do you really want them to know that you have? If so, you are not the kind of parent I’d hope you want to be. You should love your children enough already to be protective of your influence over them. (Kids have a way of thinking that, no matter what it is, if Mom and Dad have done it, it must not be too bad.)
  5. The rating. The film has an R rating for strong sexual content including dialogue, some unusual behavior and graphic nudity, and for language. Christians cannot claim ignorance as they go to see “Fifty Shades.” We have been fairly warned. And when the movie industry puts out a rating because content will be offensive to some audiences, which audiences do you think those would be?…Christians, maybe?
  6. The woman who wrote the books (i.e. thought up the perversions of plot and sexuality) is also working as a producer of the movie. The movie promises not to be better or tamer than the book.
  7. The male lead in the movie, Jamie Dornan, actually visited a sex dungeon in preparation for his role as Christian Grey. Right. This is for Christians?!
  8. Producers are also planning a release of an NC-17 version of the movie, which will include more of the sexual content. (hard to believe there could be more.) They are doing it because   “the fans want it dirty.” Do you want to be a part of such a fan base?
  9. Evangelism: Do you believe, should your lost friends know about your viewing of the movie, that it would enhance or damage your ability to bring them to a life of purity in Christ? Which?
  10. Scriptures. Commands. Just a couple, though numerous ones come to mind. Philippians 4:8 Whatever things are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report. If anything is virtuous or worthy of praise, think on these things.” Imagine these words appearing at the bottom of the movie screen during a trailer of “Fifty Shades.” Would those words “fit” there? Would they, in any sense, be descriptive of this movie? What about I Thessalonians 5:22?—“Abstain from the very appearance of evil.”  This book…this movie, my sister friends, is evil come to your community.

Information obtained from www.covenanteyes.com/…/50-fast-factsfiftyshades-grey/.

Duck Dynasty: A Clear Call?

It’s been a imageschallenge for me to come to the point of the post today. The whole world, it seems, is ecstatic about that camo-clad duck hunting family in south Louisiana. They are down-to-earth, fun-loving, family oriented people. And they talk about the Lord. They talk about what’s wrong with America without Him and they talk about baptism that puts people into Christ. How can I possibly speak disparagingly about such people?

Well, I don’t want to do that. I get it. I get that Hollywood has become so extremely wicked, so hopelessly vile that Duck Dynasty and any other show that doesn’t openly and repeatedly take the holy name of the Lord in vain, exonerate drunkenness, adultery,  and homosexuality, and feed its audience a diet of constant vulgarity is a breath of fresh air. So I have really hesitated to say this.

Second, I’ve hesitated to say this because I know it really doesn’t matter what I think about Duck Dynasty (or anything else, for that matter). For Christians, it just matters what God thinks about our decisions and behavior.

But for all of that, still, I’ve been forced to think a lot about how various groups of Christians have clamored to have famous members of that family come to speak for fundraisers for Christian universities and even in some of our pulpits. So, this morning, in a quiet hotel room, as I wait for my husband to finish a speaking engagement, I took the time to review a few clips, and later, to even watch a few episodes. They made me smile. They have a way of making you see the funny side of our human natures. It’s no wonder they are at the top of the viewing charts, especially in the South where most of us haven’t fully bought into the politically correct, tree-hugging mentality. We like it that they think it’s okay to kill and eat animals. They resonate with us. We especially like it that they are a family still intact in a society of broken homes. That resonates with us as Christians.

But I have concerns, too. Since I am not a reviewer for a Christian magazine and I do not have to give a comprehensive review, I am just going to tell you, as a Christian parent, what worries me about Duck Dynasty.

First, the show doesn’t reflect so honorably on the church. While I am thankful that I did not hear expletives, I did hear the word “crap” almost immediately when I began to watch. Then it wasn’t long before I heard “dang” and a southern drawn out version of golly and “Let’s get the heck outta here.”  Perhaps I’m too sensitive. Perhaps I am a prude. But I still hope that my  children and grandchildren find crude words as well as euphemisms like those to be distasteful and unbecoming (Col. 4:6).

Second, I watched a clip of Phil Robertson preaching in which he clearly stated “I don’t care if you have a glass of wine or a beer. The Lord don’t either.”  I believe him to be mistaken about that. I believe God’s people in our society have no business drinking recreationally, at all. My reasons for this conviction are found in other places on this blog. I’m worried, though, that when we make a hero of this man, as we have done in many of our Christian schools and other venues, we endorse this message that drinking is okay. We may endorse it in the minds of young people that we really, for all the world, do not want to ever experiment with alcohol. I’ve prayed since my children were born that they never would drink beverage alcohol. I see the ruin that could have been avoided in so many lives had someone not experimented that first time.  Then there’s episode of Duck Dynasty in which the Robertson family decided to branch into the winery business. They drank wine in that episode and they hosted a wine-tasting event. This is disheartening to me; not because I think those who watch such a scenario are necessarily sinning in watching, but because I hear Christians all around me celebrating the fact that this family is such a great example of faith in Hollywood. I just do not think such an episode represents our faith so pristinely. In fact, if my family were so publicly involved in the filming of an attempt at owning and running a winery, I believe my elders would come talk to us about the reproach we had brought on  the body. I’m glad that they would. (I believe the episode about the homecoming dance is a similarly poor representation of Christianity, as well. This episode contains a number of examples of immodest dress and includes a father apologizing to his daughter for his opposition to the immodesty.)

Perhaps the most disturbing thing I have seen about the influence of the Dynasty had to do with the venue at which I saw Phil Robertson preaching. It was a “Bible Church” in Pottstown, Pennsylvania. It was in the year 2010. I was glad that he got the chance to tell the people there what to do to be saved. It made me happy that he got the chance to say those things in that venue. I believe we should always say the truth about salvation wherever we are given the chance; perhaps especially in a church like this one which was obviously not a faithful body of believers in any sense of the word.  But, after Mr. Robertson finished speaking, people with spiritual needs were invited to come and talk with the “pastor” there or with some of the leaders of that church about the Lord and about salvation. The “pastor” even promised that he would buy lunch for anyone who wanted to talk about the Lord. Phil Robertson stated his message and then put those who heard it in the hands of unsaved people to finish their teaching and encourage them to be part of a church that is failing to practice New Testament Christianity. This is the part of my morning that troubles me most. The New Testament is just so replete with warnings about false teachers. If you read the warnings to the seven churches in Asia in Revelation 1-3, it quickly becomes clear that we are not to bear with those who are teaching false things about salvation and worship, much less to leave the teaching of those we may have contacted to those who will lead them to false worship.

I guess I am pretty much alone in my thinking here, but I don’t get the positive frenzy of members of the Lord’s body about having these folks come to speak to our communities. I hear some who say “We can never get them to come hear anything about the gospel at any other time, but if we have the Robertsons come, people will come.” Perhaps there’s truth in that. But I guess my question would be “Will the message of Phil Robertson make anyone with a denominational mentality question that mentality or will that denominational person infer that he should just choose a church once he is “in Christ”?  I know that is certainly how the video I watched this morning seemed to conclude. The last words of the “pastor” were something like “You need to be in a church. It doesn’t have to be Berea, but you need to find a church.” The video showed this “pastor” collecting all the contact information of all the people who had attended, presumably so they could be contacted by that church.

Once again, I guess I am trying to sort out in my own mind exactly what I think about Duck Dynasty and its amazing popularity among people of God. I am certainly not saying that it’s sinful to watch the show.  I’m just thinking I don’t want my Baptist neighbors to think I endorse crude speech or drinking a beer now and then. I don’t want them to think I think it’s funny when Christians are involved in the wine industry or are endorsing dancing and immodesty. And I really don’t want them to think I believe one church is as good as another.  I pray that I can be more and more diligent in trying to show them the church of the Bible: its unique terms of entrance and required modes of worship. I want to show them the distinctive appeal of the restoration plea.

Phil Robertson is not helping denominational audiences to make this distinction when he speaks to them over and over again. If he were, they would either stop wanting him to come to their churches or they would decide to be baptized for the remission of their sins and then worship faithfully as the church or body of Christ. Today (Saturday, August 11th), Phil can be heard at Man to Man Ministries, a ministry led by Glenn Ross, a Baptist pastor, in Victoria, Texas. On August 24th, members of the family will be speaking at Characters of Character at Auburn University, a fundraising event for Youth for Christ, an ecumenical organization involving lots of denominations, so far as I can tell. Its first full-time employee was Billy Graham. On September 7th, Jase will be speaking at Christ’s Church weekend worship in Jacksonville, Florida. I listened to some of the worship there. It is instrumental, charismatic and doctrinally non-committal. I am not saying that it is wrong to speak the gospel in any of these venues. It is just very difficult for me to see how one could speak the full gospel and still be popular in such venues.

So, I’m worried. “Cindy Colley, you worry too much,” may be what you are thinking. But I still do. I’m just not sure our kids are going to understand the distinctive plea of New Testament Christianity if we are lauding those among our own churches who are promoting organizations propelled by denominations and even those denominational churches themselves. I surely would like to promote truly clean television. But it’s mixing the funny show with religion that worries me most. I’m not sure presenting Duck Dynasty’s ministry to our non-Christian friends is really tantamount to presenting Christ to them. I’m not sure our kids will get the clear picture either. In fact, I think we may be sending a very confusing message.

Our children need heroes. But let’s do all we can, as moms, to insure that their heroes are strong and faithful defenders of the Christian faith…men (and women) who will don the super-hero armor of Ephesians six and battle the forces of this world, shepherds who are heroically guarding the flock and Bible scholars who have trained themselves to use the Sword.

Sources in addition to episodes of Duck Dynasty:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_3MwBGsj7kw&list=PL6806390762AB4BC2

http://mantomanonline.org/members/xcellence/home.nsf/2/glenspeaks

http://www.yfc.net/about/history/

http://www.ccontheweb.com/mandarin-campus

http://www.duckcommander.com/duckmen/events/event/201/dinner_with_the_duckmen.aspx

Moral Anesthesia

It’s really a daily challenge to be in this world and yet remain insulated from its spiritually destructive components. I cannot imagine going through a day without having to constantly remind myself of what conversations, media and relationships are appropriate for somebody who’s following Jesus and what Philippians 4:8 would filter out for me. I want His word to always be the filter in the nitty-gritty decisions of everyday living. I think sometimes it’s easy for me to say the big things like “I would give my life for Christ,” or “My favorite book is the Bible” or “Growing in Christ is my number one goal,” but it’s the all-day-long difficult and specific choices that make or break my big easily stated commitments.

I don’t call into question the sincerity of somebody whose little choices don’t reflect the big professions of life. Sometimes I think we really do mean the big commitment statements found on our profiles on facebook. It’s just that the inconsistencies in the little decisions don’t sting because we’ve become environmentally and culturally anesthetized. What should really hurt us as His people doesn’t hurt at all because we’re breathing the fumes of the society in which we live. Once I accidentally made a pretty huge gash in my left hand; lots of blood and nausea, an eventual scar and a pain that was wretched. On another occasion a doctor made a similar gash in my foot to remove a piece of glass; lots of blood, a similar scar, but absolutely no pain. The difference was, of course, the presence of the anesthetic.

So how is it that we can sing “I am mine no more, I’ve been bought with blood,’ or “Purer in heart O God, help me to be,” or ” I surrender all” or “Lord take control,” and yet fail to even feel the sting of the destructive media influences that are in direct opposition to the themes we’ve stated for our lives? I think we just don’t feel the pain that should accompany spiritual wounds because we are anesthetized by the culture in which we live. As the world becomes more and more ungodly, we are lulled into a kind of comfortable moral drowsiness that makes us unaware of the effects of the tools in the hands of the devil. We find ourselves laughing at all kinds of wickedness as it is digitally welcomed into our living rooms, bedrooms and dorm rooms. We can listen to vulgarity and profanity and hardly be aware we’ve heard them even as they work to erode the values that we’ve professed all along. Pretty soon we start thinking through our days about the drama or the hilarity of some episode that really was pretty far removed from the “I want to grow in Christ” thesis through which we intended to filter our choices. We start talking about things that are in the Galatians 5:19-21 list with the same nonchalant tone with which we would talk about the weather. Without even really thinking about it, we spend more time concentrating on the works of the flesh as portrayed by Hollywood than we do in Bible study or prayer. Pretty soon, the gap between what we profess and our practical focus is a chasm. Perhaps we find that in our entertainment choices, we sometimes “rejoice in iniquity.” Perhaps we even encourage others to violate their consciences by encouraging them to love what God would identify as abomination. In short, we’ve just become numb to the sorrow we should feel as his children at the presence of sin in our media choices. The devil wants to devour us and he is much more successful when we start failing to feel the pain of the lion’s tenons and teeth.

It’s been helpful for me to constantly remember and repeat the phrase “Entertainment is optional.” Being “optional” means it’s not a requirement for life. It means it’s not absolutely necessary. In fact retaining entertainment in my life is probably less necessary than retaining my limbs or my eyesight. But Jesus said if your eye or your hand offends you, just get rid of it rather than allowing it to cause the loss of your soul. I can go to heaven without ever turning on the television, but I can’t go to heaven if I’m not “abstaining from the very appearance of evil,” (I Thess.5:22).

Matthew 6:33 is not too difficult to understand when it comes to this abstinence from the appearance of evil. It’s not hard to understand when I try to conform my thoughts to Philippians 4:8. Where it gets hard is not in my ability to comprehend its meaning. It means when I have choices in optional matters I am going to make sure my allegiance is first to His kingdom and righteousness. Where it gets hard is in my willingness to apply it all day long. It’s difficult while I am watching the episode to stop and ask, “Am I seeking righteousness when I put this stuff into my head?” It’s difficult to just pick up the remote and say “I choose to seek first His righteousness.”

So many times, I can look back and know full well that a particular decision was completely out of alignment with the BIG profession I have made for my life. Those times are my biggest regrets. I want to adjust the practical part of my Christianity, because Christ can’t remain in my heart if He’s not affecting my agenda, dominating my calendar, making my choices, and shaping my plans. The remote should be controlled by Him.

Questions and Answers: Harry Potter This Time Around

Question: Do you think the new Harry Potter Movie is okay for Christians to watch?

Answer: No. I do not. When I checked both www.screenit.com and www.kidsinmind.com, I found both sites note that Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Part One) contains both sex/nudity and profanity. I just really don’t see why any further investigation would be necessary for any Christian, considering that entertainment is an optional part of life; not a requirement, and considering that we are called to think on things that are true, just, honest, pure, lovely, virtuous and praiseworthy (Phil. 4:8). I sometimes want to ask if Christians are losing their minds to be asking such questions. But then the answer is obvious. We are. We are losing our minds to the devil. And he loves it. You will notice I did not sugarcoat nor tiptoe up to my judgment about this. I just believe we’ve allowed far too much anesthetization by Hollywood in our generation. As a man thinks in his heart, so is he (Prov. 23:7). If Jesus were accompanying you, bodily—in the flesh—would you take him to that movie? Well, He is with you.

One of the Christian universities with which I’m familiar gave late permission for a large group to go and see this movie’s premier. (You really have to wonder about the consistency in that decision, when the battle the university is fighting against the use of pornography and immoral sexuality is one of large proportions.) I know of another group of students who waited for the review to be posted and chose not to go and see it. I know of yet another group who went before the reviews were out, saw for themselves that offensive material was being shown, and got up and left early in the movie. See, there are choices. God’s people don’t have to (and shouldn’t) follow a multitude to do evil (Exodus 23:2).