Digging Deep! Same Great Bible Discussions in a Brand New Format!
VIDEO podcast Tuesday, June 25th, at 7 p.m. CST! Be sure to join us for live streaming of the monthly Digging Deep podcast tomorrow night. We, at Digging Deep, are very excited to bring you new video streaming. Equipment has been purchased, we’ve set up our little studio and, most importantly, we’re set to discuss Acts 1-16. So you get ready, too, and be sure to join me, along with Kristin Benavides for the historic kick-off of the new and improved Digging Deep. I’m not sure if video is a real improvement, for my personal contribution, but, for Kristin, you will agree that it is! Many thanks to Matt Beard, Mike Deasy, Louis Benavides, Robert Hatfield, Caleb Colley, the elders at West Huntsville and especially and always Jennifer Benavides for making this possible. Lights, camera, action! Be there and be sure to join us in the chat room! Here’s the link: http://new.livestream.com/whcoc/for-women
The Dark Night Rises
(and slowly overtakes the people of God).
Something just seems so wrong about attempting to teach kids truths about godly living using illustrations from ungodly motion pictures. Something’s not right about quoting from movies that have multiple profanities and a sex scene or two as one attempts to raise funds for mission work. Maybe it IS just me (lots of people have said that), but it just doesn’t seem right to put a spiritual mentor in front of an audience or feature her in a spiritual journal and then have her make a Biblical appeal using the carnal, even sometimes lascivious or profane, offerings of Hollywood. Through the years, at youth camps, in mission fundraising pleas, from pulpits, and in spiritual journals, I’ve seen it over and over, from way back in the days of “The Titanic” to “The Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood” to, more recently, “The Dark Knight Rises.” Why, oh why, do we need something worldly to sell something sacred? Do we really think that teens cannot process the spiritual–maybe can’t pay attention to rich-themed Bible lessons without using extended illustrations from the exciting, but plastic and sometimes dark world of the silver screen? Is it not plausible that there are many who are actually discouraged from making contributions to mission works when those who are raising funds are quoting in print from a movie that contains expletives, the inappropriate use of the Lord’s name, a scatological term or two and the ever-popular “f -word”?
I think we underestimate our audiences. I have, for many years now, been working with ladies and teen girls and have never, that I can recall, referenced a questionable movie in any lesson (with the exception of discouraging the viewing of them), and yet, I have seen women and teens respond to Biblical teaching and make positive life changes over and over. It’s the teens, in fact–the group we often think we have to draw with sensationalism–that I see respond, most often, with tender hearts to the clear teachings of the Word of God. Teens are hungry for the milk and then the meat of the Word. They, if interested at all, are interested in knowing what the Bible teaches. They still hunger and thirst for righteousness. They can get the world at the theater, among their peers at school, on television, and, in fact, almost everywhere they turn. If they are in Bible classes they deserve to be fed the Bible, without the implied endorsements of worldly entertainment choices by Bible teachers. Further, as teachers and camp counselors and administrators, we owe something more to the parents who entrust their teens to us in those classes and camps.
Glenn and I are bombarded, as are most Christians, by financial pleas from causes to which we would love to contribute money. We receive multiple requests for funding weekly in our mailbox and in our inboxes. We have to be selective when we open those requests. It’s beyond me that a good spiritual cause would choose to raise funds by referencing the latest raunchy movie. I am not drawn to contribute to the cause that has, at its helm, someone who is spending his money at the theater watching, many times along with his children, material that is not appropriate for Christian consumption, and then having no qualms in relating this to the brotherhood. This is not the cause I would pick to support.
Can I now be quite frank? I think we have, as the people of God, just become so very anesthetized to evil through and because of our outrageously wicked American media, that we are no longer offended by profanity and lewd behavior in our entertainment venues. We have consumed the vulgar and the profane for so long and we have laughed at sin in bigger doses and to greater degrees each year since the 1970s, that we no longer have a viable conscience when it comes to entertainment. Not only do we have no problem following the world to the theater, but now we don’t even know it when we might be offending Christians who have taken a different stance–a more sanctified approach– to entertainment choices. If I sound like I am disgusted by the pop culture and its slow, but steady impact on our moral senses as the people of God, I am. I visit a sister congregation and I overhear kids on a pew in front of me discussing the inappropriate film they are going to see when this service is over. I pick up a journal and read from a father who references an expletive-laden movie he has watched with his children. I am in a large assembly and I hear a camp director jokingly reference repeatedly a movie that none of the campers should have seen. I allow my teens to go to a youth activity with some other teens and and an inappropriate movie is being shown on a mobile device as they are being transported. As you can tell, I could go on.
But I will not. I simply implore those mothers and teen girls who may be reading to become more vigilant about where we allow our minds to go in those times when we are seeking thrills, diversion or laughter. Entertainment is not wrong. But neither is it a requirement for heaven. I really could turn off my television and my computer and never enter another cinema and still go to heaven. Perhaps if you and I would just do that, say for a couple of months, we might realize when we resumed, how very vile our entertainment choices had become and how very numb we’d become to that vileness. We might also emerge from the experiment realizing the very optional nature of entertainment.
Jesus didn’t think it too radical to counsel a person to pluck out his right eye if that eye was going to keep him from heaven. That’s one way to stop the visual desensitization. But I can think of an easier one. I’d rather remove the television cable from its socket and keep my right eye (and my left eye) in the socket. But if you’re determined to watch movies and television that contains material unfit for Christian consumption, please be sensitive enough to those who are conscientious about being different from the world in entertainment choices to refrain from injecting immoral materials from raunchy Hollywood productions into spiritual venues to illustrate Biblical truths. The Bible just rises above the need for that.
He has called us out of darkness into His marvelous light. Be ye holy even as your Father is holy. As a man thinks in His heart, so is he. Whatever is true, just, pure and lovely…if anything is virtuous, think on these things. We have a higher calling. It’s a call to sanctification.