The Christian vs. Not-so-godly entertainment

During a conversation the other day, I realized I wanted to write about the movies Christians watch and filters such as TV Guardian or Clearplay. I talked with someone who thought Christians who used filters were just too sheltered, as though they didn’t know how to cope with profanity and therefore had to block it out. It was an interesting conversation and a great opportunity for me to consider some outside perspectives that I hadn’t realized.

We do not have any filters, but only because we haven’t met a circumstance that included both time and money to purchase one. We of course try to watch appropriate movies, but the problem with that is even a PG-13 rating really can’t be trusted anymore. Aside from profanity, movies that clearly revolve around sex, drugs, high/unnecessary gore (Saw, etc) are ones that we just stay away from. Well, honestly, we don’t watch movies much anymore partially since there is hardly anything acceptable to watch, and also because we’ve found we do better in our relationship and spiritually when we take that time to be creative in finding something to do or studying.

But is this because my husband and I are sheltered? As I acknowledged in that conversation a few days ago, there truly are some Christians that fit my friend’s description. Rather than out of zeal and conviction, these people seemingly don’t know how to balance living in this world and yet being separate; called out. While we do need to have discernment and self-control in our lives, this shouldn’t cause us to be hopeless servants of Christ when it comes to saving the lost. Some “sheltered” members of the body do well in keeping their bodies in subjection, but they neglect those on the outside. We shouldn’t conform to the world and we shouldn’t be influenced by it, but we, like Christ, should go out into it and even seek those who may not control their tongues or lifestyles.

So, before suggesting a few passages that I considered relevant, I want to make it clear that I do not advocate that mindset or practice. I also want to share that my husband and I were both converted in our late teens, early twenties and are much more conservative in all aspects of life than we ever were growing up. With this in mind, and my own history of promiscuity, drugs, depression and rebellion, it’s difficult for me to consider myself “sheltered”, as the world would say.

I could write in-depth on censoring entertainment, but I’d rather propose several verses and let you munch on them yourselves.

Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” – Isaiah 5:20

Especially true in many comedies, sins (fornication, adultery, homosexuality, profanity, drunkenness, blasphemy, etc) are displayed in a light of humor or tolerance. Two things to think about: based on the Word of God, is it likely that God is pleased when we laugh at and take pleasure in watching sin? Also, though we may not immediately leave the theater or our couch after watching a movie and consequently participate in a gay-pride parade, it is foolish to say that if a Christian watches many movies that glamorize sin, for an extended period of time, their perspectives won’t be influenced. In this day and age, we don’t need physical “evil company” to “corrupt good morals”(1 Corinthians 15:33), we can just press play.

“But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving.”Ephesians 5:3, 4

“Not even be named among you, as is proper among saints….nor crude joking.” There’s no doubt that we ourselves shouldn’t be speaking these sort of things, but it takes (at least) two to joke and crude joking is clearly displeasing to God. I’m sure if we all had a pen and paper and 30 seconds, we could name dozens of movies that glorify “crude joking”, not to mention any of the other sinful acts.

And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.-Philippians 1:9-11

This reminds me of a few others: “…Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good.” Romans 12:9, “but I want you to be wise as to what is good and innocent as to what is evil.” Romans 16:19, “[love] does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth,” 1 Corinthians 13:6, “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” 1 John 2:15.

“Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron.”1 Timothy 4:2

Our conscience is a delicate, malleable thing. It is finely tuned by teaching and practice: my conscience positively changes, develops and grows as I become convicted of things; through learning the will of God. Conversely, my conscience becomes dulled and less sensitive when I continually practice sin, or surround myself with people and ideas that contradict the teachings of the Word.

“Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8

Have you ever heard the expression to “give the devil a foothold”? It’s from the Bible, actually (Ephesians 4:27) and it is an admonition to not give the devil an opportunity, as he is always on the prowl for one. I don’t think there’s a debate on whether the content of these films in question is godly, the argument comes from whether or not we should allow ourselves to watch them. If they aren’t godly, what are they? Are they opportunities that the devil will surely seize?

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” – 1 John 2:15

“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”Romans 12:1,2

I’ll leave you with these fundamental verses, and a question: what is keeping you from filtering what you watch?

If it’s a tie to the world that you don’t want to sever, I suggest that alone should be a reason to be rid of it altogether.

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6 thoughts on “The Christian vs. Not-so-godly entertainment

  1. I found this post by absolute chance and I wanted to mention how thoughtful it is.

    I am currently a college student at CMU in Pittsburgh and was “converted” (or whatever you want to say) a few years ago by one of my best friends. It was a marvelous experience. As my desire for a career has grown, I feel like God has been nudging me in the way of popular entertainment. Sometimes His methods are strange, and everyone knows that. But I feel so blessed that He has (at least so far) asked me to do something that I care about as a career focus. As a contemporary critic of film, television, and literature, it’s very challenging because of that line that is inevitably placed between “good” and “sinful” work, made by those who may have different beliefs than I.

    I very much appreciate the scripture and commentary of this post and look forward to reading more. I’m guilty of forgetting this type of thing and it is wonderful to see reminders in even the most unexpected places.

    • Thank you so much for your comments!The way that you just happened upon this post, which is so applicable to you, is amazing and I hope you always seek the way that is pleasing to God, even in the midst of an entertainment-centered career. :)

  2. Good post – I would add and ask one more question:

    Can we be worldy and holy at the same time? Holiness is the goal – Dr Michael Brown writes a good book on it entitled “Go and sin no more”

    I have written a 3 piece article on what you have written here: (THE LARGEST CHURCH (EKKLISIA) IN AMERICA)

    It is not easy to live in the world and not be of it. Neither were we called to be monastic. Keep up the fight Crunchy Christian and be a light to those around you because in the end, God truly IS enough . . .

    Blessings,
    Bill

  3. I have always felt that the best way we as Christians can impact the entertainment industry is by supporting those movies etc. that reflect family values and themes. I have always tried to let others know when I find a good movie.

  4. Pretty convicting stuff here. I agree with your assessment of how God might feel at our laughing at and taking pleasure in sin as seen on television. I don’t think it’s a fine line for Christians at all. We are to be holy and separate from the world, yet in the world. Jesus loved and ministered to the sinner without partaking of his sin. I don’t believe one has to change to be saved, but being saved will change you. Good blog.

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