Thursday, December 08, 2005

My friend Meggan, a youth minister in New York, posed this question:

Internet, music, movies, and general entertainment choices for ministers. Through a conversation I've had, someone shared that there has been "moral failure" on behalf of some ministers because of their choice of entertainment. I did not probe into this matter, but my question is...WHAT sort of entertainment were they watching/listening to/surfing on the net??? Here's my question. Does reading others My Space sites, xanga, or surfing the net for bands, etc put a minister in the temptation of a moral failure? Does listening to Green Day, My Chemical Romance, Gwen Stafani, POD, whatever secular music may be out there give way to moral failure? Does watching movies such as Bewitched, Harry Potter, Mr & Mrs Smith, Hitched, etc give way to moral failure? Does going to a concert or movie theater or whatever that is a 'secular' performance give way to moral failure? What is the balance between being knowledable of culture and allowing culture to fully influence you? Can we ever NOT allow culture to influence us?

There are MANY ministers my age that I am friends with, and I know they are not super conservative. Yes, they stay away from explicit movies or music artists that have graphic how is that some say that secular entertainment can be the demise of a minister, while others it's something else. I would really like your opinion in this.


My response was this:

My main thought on this is that, in the Bible, Christian is a noun, not an adjective. Therefore, I would argue that nothing can honestly fall under the sublabel of "Christian entertainment". When something is made for the purpose of being Christian, it doesn't not mean that Christ himself would approve it. To claim this would be pretty outlandish.

Another thought I have is: when something is "secular entertainment", it doesn't mean that Christ does not approve of it, nor does it mean that one cannot find Jesus in the entertainment. For example, I believe that there are things in Christian music that Jesus probably rolls his eyes at. But there are many "secular" songs in which I have experienced or noticed a profound understanding of the ways God works, the way God sees the world, and thoughts that God would definitely want us to ponder.

This goes along with my frustration of the Christian subculture as a whole. For example, those posters that CCM-ish companies try to get us to put up in our youth rooms that have Christian bands on them: "If you like Radiohead and U2, then try Delirious" - HUH? Radiohead and U2 have some incredibly thought-inspiring lyrics, marvelous sounds, tackle some important topics... so if these things are true, why must we "sanctify" that music by taking it away and substituting Delirious, who do similar-ish music (according to the poster), but say Jesus' name instead? Why must we continue to make the world an evil place and the Christian ghetto a "safe" "clean" place?

We have to keep in mind that all of this "safe" "Christian" entertainment is being made with the same goal as that of "unsafe" "secular" entertainment: $$$. If we overlook that, we have really lost a lot of perspective. Yes, CS Lewis wrote the Narnia series as a metaphor, but the movie hype, the books, the figures, the advertising, the "how to take your unchurched friends to Narnia" info, the soundtracks, the doorhangers, EVERYTHING is about selling tickets to a movie that cost money to make, and they would like to make up that money and then some. Then, when it makes a bunch of money, people will say how wonderful this Christian entertainment is, and how God has successfully infiltrated the ranks of Hollywood entertainment. Right. God needs Narnia to do that.

I think it's ridiculous. I honestly think that locking oneself up in the Christian-entertainment-only scene will bring a minister down faster than allowing oneself to experience/enjoy "secular" entertainment.



At 12/08/2005 12:13 PM, Blogger Neil said...

Disney itself hired a "Christian viral marketing" firm to make up those campaign in order to sell tickets.

I have found my most profound spiritual/musical moments in Karate lyrics/music emotion. Last I checked, they were not on a Christian label, nor were they outward in their affinity for anything other than experiencing a full and interesting life.


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