Evaluating the role of media in our lives

I’ve read a few blog posts that have accurately portrayed some of my own misgivings about the (ab)use of media in our culture. Like both of these authors mention, I would agree that entertainment and technology can be just fine. I’m not arguing that we should cut it out entirely. What I am saying is that we should be thoughtful about how we engage the culture, recognize where our own weaknesses are, and seek to put Christ first and listen for when the Spirit nudges us to cut back or walk away.

This first blog article is about the tension between enjoying iPods for the wonderful variety of music, sermons, books, podcasts, etc. that we can now access and acknowledging that if we indulge ourselves too much, we run the risk of severing ourselves from creating community. When we are ‘plugged in,’ we aren’t inviting relationship building or conversation.

Another post highlights that one of our ‘high places’ might very well be the extent to which we allow entertainment (especially movies and TV) to draw us in. Are we setting ourselves apart from the society at large in what we will watch or how much time we spend watching movies and TV? Do we even recognize the kinds of effects it can have on us and our sphere of influence when we cling to some of these things?

My own thoughts on these matters (in brief): I like having an iPod and I think that it can be acceptable to use it in public places. However, I also believe that we shouldn’t always be ‘plugged in’ in the presence of others. It is a good idea to be intentional about setting aside time at the coffee shop, in the grocery store, or out on a neighborhood walk where you would be accessible for conversation with others.

With regards to movie and TV viewing, I think that is a pretty personal decision, between us and God, and so I don’t want to prescribe one way or the best way. All I can do is speak for my own journey and how it has been affected by more time with God. As I read His Word, pray, and attempt to offer larger portions of my life to God, I find myself disinterested in spending much time on movies and television.

I have also discovered that I have an increased sensitivity to watching perversion, extreme violence, and elaborate psychological mind games, no matter how cleverly packaged. I really don’t want to see it and on the occasions I do, I typically apologize to God. As far as the vast amount of sexual innuendo, display of bodies and immoral sexual behavior, and attitudes towards intimacy, I draw the line very quickly these days. I just don’t want to see it or think about it later because those ideas and images linger and for the most part, they are not helping me to submit to the Lord and honor Him with my mind and my heart.

Do I expect other people to respond as I have? No, but it is my hope that as we draw closer to Him, we will present this aspect of our lives to God and say to Him with a bowed attitude, ‘Is there anything I’m spending my time watching that grieves Your heart?’


Wisdom at the Movies display

I’m interrupting my series on family to highlight the ‘Wisdom at the Movies’ display we have at the library.

One of the technical services staff members has pulled together a wide variety of excellent films that portray aspects of wisdom.

Here is an excerpt from Everett’s reflections on wisdom: “Wisdom, the skillful application of knowledge and insight to daily life, begins with the fear of the Lord. We begin by recognizing our life as a gift that is dependent on the mercy and grace of God. By trusting in the Lord and acknowledging Him in all our ways we are able to recognize the meaning in the order and patterns in the world he has given us and then to apply that knowledge as we seek our way in that world.”

The following list represents a sampling of some of the films on our display. Feel free to come and check them out!

Amazing Grace– political wisdom in the service of right

Becket– live faithfully the calling you’ve received

Chariots of Fire– live for the glory of God

Death of a Salesman– life can be wasted

Empire Strikes Back– the power of a wise mentor

Giant– gain the world, lose your soul

Jesus of Montreal– the wisdom of an outsider

Matrix– wisdom as revelation

Power of One– wise mentor and the wisdom of perseverance

Shawshank Redemption– wisdom of hope

Stranger Than Fiction– wisdom from mortality

Tootsie– wisdom through changed circumstances