Published on July 30th, 2012 | by Nathaniel1
Christian + Entertainment = Contradiction?
Controversy- Is The Blind Side too Secular?
A couple weeks back- one of the largest Christian lifestyle stores, LifeWay, yanked the Sandra Bullock film, The Blind Side, from its shelves. Two years after the Oscar-Winning movie had been released, it sparked controversy when Rodney Baker- a Florida pastor, claimed the PG-13 film’s content was too secular and offensive to be sold in LifeWay stores. At the Southern Baptist Convention, Baker maintained the position that racial slurs, violence, and profanity in the film made it unsuitable for Christian audiences. This controversy ignited questions that had already been lingering in my head. Why? Because I am conscious that the collection of content we watch and hear shapes what we believe and how we operate. A movie is not just a movie- it’s a truth in skewed proportions. So- How do believers find the balance between their faith and the content they view or listen to? Out with the secular! Should everything we see and hear be sanitized? No Harry Potter? No Game of Thrones? No Disney magic? Should I call Direct TV and remove every channel but Day Star, TBN and Jesus TV!?
I guess this debate is a little more perpetual for me. I’ve been pursuing acting for the last four years in Los Angeles where struggling actors would easily sell their souls for one word on CSI. With, the scarcity of opportunities and auditions, the line between right and wrong narrows. I’m not going to lie- there have been many auditions where I’ve had to use language that would make mama wanna slap me silly…But does that make me or the projects sacrilegious? Am I contradicting my faith if I am playing a character that lives contrary to how I live?
I think this debate escalates- especially for actresses. Producers and directors always want to raise the stakes, you know- the “WOW” factor! How do you do that, you ask? SEX. Get an attractive woman and put her in a compromising scene wearing next to nothing- or nothing. But is it always purposeless? If Monster’s Ball didn’t depict Leticia Musgrove (Halle Berry) in a compromising scene with nudity, could the vulnerability of her character be shown? How should a film like Monster’s Ball be viewed? If a movie is depicting a reality of life in a way that rings true to some but not to others, is it really harmful for a believer to watch?
Breaking it Down Biblically
At a time when the term “Christian” has become synonymous with tablets of rules and closed-mindedness, I think we need to closely examine the narrative of the bible. It’s easy to forget that the bible itself- is not “PG” content. It’s an exciting written-documentary that features the themes of jealously (Cain in Genesis), infidelity (King David and Bathsheba in 2 Samuel), romance/passion (Solomon in Song of Songs) betrayal (Judas in Luke), and even prostitution (Rahab in Joshua). However, intention is key. The bible isn’t glorifying these themes but rather depicting the human experience in a way that shows the consequences of our actions. So why have we as believers found a way to liquefy the message of the bible to a set of “universal rules” that confines us to a Tupper-Ware container of seclusion? Can we really declare that a film like The Blind Side is universally bad to watch? And how can we transform the world if we don’t know it? At the same time, Paul tells us in Romans 12:2 “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know what God wants you to do, and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect his will really is.”
The question of “What should we watch and listen to?” is a difficult one for the believer. I think it involves being sensitive to our convictions and examining the intention of the content. The bible tells us in Matthew 6:24 that we cannot serve two masters so we need to be sensitive to the spirit inside that convicts us when watching a movie or TV show or listening to a new song. Remember, what goes in- always comes out 😉
For those in the Los Angeles area interested in taking this debate a little further- The Merge Summit is going down in Los Angeles from August 23-25! This summit will feature the likes of Niecy Nash, Devon Franklin, LisaRaye McCoy and many other personalities and celebrities. Hosted by Dr. Holly Carter (Founder of Relevé Entertainment), the weekend will feature topics on how to merge ministry and entertainment. Check out the link for more info! You don’t want to miss this- http://www.themergesummit.com/index.php
(C.F.E of Being Encouraged)