Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Apostle Paul's Movie Guide

Peter Kerr, in a vignette article in the book, Understanding Evangelical Media (edited by Schultze and Wood), writes about how Evangelicals filter which mainstream movies should be watched. "WWJD" is often an acronym that comes up in oonversation: what would Jesus do? Well, in a way, I think that is a bit of a loaded question. Would he go to a movie in the first place? Not sure - they didn't have movies when He was on the planet, so we don't know. We know that He ate with sinners, which I suspect might be similar to going to bars and so forth. He drank real-life wine - most would agree with that. Would he engage with modern media and entertainment? Well, if He was truly human (and most would agree with that), then he would have engaged with whatever mainstream media there was then.

I wonder if people would consider what Jesus would do when they get into a car. Would He drive? Not sure. He didn't drive while He was on the planet (most would agree with that). So should we drive now?

But that's maybe not a moral issue. Or is it?

Back to media, and the article at hand, Kerr suggests that Paul might have something to say about watching movies. Kerr quotes 1 Corinthians 6:12 and comments:
He refuses to become a slave to things that are merely permissible and not really beneficial. He captures the middle ground between outright rejection and mindless acceptance. (p.63)
I suspect that Paul liked entertainment a lot. He was a scholar after all, and probably liked to think about how things, thoughts, metanarratives, work. He did flesh out much of the theology of the Christian Church (most would agree with that).

And I think most of us like entertainment. That's why many of us find it hard to just stop watching everything; you know, Jesus didn't own a television (most would agree with that).

My final question, though, is how do you know if some kind of media object (film television broadcast, popular song) is ultimately beneficial. Who is the judge of such things? What is the answer? Who knows (and most would agree with that).

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Blogging as a waste of time

In a short piece that is inserted in the first chapter of Schultze’s Understanding Evangelical Media, the author suggests that Evangelicals might spend more time doing nothing in the activity of blogging, and reading blogs, than being productive. I wonder, though, what the difference might be between wasting time blogging (or reading blogs) or wasting time going to church.

While I’m not suggesting that one shouldn’t go to church, I’m thinking that it is not much of a stretch to suggest that there are times in each of our lives when attending a church service is an activity of shutting down. We do not want to be there and we spend that precious time with a black cloud over our head, as if it was raining and everything. We wish we were elsewhere and we spend all of that time thinking of other things when we should be thinking about God and allowing Christ to change our lives.

I wonder if the author decided that blogs were apparently the real “time stealers” of society, one of the most terrible ills brought to us by the satanic members of the New Media cadre. Now, perhaps I’m going too far; after all, the short segment appears in a chapter of a book that is, in part, encouraging Evangelical media makers to make Evangelical media better. But why all of the negativity regarding blogging? Can not the same criticisms (that we waste time) be levied against all text-based media that ends up not imparting much wisdom to the reader?

I bet you’ve wasted all kinds of time reading this little rant. Go to church!!