Remembering My Creator – Volume 1, Number 7, December 2010

Remembering My Creator

Volume 1, Number 7

Theme: TV and Movies

In This Issue:

  • “Television: The Good, Bad and Ugly” by Randy Sexton
  • “Volume and Variety” by Jordan Shouse
  • “Celebrity Worship” by David Bushnaq

Television and Movies: The Good, Bad and Ugly

By Randy Sexton

This month we turn our attention to another societal influence that you face as a young person. Both are relative late-comers in the history of man. “The beginnings of mechanical television can be traced back to the discovery of the photoconductivity of the element selenium by Willoughby Smith in 1873, the invention of a scanning disk by Paul Gottlieb Nipkow in 1884 and John Logie Baird’s demonstration of televised moving images in 1926…. The first regularly scheduled television service in the United States began on July 2, 1928. The Federal Radio Commission authorized C.F. Jenkins to broadcast from experimental station W3XK in Wheaton Maryland, a suburb of Washington, D.C. For at least the first eighteen months, 48-line silhouette images from motion picture film were broadcast, although beginning in the summer of 1929 he occasionally broadcast in halftones.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_television)

As with other choices that you face, how you spend your time in regard to movies and TV can be either an encouragement to your intellectual development and your spiritual edification or a detriment to them.

In a recent article that appeared on the Focus on The Family Website, Rhonda Handlon asks, “How much TV does your family watch? She then proceeds to give advice for balancing TV time and its influence in our homes. In that article she says, “Television viewing has grown steadily since the first sets were introduced in the late 1920s. American kids aged 2-18 now spend an average of 5:29 hours using media each day, with the lion’s share of that attributed to TV. Studies show extensive viewing may be to blame for aggressive or violent behavior, poor academic performance, precocious sexuality, obesity and substance abuse.”

Realizing that many parents are not comfortable with their family viewing habits, she recommends several steps be taken to address this issue. My suggestion for you as a young person is to discuss these suggestions with your parents:

  • Schedule viewing. Together with your parents, plan a weekly program schedule.
  • Set physical limits on TV viewing. Turn the TV off during meals. If you have a TV in your bedroom, consider removing it.
  • Watch TV together. Talk with your parents about positive behaviors and point out unacceptable words and behaviors, and talk about the better way.
  • Talk back to the TV. When a character says or does something you don’t agree with, say so out loud.
  • Plan weekly family nights. Turn off the TV and take out board games, go on a nature hike, play Frisbee, read books together, go out for ice cream.
  • Use your VCR liberally. Preview new programs, edit out risqué or violent commercials, and choose optimum viewing times instead of being at the mercy of the broadcaster’s schedule.
  • Encourage your parents to be good examples. Ask them to take an honest look at their own viewing habits, reminding them that what they do speaks so much louder than what they say.

(http://www.focusonthefamily.com/entertainment/mediawise/the-family-media-guardian/tv.aspx)

Volume and Variety

By Jordan Shouse

The assignment for this month is an important subject to address. Most of us have our favorite TV shows and movies. Both are entertaining and enjoyable. It’s fun to go to the movies with your friends, or to relax at home watching a show. As innocent as both may seem, a Christian must be truly cautious and of sound judgment in all things, especially our entertainment. Let me bring some thoughts to consider. You may not agree with me, and I understand that. I’d love to discuss these things further if perhaps you may have a differing view or opinion.

Firstly, there is the myth of detachment. It is the belief that what goes on within the show or movie stays in that show or movie, unaffecting reality. This really couldn’t be further from the truth. What occurs in the entertainment we watch leaves an impression. The words said, the images seen, the thoughts suggested, they are all now in your mind. That’s a potentially dangerous thing, because the mind is where our words, actions, motives, even being originate (Matt. 12:33-37; Matt. 5:21-22; Prov. 23:7). The words you shouldn’t say, the images you shouldn’t think, the attitudes you shouldn’t dwell upon can all be lastingly formed in your mind by watching bad media. Have you ever heard someone say, “It won’t affect me?” “The cursing doesn’t affect me.” “Those sensual scenes don’t get to me.” What are we saying? Sin doesn’t bother me. I can sit and willingly watch people commit horrendous sins, hear people abuse the name of the Lord and use other profanities, and it doesn’t bother me? Perhaps this is where you are. I remember in my youth using this excuse. I was a fan of action and would tell my parents that the blood the gore didn’t bother me.

Let me offer two thoughts of advice on this idea: 1. NEVER watch anything which will lead you to sin. It doesn’t matter how cool or popular, how many are going to see it. Watching a movie with words that will stick in your mind, scenes of promiscuity, sexual immorality, we could go on and on. It truly is not worth it. No movie is ever worth ruining your relationship with God. Keep pure. This can all be avoided by being as informed as you can about what you’re going to watch. Look up the movie before going to see what it involves. Pluggedin.com is a good site to try. 2. Protect your light. A great danger to shining our lights into the world is affiliation with things contrary to the message we proclaim. It will be incredibly difficult to teach friends and family the importance of holy and righteous living when we claim to be addicted to shows which focus on sinful behavior and lifestyles. You are a soldier, a planter in God’s vineyard, and most importantly God’s child. There is a certain lifestyle which must follow making that decision, but one which will truly reap grand rewards.

This is where variety comes into play. Instead of watching things we ought not watch, why not watch something profitable, wholesome, and clean. There is so much of it out there. Great shows and movies to enjoy with everyone you watch them with. When picking out the shows, take a moment to ask yourself, “Will this show help or hinder my walk with the Lord.” A great passage to keep in mind is Psalm 101:3 – “I will set no worthless thing before my eyes.” Be in control. You choose what you watch. Pick good things, shows which will remind you of God and Biblical truths.

The other subject to touch briefly upon is volume. It is easy and quite tempting to rush, in our free moments, to the TV or put on a movie. Most are designed to be addicting, leaving out so much that you just have to watch the next one. The truth is life’s short. Just ask your parents. Life flies by. Watching good shows for leisure is good, but don’t let it take control. Reading is a wonderful thing to do. I loved reading John, and in High School I really jumped into spiritual books and writers, all which made you think and question and study. There are so many great books and magazines to read and look into. Don’t shy away from getting active, play sports, go on adventures, try new things, have fun. Don’t let the TV waste away your life. Again, you are in control. You get to determine how much, how often, and what kind. For some of you, your parents may have that control. They know what’s best.

I ask you to keep these thoughts in mind, take them to heart and if you have any questions or thoughts, I’d love to talk about them more.

Celebrity Worship

By David Bushnaq

Hello, everyone! The article for this month is TV and Movies. Are they just something to watch when you’re bored, or are there some dangers that Christians need to beware of?

Of course, we all know that some TV is good and some is bad, and that moderation is key. So what, then, can be said that hasn’t been said before? We know that watching evil TV gives them ratings and as such money, so we know not to watch those. We know that having someone see you watch those shows could be a bad influence. You’ve gone over all that before, David. And the same is true for movies. That will not be the focus of this article. Instead, we will discuss the actors and TV stars themselves?

Society has made these people who they are. Celebrities, living wild and lavish lifestyles, seem devoid of responsibility and reason. They are consumed with doing what feels good because it feels good. In fact, in some instances, they parody their own lifestyles [a certain Brad Paisley song springs to mind].

My friends, emulating the actions of these people could be anything from dressing like them, to acting like them, or even allowing their product [be it movie, book, show, or whatever] to come between you and your life. Surely that doesn’t happen on purpose, now, does it?

And these actors’ lives are so important to our society that they are put up all over shopping center shelves, television shows, and even the internet! It’s hard to escape it all– almost impossible. And who brought this evil up to the level it has reached? We have.

By going to great lengths to find out every little thing about a celebrity, we begin to worship them. Yes, in a figurative sense, but if something that they provide ever comes between you and your family [or worse, you and God!] then the trap is set, and you fell unawares.

No, there is nothing wrong with enjoying a good, wholesome movie made by a certain actor, but if I begin to care so much about his/her life that I begin neglecting my own, my priorities have been skewed tragically in the wrong direction.

I suppose it’s hero worship. Instead of looking for real heroes; ones who do the right thing and behave as gentlemen, we look for rich people. Then we weave the fabrication, that if we act just as they do, we may somehow become rich as well! I have difficulty grasping that with anything other than extreme doubt and question.

People like Lindsey Lohan and the new teenage girl on Disney who dresses and acts provocatively, while being obscenely rich, set a poor example for young girls. In their easily impressionable state, they see that and begin to be hardwired into that lifestyle and see that as being worthy of emulation. If they are fortunate their parents will step in and tell them right from wrong.

Same is true for men, as well. Being a bad boy and rebelling against authority is cool. So is racing and living a dangerous lifestyle. Why? Because it’s glorified on TV. Getting into a small cage and engaging in blood sport, sometimes to the point of serious damage is popular, and using language that would make a sailor blush, committing acts of violence just because you can, and preaching a message of hate is par for the course.

I honestly feel these things have corrupted our culture, now as I say that, I’m glancing up at the sky to see if any pets are falling, or if the sky itself is. I know not all of anything is evil. In fact, I grew up watching Sesame Street, Power Rangers, and Legends of the Hidden Temple, so I can’t flat-out say that television is some evil device that corrupts minds. That’d make me a hypocrite.

What I’m saying is that while some television is innocent and wholesome, a lot of it isn’t. And allowing children unfettered access, may do more harm than good. No, I don’t think watching a movie about racing is going to make you want to do exactly what was depicted in the movie right off, but if you, at an early age, do not realize the line between fantasy and reality… you may very well believe what you are seeing is real and in doing the same acts, you are seen as cool.

We brought ourselves to this level but we can stop it. It begins by raising our kids in the nurture and admonition in the Lord, as found in Ephesians 6:4, which refers to fathers, true, but mothers need to assist in that endeavor as well. A home where a father and mother do not work together in raising their kids is a disastrous one.

Morality and responsibility are taught in the home. You know the media won’t teach it to you. At least not in a way that would be beneficial to your kids. They’ll tell you that everyone is ok regardless of whom they are, that emulating others is ok, and any sense of individuality is uncool. You have to fit in, conform even, to the status quo or you are an outsider…and those are weird.

I suppose what I’m getting at [and taking way too long to do so] is that while television, movies, or anything else for that matter, is a time sink, same as any other, the responsibility to separate fact from fiction, reality from fantasy, and our life from the fake lives of others, rests solely on our shoulders, and ours alone. They don’t care. You’re giving them money via ratings and/or buying their products, so why should they care of what it does to you. They’ll never know you. We are in charge of us. The person who keeps us from becoming just another brick in the wall [ha!] is us.