We’re not discussing a movie this episode. Instead, John Wilkerson, from the Jesus Geek podcast, suggested to the Christian New Media Group that podcasters address the question, “Where’s the line?” Daniel and Eve discuss where each personally draw the line in secular entertainment.
Why should there be a line?
“Come out from among them and be ye separate,” says the Lord. “Touch not the unclean thing and I will receive you” (2 Corinthians [6:17]).
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect (Romans 12:2).
We’ve often heard the phrase “be in the world but not of the world,” which is a paraphrase of the above verses and Jesus’s teaching in John [15:19] and [17:16]. There should be a vast chasm between the behavior of the unsaved world and Christians. Christians are supposed to be different, we’re supposed to be portraying Christ and not being hypocritical in our standards.
So where is the line?
Eve drew the line a long time ago on seeing rated-R movies in the theaters and rarely buys them because she does not like to support Hollywood in the production of inappropriate material. Most rated-R movies are over the top and sometimes even PG-13 movies as well. In our recent initial reaction to Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, we discussed some of the inappropriate material that pushed the limits for a PG-13 movie.
Daniel asks why use the world’s rating system, and Eve explains that she doesn’t like to support the world in doing things that even they consider to be “over the top.” Daniel pushes Eve to give specifics regarding her personal line. Foul language that is excessive to the point of being noticeable, sexual innuendo, sexual situations, blood and gore. It’s a balance of content—good versus bad content—and a judgment call. Eve takes it on a case-by-case basis, and lumps books into the same system.
Daniel and Eve rabbit-trail a bit on what makes bad words bad—the use, the context, or the actual word.
Daniel draws his line differently. He grew up in a very conservative family—so conservative that he wasn’t allowed to touch a water gun. Coming from such a conservative—even legalistic—background, he has reevaluated how he approaches entertainment. He probably watches more rated-R movies than Eve, but he points out that the rated-R movies of the ’90s were often cleaner in terms of morality than the PG-13 of the same time. He doesn’t mind the excessive violence that often gets movies an R rating, such as some of his favorites: , , , and similar. He doesn’t draw a line based on the rating, but he does have two separate lines on what he watches on DVD versus what he watches at a theater. He refuses to watch a movie with a sex scene in the theater—it creates an awkward and unavoidable situation. He adverts his eyes from immodesty (Psalm 101:3, Job 31:1).
He likes Sahara and is able to avoid the one scene that has immodesty. He wouldn’t have seen Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen at the theater if he had known the amount of sexual humor and excessive “flesh scenes” it had.
However, Daniel will allow more when he watches movies on DVD because he can control the situations and even skip inappropriate scenes.
Eve brings up the stumbling block issue (Romans [14:13]), telling of how she feels she should behave when around people who have strong convictions against secular entertainment—abstaining when others abstain so as not to be a stumbling block. Christians should always be aware of who is around them and not do things that would lead weaker brothers and sisters into temptation or sin.
Daniel doesn’t have a problem with violence. He doesn’t find that watching violence has an impact on his behavior. He also doesn’t have much of a problem with language. He doesn’t struggle with the foul language, but he gets annoyed with the dialog when it’s over used. Neither Daniel or Eve understand why some movies throw in so much bad language.
Eve prefers to watch some movies edited for television. Daniel talks about the TV Guardian and how the bleeped-out language actually made him think about it more than if he had actually heard the foul worlds.
Daniel does not like ultra-gory movies or video games. He really wished he hadn’t seen because, “everything they could make gory and grotesque, they did.” But he likes because it portrays realistic war and does not glorify the gore.
Where is the line when it comes to secular agenda?
Eve says that she will avoid movies that have agendas if she knows about it in advance, but that’s where the critical thinking comes in. If you’re going to watch it, it’s a good idea to be ready to recognize agendas.
Daniel avoids paying to watch movies that have blatant agendas, such as or , because he doesn’t like to fund worldly or antireligious agendas. Instead, he’ll borrow the DVD from a friend, the local library, or use a promo code to “rent” the DVD for free from Redbox in order to see the movie.
On the other end of the spectrum, Eve discusses supporting Christian or Christian-themed productions (such as , , , , , or ), even if they contain theological issues that are controversial for some Christians. If we want Christian entertainment, we have to support Christian entertainment with our money so that companies can afford to create it. Christians should not be hypocritical by avoiding Christian or Christian-themed movies because of minor theological “problems” when they will gladly go see Star Wars or another movie that is totally non-Christian.
The side topic of music is briefly discussed. Daniel personally chooses to avoid heavy metal and hard rock because of the mental imagery it produces.
In conclusion, we should be wary of who is around us so as not to make others stumble, we should be wary of where our own personal weakness are so that we don’t fall into sin (1 Corinthians [10:12]), and we have to pay attention to where our discomforts are because those who are living in the Spirit will be sensitive to God’s leading in compromising situations.
Thanks again to John Wilkerson of the Jesus Geek podcast for the topic suggestion.
More podcasts discussing “Where is the line?”
- “Where is the Line?“— Jesus Geek
- “Snark Infested Waters for 7/16/2009“—Snark Infested Waters
- “Walk and Talk 33“—The Jadedvisalian
Where do you draw the line?
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