erelah-tabbris asked a question:
Do you like secular tv shows and movies? do you find this keeps us off the path of Jesus/condemns us?
Hey dear friend, to be very truthful, I’m a huge fan of TV shows and movies. My favorite TV show of all time is 24, and I currently watch Person of Interest and The Walking Dead. I’m secretly a noir film buff and I love the old 1940s-50s black and white detective films, particularly with Humphrey Bogart. As an Asian-Easterner, these sort of Western tales are hugely fascinating, with their strong feminine characters and self-deprecating anti-heroes. I’ve read nearly all of Raymond Chandler’s work. I’m also a sucker for Michael Crichton and Stephen King. Oh, and Marvel and DC (why not both?).
I try not to think of entertainment as “secular” versus “Christian,” because this “sacred/secular” divide unnecessarily stirs up a self-righteous superiority, as if art can only be art when “I say so.” There’s no special medal for skipping The DaVinci Code. It also excludes a wide variety of creative expression, which gets a little bit too much like an authoritarian tyranny to me.
Art in itself has a connective tissue which speaks to us on a personal and universal level. Some art does this better than others, but most art does speak to us. I wouldn’t wipe out an entire genre just because it wasn’t totally “safe” or “pure.” In fact, some art or music or movies that claim to be about Jesus are actually rather terrible, and are so distracting that they only remind me how weird the Christian art industry really is. But then I have a spiritual experience watching the forsaken love of The Phantom of the Opera or the heroism of Harry Potter, and these point me to Jesus better than Left Behind or Kirk Cameron.
Certainly there’s art that’s degrading and regressive. While every voice can be freely expressed, it doesn’t mean it should all be freely received. Some of it must be outright rejected. But nearly every form of art can be redeemed, if not in whole, then in pieces.
It’s up to us, individually, with wisdom and discernment, to redeem the connective tissue. In the end, it’s all about our motives with these things. Am I watching this to vicariously fulfill my objectification and anger? Or am I watching this out of the appreciation of storytelling and aesthetic beauty? For the most part, I think we can tell the difference, and so we can decide accordingly.
It’s a Romans 14 issue, so if something does cause me to stumble, then I will absolutely skip it, no matter how much I get called a prude. It also depends on our season of life, whether we’re trying to quit a certain habit or free our minds of an old pattern. Each of us must be wise to decide what we filter and what we intake. So please don’t let anyone embarrass you if you choose to stay away from certain things, but please don’t shame others for what they watch, either.