Wednesday, August 24, 2011

How far...?

Hey guys! Betsy here. I'd like to initiate a discussion today, on the age old question - how far is too far when it comes to entertainment?

We've all been there - out with friends, sitting in a movie theater, eager to see a popular new flick...when BAM. Embarassing sexual scene on the screen. Or suddenly your ears are peppered with bad language that doesn't seem to stop. Or the violence is so intense you begin to feel heavy and sick.

What do you do? Do you try to convince your friends to leave? Do you shut your eyes and hope it gets better? Or do you take a stand and walk out alone?

What about when a friend (Christian or not) begins to tell a dirty joke? Or offers you a look at a magazine you know has images you shouldn't put in your head? Or lets you borrow a book that has a really spicy scene halfway through?

As Christians, what should we do? How far is too far? What does the Bible say?

While the Bible offers encouragement and advice in these situations, it's a little gray. After all, it doesn't flat out say "Do not see any movies at all." or "You can hear/say this curseword but not this one." etc.

Let's see what it does say, though.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:7-9

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. Ephesians 4:29

Do those verses help you navigate these murky entertainment waters? Is hearing an actor say "GD" or the F word over and over in a movie, or watching a love scene between two characters in a film, or filling your head with extreme violence true and noble and pure? Is it considered wholesome to tell a dirty joke?

I think it comes down to different convictions for different people - depending on where you are in your spiritual walk. New Christians might not be as convicted for these things as someone who has actively walked with God for ten or twenty years. But sadly, some Christians stop growing and therefore lose their sensitivity to conviction.

So how about it? Let's discuss! How far is too far for you? Where do you draw the line with your entertainment? Do you have a story to share, about a choice you had to make regarding this topic? I'd love to hear!


Anonymous said...

I haven't been a christian for long so I haven't really thought about it in that way but when I watch something that has bad words in it or things that I shouldn't be doing I just don't do it or say it. It's hard to know what will be in a movie before you watch it so I just have to remember not to take notice of the bad things.

Anonymous said...

If it's sadistic violence, such as the rape scene of the coma patient in Kill Bill, the husband and I have been known to walk. If it's just a constant stream of cursing with no particular plot or point in sight besides shock value, we walk. Likewise, sex that is strictly pornographic and not remotely tender or discrete is not something we would feel comfortable watching.

Betsy St. Amant said...

Thanks for chiming in! :)

There are actually websites now that you can go to that will rate movies for you. For example, is fabulous - it categorizes Sexuality, Violence and Language as seperate categories and not just as an number (for example, 6 and up is pretty bad!) but it actually will list the specifics. This can sometimes create a spoiler for the plot so don't read the entire thing if the numbers are low and the movie seems clean.

But for instance, if the language rating seems a little high, you can go down to the very bottom and it will tell you there are "this many" of "this kind of bad word". So you know what to expect and can decide if you want to hear it.

Same with the sensuality. It will give vague descriptions as to what's in the film, such as "a man and woman hug, a man is shown without a shirt" etc. Some get more detailed about a scene and that's when you stop reading and realize that movie probably isn't something you should see!

Since I have a kid myself now this is extremely helpful for the future when we start seeing more movies together :)

Sapphire said...

As for determining what is "too far" with entertainment I'm already exposed to, I just go by my gut - I try to stay in continual conversation with God, and when I *do*, I'm very aware of the Holy Spirit telling me when something is not okay. I've actually given up a couple of TV shows I loved because I felt His prodding to do so (I'll admit, it wasn't easy the first time, but the second time it was okay. :-)). If it's one scene in a book, I just skip the scene (but if it's a pattern, I stop reading the book all together).

For movies, I do a little research. I check out what kind of content is in a movie online before I go to the theater and rent it (parent reviews like you mentioned, or If it has a lot of sexual content in it (meaning if it *shows* anything or is absolutely peppered with references and innuendoes), I skip it. Even if it's "just" PG-13.

As for language and violence in movies, however, I go on a case-by-case basis. Language doesn't really bother me, unless it's R for that with f-bombs throughout...but there are also some films I can think of that the language was crucial to the story, used to differentiate between the good guys and the bad guys (Gran Torino, Book of Eli). Same goes for violence - I don't watch anything that glorifies "evil" violence (like horror films), but if it tells a history or war story (Gladiator, Robin Hood, The Green Zone, most action movies involving federal agents), I think it's acceptable and can even be beneficial/educational.

Betsy St. Amant said...

Sapphire, we have a lot in common! Thanks for participating :)

Sierra said...

Well no cussing for me :) I picked up some language a couple years ago and I prayed about it and God totally helped me to stop. It was pretty cool. My mom doesn't even want me to watch the kissing scene in Emma so nothing like that for me :) With books I usually try to skip past something bad or whatever. I don't read the book if the back looks totally inappropriate then I wouldn't read it. Sometimes there might be something at the end or in the middle that I really disagree with. The thing that bugs me is when there is something like that when the rest of the book is awesome! Philippians 4:8 is my life verse.And I believe you just have verse 8 there not 7 and 8 and 9. That other verse is great too! Sierra
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