“Think About Such Things”

There are some who believe that as followers of Christ you should stay clear of movies depicted as, “a sickening death trip, a grimly unilluminating procession of treachery, beatings, blood, and agony” (2004).

There are some who believe that when you come across Philippians 4:8 stating, “Finally, brothers, 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,” that you are to only engage media that have such themes.

And yet could there can be faulty thinking here? (as many add their own words like “cheery,” “fluffy,” & “heartwarming.”)

Under this interpretation you could never read the Old Testament that explores the whole range of human depravity from murder and torture to bestiality and incest. Under this interpretation you could never view the film mentioned above…which is a review for Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of Christ.”

I wonder if the Apostle Paul is asking us to think about such things as a biblical grid of sorts? That as we engage culture (i.e. media), we are critically evaluating each medium & message with the lens of that which is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, or praiseworthy…serving as a guide for judgment.

Should this passage limit artistic engagement or unlock the whole world to our handling & assessment?

NOTE: See past post on remarks given in response to The Golden Compass.


~ by Dave Smith on January 27, 2008.

2 Responses to ““Think About Such Things””

  1. The question of how to properly engage our culture with our life and message always seems to be such flamable material.

    I understand the struggle, I can remember a time when I set a “no rated R movies” standard for myself. I’ve since changed my stance (drastically)…I’ve shown clips of “The Machnist” in my ABF…and let’s just say it’s not for the faint of heart.

    Perhaps the starting point is the real issue, not the end. Where is our culture? Suburban, sanitized, secluded, and safe (please, no more ‘s’). I don’t know if this is the intented application of the writer.

    As usual, there is a balance…engage the culture – yes. Golden Compass, Harry Potter, Star Wars, Matrix – it’s the same basic package with a different ribbon.

    Should we watch every piece of garbage out there – no. I didn’t watch “Showgirls” to get a better handle on our cultures view of women.

    What is the distinction? Who has the answers? For my part, I think we need to engage the mind and belief of our culture, and in even some instances, engage the location – e.g. Jesus ate with the tax collector at his home.

    We all have our horror stories about restrictions put on us for the sake of “our testimony” when engaging our culture. And, in my opinion, this only contributes to the idea that Christianity is just another legalistic and anti-intellectual religion.

  2. Well said. Definitely no easy answers here. An issue I consistently struggle with…and it is a wrestling that I hope continues. If not, it may mean I am either embracing culture with no grid at all…or I have banished it all from my life. Either one is a scary ending point.

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