Contend Earnestly: 10 Steps to Become a Legalist: Step 9

Friday, October 24, 2008

10 Steps to Become a Legalist: Step 9

Step 9 is here, which means that we are almost done making you all good legalists that are ready to carry the flag of “you” and burn the flag of “them.” Burn baby burn.

Step 9 is almost a continuation of step 8. This step is going to make sure that, as the other steps, you take one of the two extremes and condemn the other side to make sure that they understand your maturity and their infancy in Christ. The two that are put forth are either some sort of abstention and while the other is completely open to almost all forms of movies (besides pornographic ones).

The first way to become a legalist in this area is to simply condemn all things Hollywood. It is the den of Satan and is used to just build up wealth so that the liberal can add more money in their pockets to denounce the Christian. Talk about the research that is done to show that the movie industry is the reason for all violence and sex. That the reason your child doesn’t listen to you and runs around the house like a squirrel on an energy drink is because of the movies that he has accidentally seen at a friends house where the parents don’t love their kids.

It is because of this that you should never watch any movie ever. Well unless Kirk Cameron is in it, then it is okay. Or wait, unless it is about Jesus being crucified, then it is okay. Or wait, if it is put out by a church then it is okay. But all other movies are because Satan hasn’t been bound and is found to be actually the “Director and Screen Writer” of Hollywood.

Some others in this arena, instead of almost complete abstention, will just come out and say, “you shouldn’t watch anything R rated.” This is a great thing. It is easy. It is straight forward. This is easy to become a legalist in this form. You could make a t-shirt that instead of the R standing for Restricted, it could say “Resurrected” or something like that. What this does is find another way to cheapen Jesus, way to go. But, hey, you could probably make some money this way, so who cares, right? Instead of watching R rated movies you will need to find other forms of movies that you deem as good ones. Again, Kirk Cameron is good person to start with. And keep the R rated restriction unless it is about the bloody death of Jesus. So, there will have to be some exceptions to the rule. But hey, what is a good legalist without their own exceptions?

The main thing in this form of legalism is to make sure that others know that your view is right. This is key to being a good legalist. Don’t keep it to yourself. Make sure you say things like, “I can’t believe you can watch that!” or “We had to walk out of that movie.” Or “that movie was obviously not God honoring.” Whatever you do just make sure you use condescending speech to make the person you are talking to realize that you are the standard and they are the "Christian" who needs some more maturity in their life.

On the other hand, instead of abstention, you could be a legalist by not abstaining from any movie. They are all okay. Call the other people who have decided to abstain within their own families legalists and prudes. Who cares what you watch, you can separate what you watch and then what you do in your life, right? It is just a movie. Most movies are just portraying real life, so what is the big deal? I can control what I think about and how I see the world, the movies don’t have any affect on me. Make sure this is your outlook on movies and really laugh at those who only watch Disney or has the term “High School” and “Musical” in their titles. Laugh at the Christian movie industry and talk down to those people who like them like an atheist being evangelized by a teen ager.

Whatever you do, don’t put restrictions on your movie watching because how will you be able to talk to people about Jesus unless you know why “There Will Be Blood”? How can you be hip and talk to those outside the faith unless they see you enjoy watching the latest from M. Night? Won’t they just think you make charts of the tribulation while memorizing all the verses on hell? You don’t want to be “that guy” do you? So, the only way to make sure that your house doesn’t look like a museum of Christian artifacts of Christian culture gone bad, you must make sure you watch any and all movies with liberality. Besides, do I really have to put in my favorite movies on Facebook, “The Passion” “Facing the Giants” “Left Behind” and “Fireproof”?

Alright, alright, before we have a riot on our hands, let me try and weigh through these issues here.

I think there has to be a good middle ground here with these two types that I run into a lot. First, remember, that if you choose to only allow certain movies in your household, that is fine, your house, not mine. I am talking about those who try and make the rest of us sound like we are Rosemary’s Baby if we decide that watching movies that don’t star Kirk Cameron. I honestly think that most of the arguments on this side are a little shallow in their thinking overall.

If we decide to abstain from Hollywood because of where the money goes, then don’t we have to start doing the same thing with everything we decide to consume? Don’t we need to know where the owners of Costco, Target, McDonald’s, etc. spend their money as well? I think by boycotting Hollywood we actually show our hate for the world and not the love of them. This doesn’t mean that we watch everything that they produce, or we become their advocates, but to boycott or get overly aggressive in our behavior sounds a bit ridiculous.

My other issues with people who try and get others to not watch R rated movies is the Bible itself. If we try and abstain from all sorts of violence and sexual tensions then what will happen when we come to books like Song of Solomon, Ezekiel, Judges, Jeremiah, etc.? Again, if you and your family decide against R rated movies, go for it, just don't try and convince me biblically how this is right and why I am a devil lover.

The other side of the coin are those who have no filter for the movies that they watch. We have to be careful that we don’t completely let our guards down to watch filth that can cause us to sin. For guys, this is lust of the eyes with the sex that is so apparent in the movies. For women it could be the underlining feminist themes that run through many movies showing men to be weak and downright evil. We have to be careful to not just watch anything for the sake of entertainment.

I would say that God did create the movie industry, like he did all the arts, to display his glory. Like paintings, books, sculptures, etc. the movie industry shows off the glory of our God. Most movies don’t even realize that they are depicting many themes found in the Bible. That by displaying creation with music played behind it they are showing off our great God and the wonderful work that he allows us as humans to produce.

May we find a good medium in film and enjoy the art that is God honoring and pray a prayer of thankfulness for all the talent that is displayed every weekend for a mere price of your first born to enter the theater.


Anonymous said...

people might not be too far off sifting out all R-rated films... too bad so many R-rated films are so cinematically well-made, and honest as well

i agree that tons of movies reveal God's glory without meaning too (that in itself is a Biblical principle); it's something i think about a lot actually. thx for posting

Anonymous said...

I had to stop watching Kirk Cameron...I tell everyone it was because I could not support the terrrrrible theology of "Left Behind"...but really it is because he is so darn cute and i was developing a lust problem.


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