I’m considering a self-imposed ban on watching television. Conservative is not exactly my middle name (several Bethel baseball players would actually probably call me a “Lib” – lovingly, of course). Wherever you stand, I’m becoming increasingly disgusted with the unreal and ridiculous nature of television and the media.
Let’s start with this: Levi’s “First Time” commercial. I mean, watch it.
Really? Clearly, these two kids aren’t older than 14 and they’re referring to doin’ it for the first time. I don’t have kids and yet, I’m scared for them to grow up in this kind of media-rific world.
Currently, I am stomaching the American Music Awards. EVERY woman is dressed in the shortest, tightest outfit they can squeeze into (But John, the human body is BEAUTIFUL and they’re ALLOWED to freely express themselves). EVERY woman finds it necessary to throw their “va-jay-jay” – OPRAH’S OUR ONLY HOPE 🙂 – into the face of a) the audience, b) the male artist they are stripping for, or c) impossibly, themselves. On a side note, I don’t even need to verbalize my disdain for the current “top” music right now. My jaw found the floor when New Kids On The Block did whatever they were doing on stage.
News Media? Yikes. ‘Fear. Be afraid.’ ‘Our world is crashing down.’ ‘Please, don’t elect Obama. Please don’t choose Hillary.’ ‘McCain = the Anti-Christ.’ Yes, please, show me more of Sarah Palin and turkeys getting their lives spared. That’s EXACTLY what I want to watch. The stock market – we don’t have any money left! Wait, every member of our family can’t have a car? You’re telling me I can’t buy a house that after paying my mortgage I can only afford Malt-O-Meal Cocoa Dynobites and Great Value Mac & Cheese?
And please, MTV? Extreme sells. I get it. Let’s find the most extreme and ridiculous people we can find, stick them in whatever silly situation we can conjure, and video tape it. People will watch it. However, now it’s to the point where I don’t think people know that this is an example of how they AREN’T supposed to act. Tila Tequila and Paris Hilton are so sensationalized and worshipped that people are now imagining this is what could lead them to stardom, happiness, and personal fulfillment. Kids generally list being a celebrity and being rich as the “very best thing in the world.”
Someone needs to take a stand. I’m not going to turn on CNN, MTV, and every other major cable network to be bombarded with the current ticker of the Dow Jones, the fear associated with losing our money, and the incredible amount of sexual quotient (SQ any Chapman people?) prescribed to engage our sensationalistic-craving minds. Anyone who reads this might think that I am all for running from the scary world or that I present some sort of moral policing strategy, but that is the furthest thing from the truth. In fact, what I am suggesting is that we engage and confront the world with GRACE & TRUTH, not with just one or the other. We will never “out-shout” the world; however, we can out-love and provide deeper truth than the world, but we will need to do that by taking a stand occasionally.
We are told the latest generation can’t STAND authority, that they won’t listen to authoritative opinion or voice, and that the only TRUTH is the TRUTH they conceive. So, if you want to get in with them, don’t take a stand and just let them figure it out themselves – at least, that’s “their” solution to a generation floundering at the celebrity-driven and media-rific world in which we live. In the Church, supposedly a light in a dark world, it doesn’t offer many answers either. The stats aren’t lying. Study after study concludes the same thing: Christians don’t look any different than those who are UnChristian. While we freely acknowledge the beautiful & radical GRACE God extends to us, do we cheapen it by lessening our responsibility of a higher way of living? The answer is an ASTOUNDING YES!!! We fail to offer black & white answers while extending RADICAL GRACE because it’s too much of an awesome paradox for us and others to handle.
So who is going to take a stand? Who’s going to give an authoritative voice on moral issues? If not the Church, who is going to stand up and say, listen people, I love you, but this is NOT real life? I know kids who cut, kids who want to end their lives, kids who hurt – and is it perhaps no one has told them what leads to real life and what doesn’t? When we take a stand, we must do so from a place of relationship and a place of love. If we just stand on the side of the street yelling at people, that’s not love. If we engage in relationship without an agenda, only then could we seek to take a stand.
I do believe that God is love & hope and that love & hope conquer all, even the fear and pessimism I am expressing here. While I’m thoroughly disgusted, I’m not going to lose hope, I’m going to love, and I’m going to take a stand. Screw the post-modern mindset that says the emerging generation doesn’t care for authority. I’m not going to throw it in people’s face, but in the midst of place-sharing and building real, authentic relationships with them, I’m not going to skip the step of pointing to the truth and providing a barrier to those things that lead to dehumanization.
May God give us the courage to take a stand, to save us from fear, and find ways to package the paradoxical message of RADICAL GRACE and BLACK & WHITE TRUTH!