Jan 12, 2010

On Television and 'Christian' Culture

I'm sitting in my dorm, and my roommate just walked in. I don't know what it is about this semester, but my dormmates always have the television on. It gets turned on at 9 in the morning, and only gets shut off for dinner (so about 30 minutes). The day begins with Regis and Kelly, rounds up the afternoon with daytime T.V., Dr. Phil, Oprah, and Dr. Oz. After dinner, there's usually a wide selection of unnecessary and crude movies, complete with The Hangover, Step Brothers and every scary movie you could possibly think of. All I can think of is: WHAT A WASTE OF TIME!

I have homework to do, and chances are, so do the girls in my dorm. I sit in my room, at my desk and do homework (also, as I am writing this, my roommate has turned on the T.V. to watch Dr. Phil...something about cheating husbands...honestly, whose business is this?!). The irony is that what I am reading about is contextualizing Christianity in our secular world.

Our world is secular because of the media. Shows like the O.C., Dr. Phil, Oprah, Gossip Girl, and yes, even LOST, are saturated with our pagan, anti-Christian culture. We, as human beings, are porous. We absorb everything we hear, see, touch, etc. This is why propaganda is such a powerful thing. This is especially true with television shows, radio music, and even the books we read. Ask yourself while you're watching television what it is that you are watching.

I'm tired of bad television. And let's face it, Dr. Phil, Oprah, Daytime TV, Gossip Girl, etc., is bad television. I don't even know what good television is anymore. We escape into these shows and block out our own lives, but at the same time, we absorb everything they are trying to 'teach'. Eventually the morals of our media become our own morals. As a Christian, I have a problem with this.

Now, I'm as guilty as the next person for sitting in front of the TV and just being there, not doing anything but 'watching'. I'm also guilty of having the TV on for background noise. We don't realize that this is equally dangerous. I've been trying to replace the TV in the background for Christian music (I must have background noise). But encouraging the girls I live with to do the same is a problem, since a few of them are 'morally' against Christian music. Seems ironic, since Redeemer is a Christian university...

I'm tired of polluting my mind with crap. I don't need to be watching a movie where the 'f-bomb' is dropped every other word. To me, a script with that proves illiteracy. Even that word dropped in every day life isn't proof of intelligence. In fact, if the only vocabulary you possess is the ability to say 'fuck' every few words, you will not be able to sustain a job anywhere for very long.

So, amidst this pagan culture we live in (because it has not been Christian for a very long time), it is hard to find a way to stand up. I'm not saying that watching these shows is bad, but you have to be aware of what they teach, what their morals are, what having them on in the background as 'noise' is teaching your children, or those you live with. Are their morals Christian?

Some are skeptical of Rob Bell, but I think this clip shows what I am talking about.

In our skeptical society, soaking up everything, and believing nothing, having the TV on as background noise is dangerous.

Take a glance through Tim Keller's book "The Reason for God." How is Christianity showing face in our culture? Is it at all? It's a secular world we live in now. The biggest danger is denying that.

Word of the Day: Contextualize

Quote of the Day: "You are like pineapple. Prickly on the outside, but sweet and sincere on the inside." Peter Frieswick


Jeremy said...

Amen to that! I didn't know there was another college student out there that agreed with me on how much primetime hollywood tv shows suck. You feel completely drained and lifeless after watching Dr. Phil in the middle of a glorious day. So much else can be done for the Kingdom. Boo to Philip & Oprah...Yay for pineapples!

sugarnuggets said...

I support your choice for background "noise", except I like to play it so loud that most people would call it "foreground sound". I fail to recognize how people can be morally or philosophically opposed to modern psalms, how do they feel about the ancient ones?
In reality, it's only a partial antidote to what daily bombards the mind.

Anonymous said...

I wonder: what does it mean to hear the voice of God? why do our physical ears have to be involved?
I'm guessing that 'hearing the voice of God' is a metaphor we take too much at face value in this respect. Dr. Phil is not THE voice of our culture, or even A voice of it, he's one piece of its message… I don't think that having the radio playing classical music is noise that blocks out God -- the last thing I listened to on the radio was CBC playing Arvo Pärt, which was intensely worshipful. It's not as easy to identify and respond to the 'voice' of culture, or of God, as we sometimes seem to say it is.
That said, we definitely need more silence/quiet in our lives. Car trips where nobody talks and the radio is off, conversations with friends where nobody has to raise their voice to be heard clearly…

[I feel like I know a little bit about silence and noise because of the thousands of hours I've spent on my tractor]

Marieke said...

Wow! Refreshing!
I don't enjoy TV for the most part, no, not even the racket of cartoons...
God appears in "the quiet of the evening" or "the quiet of the morning" and suggests that we "be STILL and know that He is God".
"let the noise and clamor cease"....

Deborah said...

Amen, Sista! Way to stand strong! I am wondering what your dorm mates reasons are for Christian music being morally wrong.Please fill me in!!