prudence & care: media

As self-proclaimed followers of Christ we do not like talking about how our relationship with Jesus affects the way we choose which film to watch or not watch, which book to read or not read, which magazine to indulge in or forgo. Why? Embarrassment perhaps plays a large part of it when we sit back and assess just how much rotting away of the brain our "guilty pleasures" do to us. Conviction, most definitely. When we recognize the filth in our beloved television show we allow the Holy Spirit to show us just how un-beneficial said show is, which is not the best feeling in the world.

Yet, what we put into our head and heart will flow from us. Therefore our media choices greatly impact who we are, how we act and what we say. This is the reason being prudent in these decisions is vital.

The problem is that the guidelines on what is beneficial and what is not can be a difficult sea to navigate. I believe that can be a person by person decision. Creating a list of what a movie cannot obtain in order for a viewer to watch it seems dogmatic and impractical. My suggestion is this: allow the Holy Spirit to speak and guide you. Listen and obey him.

The things the Holy Spirit has convicted me not to let entertain me or my thoughts may not resonate with you, but here they are:

I steer away from unnecessary nudity, meaningless sex mindsets and pointless sex scenes.
As Joseph Gordon-Levitt once commented, at times it seems like films think "Oh, these two actors are hot" and then throw them into a sex scene. There is no place in the story line that cause for a sex encounter; it is meaningless and the nudity is futile. For instance, one of the very films Joseph starred in obtained such pointless nudity. In Looper, his character's "girlfriend" and him have a conversation while she has her top off. There is no sex between the two shown. There is no explanation of why she has her top off. I find this annoying and vulgar. Unfortunately, one of my favorite television shows Friends is chalk-full of a cast that has a positive association with casual sex. While I find the show hilarious, I don't want to fill my brain with entertainment that promotes having sex with any person of choice. But, I believe, there are times I feel sex, the human body, etc. play a key role in a film. For instance, Anna Karenina, had tasteful sex scenes that really went with the story line and the overall feel of the movie. They were not done simply to put some sensual scenes in the film. They had purpose and beauty to them.

I try to avoid films with unnecessary language and perverse humor.
This is pretty self-explanatory. If a character is cussing just to cuss, it becomes annoying and tacky. If a character endlessly makes vulgar jokes it again becomes annoying and tacky.

I flee from 50 Shades of Gray and Magic Mike.
Yes, I am dropping names. Friends, if any of you entertain yourself with said book or film (or any type similar) please, please, please don't. You cannot unread or unsee things. We as women in the church hate on men who entertain themselves with pornography, yet here we are taking our daughters to see Magic Mike and reading 50 Shades of Gray at book club. Do you not see the hypocrisy in it all? (P.S. Am I the only one who thought Magic Mike was the sequel to Like Mike and got excited? Yes? Okay.)

I don't let mindless, superficial characters and conversations on the TV screen or bookshelf.
I am calling out the majority of reality TV out there. I am not saying there needs to be conversations Aristotle and Plato would have, but let it be more about getting your nails done, meaningless drama and spray tans.

I don't read magazines that tell me how horrible I am and give me unattainable goals to strive for.
I truly wish I could hold all of us broken and insecure ones. I wish I could punch a lot of the media in the face that tells us we are not worthy because we don't meet a jean size or have a boyfriend. Toss the magazines in the fire and burn them! You are worth so much more, my sister. 

So by now you may be thinking there is nothing to watch or read. But take heart! There is, you just have to go look for it! There are loads of books out there. Go ask around, search your local library or Barnes & Noble and find them. As far as magazines, why not try Darling Magazine. Looking for a good film to watch? Again, there are many. My personal favorites for comedy are The Pink Panther, Get Smart, Napolean Dynmaite (did I mention I like stupid humor... a lot?) Some good dramas are Dead Poet's Society, Never Let Me Go, The Secret Life of Bees. And if you are needing a film for girl's night good old A Walk to Remember or The Notebook are my go to's. And I feel as if you can rarely go wrong when it comes to older films. There were many restriction on what could and could not be shown on the screen back in the day so you usually by-pass the sex scenes and unnecessary cursing (plus their outfits are to die for).

I know it can be overwhelming when you first choose to use prudence in media choices. I know it can be tough to let your friends know why you are passing on their invitation to the latest blockbuster film. And I know when you pull out I Love Lucy instead of The Real Housewives of Atlanta your girlfriends may go into shock, but do not give up on the journey!

Do you use prudence in your media choices? Why or why not? Do you think, as Christians, we should? What are some of your favorite films, magazines, television shows and books?

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