My heart is so extremely burdened. It has been for quite a while. I have trouble sleeping. I walk through my days with sadness. For months now I've done my chores throughout the day while going over these issues in my head. God has been after me to write this blog. I've put it off . . . intentionally.
Well, for starters, I simply don't know where to start. I'm overwhelmed.
Secondly, I know that it'll require some changes on my part, and I haven't been ready to surrender those things. Selfish, I know. God has been dealing with me.
Tonight, the third night of not being able to fall asleep because of these thoughts swirling in my head, I'm surrendering. I'm sharing. I'm emptying my heart onto "paper". There is so much here though. I don't know how many posts it will cover. I don't know how long it will take me to write each one. All I do know is that God has called me, and it's time to respond. So here goes . . .
*I am not bringing up specific titles/people to start an argument. I'm simply sharing the events that God used to speak to me over these past months.*
Movies. Books. Music.
Our entertainment industry has recently been dominated by things that stepped up the game; that have lowered, even more, those standards that were already well below what God calls holy.
*First, "Magic Mike" made an appearance. Christians all over the country were appalled over this. There were many blog posts and articles written about this. Many pastors and teachers subtly slipped it into their sermons and lessons as they began covering topics of pornography and purity. A question was posed to me during this time as I joined the voices speaking out against this movie. I remained silent to that question. Why? I had already made it clear I wasn't in agreement, so why did I remain silent? Well, it caused me to go deeper in my thinking, and I knew it would make people angry. I wasn't ready for that.
*Very shortly after that time, "50 Shades of Grey" popped up on bookstore shelves all over the nation. It became available in hard copy, as an ebook, in audio format. It was advertised on numerous websites all over the internet. Again, people all over the world were speaking out against this type of literature. People were confronting it head-on. I read blogs about it, but I didn't join my voice in with the thousands of others. The question I had been asked during the Magic Mike "era" came resonating back into my head, and I knew I needed to answer it. Instead, I became a coward and sealed my lips.
*Not too long later, a young girl named Miley Cyrus got on stage, and well, there's no need for me to spell out what happened there. Even non-Christians were outraged at the spectacle she made. Negative comments shot up from every direction. A link to the video that was taken of that performance began circling the internet. It was almost impossible to get online without seeing a reference to and link for that video. I knew that if I spoke out on that topic, no one would argue with me. I knew I would have full support in any comment against it. I also "knew" though that it was so picked over that probably no one would read what I had to say anyway. In that moment, I listened to the lies of Satan and chose silence.
I truly believe that my heavy heart and the burden I've been carrying are not so much from the situations that have infiltrated our entertainment industry as they are from my choice of silence when God was telling me to speak. My silence put a distance between God and me. And now, I'm breaking that silence and filling in the gap I've created.
So, what is the infamous question I was asked? Well, it was posed to me as a statement: "This is only a movie and [there are] lots of movies out there kinda like this one and for some reason this is getting a lot of attention." My first thought was anger. "It doesn't matter what else is out there. This is still wrong."
Then I calmed down and realized this person was right. Why were we paying so much attention to this movie? Why did that book get so much of our attention? Why did that girl cause us all to freak out? There are plenty of other things out there that are just as bad, if not worse, than those things that caused us all so much grief.
Though this person's goal was to get me to realize that we need to stop picking on the entertainment, it had quiet the opposite effect. My question became "why didn't we start fighting this crap a long time ago?"
I'm not very much into recent movies and shows. Though there are a few I enjoy, most of them are just not very interesting to me. I like older movies. Black and whites. Dean Martin. Jerry Lewis. Fred Astaire. Bing Crosby. Doris Day. Someone was always singing and/or dancing in those movies. It was entertaining. They have always seemed so innocent to me . . . until this question was brought to me.
Shortly after this conversation took place, I was watching the ever-popular "White Christmas", and my eyes were opened to the truth. Then I watched a Doris Day movie (the title of which escapes my memory at the moment), and I was saddened. How had I been so blind all this time? In "White Christmas" the songs are wonderful, the talent is amazing, the dancing . . . well, it could have been awesome. They had to add in inappropriate, immodest clothing. The outfits the girls wear in that movie leave very little to the imagination of the men in the audience. The Doris Day movie I referred to, well, there is more than one scene of a woman in the bathtub. Though she has bubbles up to her neck, it's still not appropriate.
Listen, I know all the ideas of "well, just fast-forward through that scene" and all that. That's good. That is wise. I'm concerned though about where that train of thought has brought us. We accepted it back then, and just "skipped over" that part. We supported it then when we should have avoided it at all costs. Women in inappropriate clothing back in the 50's was accepted, and now we have movies of people without ANY clothes! What did we truly expect to happen? The old adage "what one generation allows in moderation, the next will allow in excess" has proven true. I know Christians fought against these three particular things, but while we were doing that, we were still supporting other books, movies, and music that are just as ungodly. I mean, I can't speak for everyone else here, but I can speak for myself. And I can tell you that though I have been criticized for how strict my standards are, I was still supporting ungodly things (like the two movies I just mentioned).
PLEASE HEAR ME:
I can't - AND WON'T - tell you what specific movies you should watch. I can't - AND WON'T - tell you what books to read or music to listen to. I can give some advice though. I can help steer you in the right direction. I'm "authorized" to do that because it comes from the Bible.
Ephesians 5:3-4 - "But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or any kind impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God's holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving." (bold added)
Ephesians 5:11-12 - "Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret." (bold added)
I can't speak for you, but my "strict" movie, music, and book choices don't follow the guidelines set forth in Scripture. I'm sorry to fellow Christians for being a bad witness, to non-Christians for possibly leading you astray, and to my LORD and Savior for not being holy in my walk. I love you all, and I pray you'll join me on this journey of purifying our walks with Him.
(Sidenote: There is still more burdening my heart, but this is all I feel compelled to share right now. Please pray for me as God shows me more and more. Pray for me to have courage to share what I've been shown. Pray for me to have kind, loving words to gently lead others to the truth.)