Thursday, May 24, 2007

Reflecting Christ in What I Watch: Part Deux

Maximus: [after swiftly dispatching another gladiator] Are you not entertained? Are you not entertained? Is this not why you are here?
Crowd: Spaniard, Spaniard, Spaniard...

The above quote (from Gladiator) kind of reflects a little of what I was talking about in my last post. The scene is an arena where the captive gladiator Marcus Aurelius has just slain several gladiators for the entertainment of the crowd. He angrily addresses the onlookers (who are cheering him) and asks them if they are satisfied with his performance. To me, this is the most memorable quote in the movie. The Romans had the "games," are the movies the same thing for us? Do we substitute fiction/fantasy for the reality and convince ourselves it is completely different?

Imagine the shock we would feel if during a particularly violent movie, the guy doing the butchering turned to the camera/audience and angrily said "Are you entertained yet?" Or a woman being ravished by her lover turned to the camera and asked the same thing? I'm not suggesting a ban on any movie that has R rated elements (I'm sure if the Bible was made into a movie it would be rated above R). When it comes to movies I kind of think of a continuum somewhere between two polar opposites; legalistic purity and anything-goes debauchery. Somewhere in the middle is something I call "Spirit sensitive discernment." I'm just wondering if those of us who are Christ followers have the courage to step back and honestly look at what we watch and consider its effects on us.

I've noticed that nobody responded to my last post. I'm sure many of you as fellow bloggers have experienced this before; you write what you think is an engaging, thought provoking post and then nobody comments on it! Most of the time I don't care (much), but this time I was a tad disappointed. Why didn't people comment, I wonder? Here are my theories:

1. Nobody is reading this blog. This might be possible, however sitemeter doesn't lie . . . there are at least few people stopping by (thanks Mom!).
2. Nobody cares about this subject. Also possible.
3. I'm a really poor writer and the post was boring, mixed up, difficult to read, or just plain unengaging.
4. People are really lazy (yes, this must be it!)
5. I was too open about a personal subject. Sometimes I read other people's blogs and shocked at their authenticity but just have no idea how to respond to it.
6. The post hit too close to home.
7. People have no consciences or mine is waaay too sensitive.
8. I am so out to lunch that my post doesn't even warrant a response!

Whatever the reason(s) might be, I have to admit that I've enjoyed the process of wrestling with the topic. Blogging is as much a conversation with the self as it is with others.

May Light increase!


Anonymous said...

Poor Mark...did you think we had all abandoned you?! You forgot one theory, perhaps they read the blog and needed time to digest it before speaking. That was my reason at any rate.

We just discussed this topic at church. Our pastor was saying that he has really been praying for discernment in his life and has found that books and movies that he once enjoyed are now things he doesn't feel comfortable with. I think if I really paid close attention to my thoughts and feelings while watching or reading certain things, I would probably stop too. I just choose not to pay attention. As a Christian, I believe that God sent the Holy Spirit to assist me in resisting the temptation of filling my mind with things that shouldn't be there. But as much as that Holy Spirit nudges, it is me who needs to learn to listen. Perhaps more of my prayer and effort should be directed to this...

...something to work on!

Love you!

Mark said...

Michelle: Thanks for your honesty (and for commenting!). Last night I was in the video store and found a couple of movies that I was interested in watching (we rent our movies at a Shell which charges only 99 cents for rentals). One of the movies I wanted to watch I decided probably wouldn't be that great (Phil 4:8 was going through my head). I don't think it was an especially "evil" movie, but I just got this sense it wouldn't be spiritually uplifting either. I chose another one and was rewarded with a great movie watching experience (it was dark but had a powerful message for good that resonated with me). I want to develop personal sensitivity (not legalism) towards such things. Freedom is not just being able to choose what one is entertained with but also the freedom to choose what one is NOT entertained with. I think. Adieu!

Chantel said...

Hi Mark!

Thanks for checking out my blog and reading my testimony, it's really encouraging to get feedback, even from strangers. I'll come back and check out yours' sometime, take care and God Bless.


Anonymous said...

OK Mark, you KNOW I check out your Blog ALL THE TIME and you've told everyone. That's OK. Mom's are allowed to "spy" on the family! Seriously....we don't get to see you often so this is my way of finding out what's going on with you and I have to say it blesses me incredibly to see all the good things happening in your life as you work through topics like this last one. As you grow, so does your family and that includes my grandkids as you model life for them. "Do as I say not as I do" does not work and I'm glad that you are demonstrating how this life of freedom should be lived. You bless me! Love, Mom

Anonymous said...

well marky mark

now that i am a christian (i accepted christ last weekend at abundant springs) i'll be seeing how much any movie reflects christ or anything pertaining to christianity. and also if the bible were made into the movie it would definitely have it's own rating

well ttyl