A Paradigm Shift
One of the values that I’ve learned from my church community (which actually first came from the Bible) is that the Gospel changes everything. For years I mistakenly viewed the Gospel as simply a door-way through which every Christian must initially walk to get to the “Christian Life”. The truth that Jesus Christ died on a Cross for my sins simply meant that I got a ticket to heaven some day when I died. However, the Bible paints a very different picture. Rather than the door that we walk through, it is more like the path we walk on every day. As Tim Keller says, “The gospel isn’t simply the ABCs of Christianity, but the A-through-Z.” This means we not only have eternal life after death, but that our life here on earth is meant to “glorify God and enjoy him forever”. It means that every area of our lives is now important. Everything we do is now viewed through a Gospel paradigm. Everything. No area of life should be untouched when you grasp what the Gospel means. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 10:31,
So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.
This means the Christian lives decidedly different from the rest of the World. Believers eat differently, work differently, parent differently, and view entertainment differently. While we could, and should, spend the rest of our lives working out the implications of the Gospel in all areas, I would like to look more in-depth at what it means to view entertainment differently.
What often happens is that Christians think, or are taught, that they should burn the Marilyn Manson CD they listen to and gather the family around to watch 7th Heaven re-runs. I would argue that it is much more complicated, and enriching, than that.
This is not a new idea. Exactly how the Church approaches culture has been long debated in our history. I don’t presume to bring anything new to the table. I simply want to invite you into my sanctification as I seek to understand what it means for me to glorify God in how I engage culture around me.
Should Christians listen to secular music? Is it okay if I go to a rated “R” movie? If I’ve spent a whole day watching a Real World marathon, should I repent? What if I only watched the season with John the virgin, christian, country singer? How do I discern whether it is okay to engage culture that utilizes profanity, violence, nudity, or Tom Green?
These questions, and more, will be addressed in the coming weeks. But until then, what are some of your favorite movies? Television shows? Books? Music?