Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Entertainment: How Much Poop Is Too Much?

When I was a teenager, I heard a speaker use an illustration that has stuck with me. He asked, "If I offered you a cookie, would you eat it? What if I told you I put some poop in it?" His analogy alluded to our entertainment choices. The point was poop is still poop even if it's disguised to look delicious.

Later in my twenties, I once discussed entertainment with my father. He wisely questioned why Christians ask how close to the line we can get. If we love our God, wouldn't we want to get as far from the line as possible?

You see, here's what I believe is the hardest thing about entertainment in the life of a follower of Christ--we love it. We are really good at justifying why entertainment that has poop in it is okay. I've often wondered, what if we met Jesus in his physical body and asked, "What must I do to be saved?" And he said, "You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, you shall not defraud, honor your father and mother.’" And we said, "Yes, I've done those." And Jesus replied, "One thing you lack, stop spending your time on movies and TV and video games and follow me." Ouch. How many of us would honestly be able to leave behind our favorite entertainment for Jesus? The rich young ruler, whom the preceding is based on, was challenged by Jesus to give up what was closest to his heart--his riches. From my observation, entertainment is the dear love of many Christians.
So how much poop is too much poop? Well, as we all know, people have different convictions in entertainment. The trouble is, this fact itself is often used as an excuse for eating poop. So, instead of telling you how much is too much, I'll present a good way to evaluate entertainment choices.

I find asking, "Does this entertainment glorify God?" isn't that helpful because we're also really good at justifying how non-poop parts of a pretty poopie entertainment can glorify God. We try to wrestle some redeeming aspect so we can justify our enjoyment.

Here is a more direct question: "What does this entertainment claim is good and right?" What is this entertainment trying to tell me? What does it want me to believe? Sometimes we have to dig to discover the answers to these questions, but most of the time, I find the answers obvious. Entertainment champions ideas. What are those ideas? Once I know what the entertainment is championing, I ask myself if I can champion that as well. If I am a Christian, I ask, "Is this something God champions?" And if it isn't, then why am I trying to get close to the line? Why am I not trying to get as far away as possible?

Some will still defend their entertainment, claiming they are just learning about the world through this particular entertainment. I find this argument fairly weak. People who tend to use this defense usually have no valid explanation of how this entertainment is making them a better witness. They just want an excuse to delve into poop. There may be a select few people out there who need to see various entertainment to interact with unbelievers, but most of us aren't going to have that problem. Your lack of seeing poop isn't going to keep you from sharing the gospel. It's never kept me from witness at all. If I haven't seen something, I say I haven't and the topic of conversation moves on. Not seeing poop is rarely a deterrent to a relationship.

Years ago, I decided that no entertainment was better than Jesus. At the time, I let go a book series I had become obsessed with. I asked God to remove my desire for it, and he did. I have never felt such freedom. Even now, I find the grip of having to see, watch, or play something doesn't hold me. I don't have this obsession to date my TV at the same time every week or get that game the minute it is out. I am not controlled by entertainment. I control my entertainment.

How much poop is too much? I think you already know. I think as you ask yourself the question, the Spirit brings poop to mind. The more vital question then is, "Do you love poop more than Jesus?" And if you don't, then what are you going to do about it?

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