Scott on November 6, 2007 at 12:59 pm
John put up an excellent post yesterday about the upcoming movie The Golden Compass, pointing out how the author of the book series is claiming that his stories are all harmless fun while meanwhile having proclaimed for years his desire to be the “anti-Lewis” and “…to undermine the basis of Christian belief.”
As the time for the movie’s release comes closer, I fully expect Christian leaders around the country to begin pounding their chests and grabbing their megaphones, trumpeting like a herd of water buffaloes when a lioness is on the prowl for one of their young. And I will commend them when they do try to sound the warning. In the case of this movie (and the book series) a warning is certainly necessary.
Here’s my problem…The Church has spent so much time over the last few decades hyperventilating about a plethera of “dangerous” topics and sounding the alarm about countless, “evil” and “insidious” books, movies, etc that NOW, when something is out there that REALLY IS dangerous and insidious, few people are going to listen.
Remember if you will the lesson of Turkey Lurkey…Ms. Lurkey gets hit in the head by a pine cone while sitting under a tree. She immediately overreacts and jumps to a ridiculous conclusion that the sky is falling. She spends her time running around and around, warning everyone and getting all the animals worked up, and then in the end they all realize that she freaked out about a pine cone. She looks stupid and probably is never taken seriously again in the barn yard.
Remember also the story of the Boy Who Cried Wolf…The boy is told by the village to keep watch for wolves and if he sees one he is to call out his warning to place the village on the alert. As he goes about his duties he becomes bored and cries “wolf” just to see what would happen. The village goes on the alert and the townsfolk arm themselves, only to realize that the boy is just bluffing. They go back to their homes but are called out again by the boy, who this time thinks it is funny to see everyone panic. The village goes back to their lives until they hear the boy again. The villagers arm themselves again but when they only find the boy sitting on a rock and laughing, they warn him not to do it again unless it is legitimate. Later that night when the boy actually sees a wolf, he tries to sound the alarm but nobody responds, believing that he is again just “crying wolf” for no good reason. The boy becomes the wolf’s lunch, a victim of his own poor understanding of context and perspective.
At this point in time in our culture, much of the “traditional” church is looking like a Turkey Lurkey-Boy Who Cried Wolf hybrid. They have spent the last 25-30 years freaking out about so many things that at times when they have a legitimate concern nobody wants to listen. Please consider the following:
1970′s AND 1980′s:
- Backmasking (Anyone remember “I killed John” and “Number 9, Number 9″ from the Beatles and/or “I am Satan” from Stairway to Heaven? I wonder what Barney says if you play the “I Love You” song backwards.)
- Devil drum beats are found within all rock music including Contemporary Christian Music. This includes the oft-used anecdote of the African natives hearing Christian music played by missionaries and asking them why they are using rhythms used to summon demons. (Funny, but when I hear organ music I could swear that I hear demonic voices telling me to smash the organ to pieces. Maybe the devil is a fan of the Whirlitzer.)
- Star Wars is indoctrinating youth into the occult and witchcraft. (I guess that they were partly right, since Jedi has now become a semi-officially recognized religion practiced by middle-aged men who worship in their parents’ basements.)
- The Last Temptation of Christ puts people in a tizzy. (James Dobson of Focus on the Family declares that God will not be mocked and that Universal will be punished by God, since those who sow in the wind will reap the whirlwind. Universal is later purchased by Seagrams and the stock triples in value. Ouch…that’s quite a punishment.)
- HIV/AIDS is God’s judgment against homosexuals and is His instrument for wiping the gay lifestyle off the planet. (Since HIV/AIDS then spread to drug users, spouses, those receiving blood transfusions and newborn children or children who are sexually abused, I guess that means God believes in collateral damage.)
- The Simpsons and Southpark are corrupting youth, encouraging defiance, disrespect and foul language and should be boycotted.
- Boycotts should extend to Disneyland and any other corporation that has any policies affecting gays. The boycotts should extend to destinations (theme parkes), products (movies, television shows, drinks, shoes, etc), and services (financial planning, investments, etc).
1990′s AND 2000′s:
- Harry Potter picks up where Bewitched left off in the 1960′s, exposing youth to the dark, twisted and evil world of witchcraft.
I could go on, but I won’t. The point isn’t that I think Christians should never say anything or voice any concerns about what they see in the culture. The point is that many Church leaders and organizations have made a habit of over-reacting while drawing all sorts of media attention to their objections. Meanwhile, they rarely provide any sort of calm, logical, well-articulated, non-reactionary, measured responses. It is all religious hyperbole couched in Christian jargonese.
It makes it difficult as an individual person of faith to express thoughts and concerns without having to overcome and explain away all the other previous baggage that has been added over the years.
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