Hollywood, how have you so enchanted us? You promised us love in a one night stand, and happiness in a margarita and a makeover. You dazzled us with the glamor of the red carpet and Grammy awards. You led us along until we were wrapped around your finger. Full of your empty promises, we fell headfirst into the dark alleys of sex, drugs, addictions, and fear. Laughing, you tossed us into the ditch along with your last cigarette. “What did you expect, sugar? You didn’t think all that was for real?”
Hollywood has perfected its seduction and glamor. As Vani Marshall once said, “Hollywood dresses up death until you find it tasty”. Truly, it’s an art form. And we fall for it, every time.
You see, Hollywood has only one agenda, and it’s to shape our society according to their design and purpose. Their propaganda is expertly woven through every YouTube clip, and in every scene of every movie, TV show, and commercial. Here are just a few of Hollywood’s tall tales:
-Happy single people have lots of sex and one night stands.
-You can never be happy until you meet “the one”, and they will complete you.-
-You can’t have fun without alcohol.
-Beautiful people are happy people.
-Marriage doesn’t work anymore.
-The truth is whatever works for you, in this moment. There is no absolute truth…so don’t judge.
-Men (especially fathers) don’t deserve your respect.
-Do what you want, when you want. YOLO!
-Sex is love…until you’re married. Then it’s just…a chore.
Every message Hollywood sends us is the exact opposite of the truth! If you doubt me, look back over the list and do a little research…in God’s Word. It isn’t an accident that everything promoted by Hollywood diametrically opposes the Bible’s principles. It’s to the point where they are calling good, evil and evil, good.
And many of us are believing it. We’ve taken the bait, hook, line and sinker. Why?
Because it’s funny, entertaining, and sexy.
What does the Bible say about this?
Woe to those who call evil good
and good evil,
who put darkness for light
and light for darkness,
who put bitter for sweet
and sweet for bitter.
Isaiah 5:20, NIV
What is this “woe” that Isaiah references?
I’m glad you asked.
Therefore, as tongues of fire lick up straw
and as dry grass sinks down in the flames,
so their roots will decay
and their flowers blow away like dust;
for they have rejected the law of the Lord Almighty
and spurned the word of the Holy One of Israel.
Therefore the Lord’s anger burns against his people;
his hand is raised and he strikes them down.
The mountains shake,
and the dead bodies are like refuse in the streets.
Yet for all this, his anger is not turned away,
his hand is still upraised.
He lifts up a banner for the distant nations,
he whistles for those at the ends of the earth.
Here they come,
swiftly and speedily!
Their arrows are sharp,
all their bows are strung;
their horses’ hooves seem like flint,
their chariot wheels like a whirlwind.
Their roar is like that of the lion,
they roar like young lions;
they growl as they seize their prey
and carry it off with no one to rescue.
In that day they will roar over it
like the roaring of the sea.
And if one looks at the land,
there is only darkness and distress;
even the sun will be darkened by clouds.
Isaiah 5:24-26; 28-30, NIV
God’s not playin’, either, with all of this “woe”. It’s for real. And I, for one, do not want to have the Lord’s hand lifted up against me! I don’t want to be carried off with no hope of rescue. I don’t want to see “only darkness and distress” all around me, with “even the sun darkened by clouds”!
I know this is SO not popular and it will definitely NOT win me any brownie points with, well, anyone who I offend by this post. But it has to be said. Especially to those of us who believe that we’re His people, called by Him for a divine purpose!
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
I Peter 2:9, NIV
Do we really get this? I would argue that if we did, we would actually live like a royal priesthood, a holy nation, and a chosen people. We would actually be set apart for His purpose….and we wouldn’t allow society’s messages into our hearts. (To put that in a different, more positive way, WHEN we become God’s chosen people, we WILL set ourselves apart for His purpose and take a stand against the destructive lies of Hollywood.)
So my biggest complaint is how we, as Christians, welcome Hollywood into our homes, on our iPads, and in our earbuds.
When we can’t wait until the next Hunger Games or Avengers hits theaters…when we TiVo our favorite TV show while we’re at Bible study and can quote last week’s episode of Downton Abbey, but can’t remember what Sunday’s message was about, don’t we have a problem?
(And wait, doesn’t the Bible say something about us guarding our heart? Like, what we allow into our hearts?)
Keep your heart with all vigilance;
for from it flow the springs of life.
Proverbs 4:23, RSV
Hmmm. When we disregard this counsel from Proverbs, we have a problem!
When we don’t think that Hollywood is affecting us…we have a problem.
We have a problem when we can’t go 5 minutes without entertainment. We have a problem when we no longer read our Bible because it’s not in HD. We have a problem when we’re having our Jesus time, but all we can think about is the movie we watched last night…or the new release coming out on Friday.
And listen! I’m not coming at this from an outsider, self-righteous viewpoint. Hollywood used to be a big deal for me. Back in 2005-2007, I watched Grey’s Anatomy. Did I agree with the sex, adultery, and their total lack of principles? No…I was appalled! But I couldn’t wait for the next episode to air. As the seasons got increasingly more…wrong…(as they always do, by the way!), I finally quit. I just couldn’t justify it anymore. I started looking for “cleaner” shows and movies…with little luck. I kept feeling that little Holy Ghost “nudge” to let go completely, but I honestly didn’t want to. I felt like, “I work hard, I love people, I love Jesus, I pray…I just need a small outlet. An escape. What else would I do with my free time? Read the Bible?? Come on!” It took another year or so, but I began to let go of my love of TV and movies. I began reading books, or going for a hike, or sitting down with a cup of coffee and my journal. Now, I won’t say that I never watch anything, but I seriously screen anything that I allow into our home. And you know what? Instead of being desperately bored, my soul is at rest. I have a freedom and lightness in my heart that I didn’t enjoy before. I don’t have that “hidden guilt” when I come to Jesus. I’m no longer distracted in my prayer time by my favorite scenes from last night’s show. And I am so thankful.
(I’ve started sketching again, too…and reading great blogs….and listening to podcasts…and learning amazing things about myself and my dreams!)
So maybe it’s because I’ve already been on this journey that I’m so horrified when I catch glimpses of previews of the new releases when I’m in waiting rooms or at the gym. Grey’s Anatomy and Private Practice, Desperate Housewives (my past “poisons”)..they’re family friendly compared to Game of Thrones, House of Cards, Pretty Little Liars, Orange….!!
I beg you…please, please, please…don’t allow yourself to be tricked into being okay with all of that! Please, SHINE in this dark world. Stand up for what you believe, don’t try to blend in!
Listen to Apostle Paul’s plea to the church in Rome:
I appeal to you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may prove what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Romans 12:1-2, RSV
This is my plea to you today. To my amazing, wonderful, fellow Christians. We have to stick together and stand together and support each other in this fallen world! We are called to “bear one another’s burdens” (Galatians 6:2)…and this is a big burden to bear! It’s a major temptation and stronghold in many of our fellow believers’ lives. We can no longer allow Hollywood to tell us what’s acceptable for us to watch according to their “ratings”. (Are you kidding me?) PG and PG-13 don’t mean anything anymore…and they definitely aren’t code for “family-friendly”.
What are your thoughts? I want to hear from you on this! Do you agree? Disagree? What is your biggest challenge in this area? Where do you feel God is leading you as far as your entertainment?
photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/expressmonorail/5171320647/”>Express Monorail</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>cc</a>