I am going to be totally honest with you and tell you … I don’t listen to “Christian radio stations” or watch “christian films.” I said that to someone at my church a couple of weeks ago – and I am pretty sure that we are no longer on speaking terms because of it. So go ahead and send me the letters of condemnation and anger now. I am sure I deserve them. But before you go off all angry – let me tell you about my sometimes aversion to Christian Media.
Out-Of-Touchism… That’s a word right? As Christians – I think we can and sometimes do come across as isolationists… We have a club that if you don’t belong to it – you can’t hang out in our clubhouse. That’s fine for The Elks Club – but it’s not what Jesus set up for us. Remember that He was the guy that hung out with the prostitutes and the cheaters and the swindlers and all ilk in between. In Mark 2:17 He said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” Jesus met people where they were… He didn’t say – “Hey – pick your junk up and come over here to me.” He talked to them in ways they would understand – He connected with them on their level. I have a feeling He would be just as comfortable standing next to me in the middle of a smoke filled arena for a rock show as he would be at a Gaither Trio worship night. So how does that relate to Christian Media? Well honestly it’s not always the case that Christian Media is isolationist – I’ll admit that. There are lots of cross over artists, musicians, actors that do a beautiful job of weaving their craft with messages about Jesus and God that don’t just come across as preachy, out of touch or better than thou… So while I list this first – it’s not my biggest issue – just the main thing that I think needs to be guarded against…
The “Blah” factor… That’s probably my biggest issue – but it is just personal to me. The movies – definitely – and the music – for the most part – just don’t grab me. It’s not my bag baby. It doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with you liking it or even loving it… But does it make me less of a Christ Follower because I don’t? I like music that has an edge and movies that are quirky and/or dark. I love being able to talk about music and film – and some of my best relationships have developed with people out of both. (In full disclosure, I also don’t have a Fish Logo or a bumper sticker on my car that says Jesus Is My Co-Pilot – but that’s a whole different post I think.) I feel like you are judging me right now. But I am crazy paranoid about that kind of thing… Nahh – not really.
A friend told me recently he had a conversation with someone who wanted to know – “if Jesus were here today, what movies would He watch?” Interesting question. I think the answer is that He probably wouldn’t. I mean being omnipotent has got to take the fun out of watching a cliff-hanger movie. Can you imaging watching Sixth Sense with Jesus? The opening scene starts and Jesus says “that guy is totally a ghost! Bam!! Let’s go grab a pizza.” Yes I am joking… I know Jesus would never ruin the ending of a movie. He wouldn’t be that guy. I think if Jesus answered that question himself – He would answer it in typical Jesus fashion and ask back “what would you have me watch?” That is a way tougher question!! Hmmm… would it be Fireproof? Or The Left Behind Movies?? The choices are so many!! Me… I would want him to watch my family home movies. I would want to sit and laugh and cry with him as we watch my kids grow up in front of the camera… to see the old movies of my dad and grandparents – who are gone now. I think He would completely light up watching my little girl dance to Michael Jackson songs or to see my granddad teaching me to ride a bicycle when I was a kid or to watch me and my wife’s country Tennessee wedding that was filmed from the back of the church with a cheap camera … I think He would find pure joy in all of it… And then I think he’d say – let’s go get a pizza!!
I don’t think the answer to mainstream media is Christian Media “only.” If mainstream media gets between you and your relationship with Jesus – don’t watch it. Don’t listen to it. If only listening to Christian radio stations helps you connect with Him – then do that. If like me – you love listening to punk rock and old country music and watching movies about vampires or war and it doesn’t pull you away from God – then that’s ok too. One day I guess we all will know the answer … Maybe I’ll be right and find out that Jesus was mad too when Arrested Development got cancelled.