Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Fundamentalist insights on "Hollywood muck"

Fundamentalists have traditionally held an Amish-like view of the world of culture, arts and entertainment, which is to say that they have basically shunned it. Contemporary Evangelicals may represent a swing of the pendulum in the opposite direction. A writer from a Fundamentalist background offers some interesting insights in Trevin Wax, "Evangelicals and Hollywood Muck" (TGC, January 6, 2014).

[Hat tip to JM]


Ralph Roister-Doister


What is the urge to see these movies? What makes us want to make the effort and spend the money to see them? I'm not speaking as a fundamentalist shunner. I have a small collection of favorites that includes Ben Affleck's "Gone Baby Gone" and John Frankenheimer's "Black Sunday" (both based on novels, "Gone Baby Gone" being by far the better). I also have an abiding hatred for Broadway musicals as a species. Does my taste for violent action and distaste for sacharine gaakk indicate anything special about me as a Catholic male?

I'm not sure I would want to be judged by my taste in movies, and I don't expect to be. I'm old enough to recognize that enterprises such as the Legion of Decency are doomed to failure, and I'm smart enough (as I see it) to realize that convivial reviews such as are conducted today by Catholics are not terribly different from the promos you see on Hollywood gossip shows. There is something wrong with both.

I can see "Catholic" reviews as worthwhile for parents with young children, but I have to wonder what sort of idiot Catholic parent, even in this age, would consider "The Wolf of Wall Street" suitable fare for a family outing.




Not sure whether you intended your comment, at least in part, for the post above this one or not, especially given the "fundamentalist shunner" remark.

Speaking of "fundamentalist" or "evangelical" movies, I think the incentive to see those is that, sometimes at least, they can be good, like "Courageous," "Fireproof," etc. (though they can also be bad, like Fundamentalist "rapture" movies).

But maybe that wasn't your issue, because you seem to be more concerned with the "muck" here.



"I am not suggesting that the answer is a wholesale retreat from every medium of communication, any more than I think that Christians should try to take over the radio stations, television stations, and Hollywood studios, and go toe-to-toe with the godless in terms of production in the hopes that we can somehow start to push back.

But perhaps the first part of the answer is real discernment. First, discernment in whether to watch at all, because the first line of defence might be and perhaps should more often be the off-switch. A healthy dose of Philippians 4.8 would go a long way in some circles. Then, discernment in how to watch: we need to be aware that these words and images that flow into us are having an effect upon us, even in matters that might at first seem negligible or innocent. We must be conscious of how we and others are being manipulated and trained, and we must resist it where - deliberately or not - it skews all our categories. We must develop our intellectual, emotional and moral faculties through the Word of God: that must be our first, fundamental and final standard. Then, whatever and whenever we watch and hear, willingly or unwillingly, let us never suspend those biblically-tuned and biblically-attuned faculties, but rather bring all to the touchstone of Scripture, viewing and listening to all through the filter of divine revelation, and continue to think and feel and judge as God intends."