Saturday, August 22, 2009

#40 Discernment

Many white Christians like to bunker down and wall themselves off from the unholy culture in which we live. Other white Christians prefer to engage secular society, seeking to help redeem a fallen world. The latter is quite risky, as it’s often unclear when a white Christian is trying to redeem culture and when he is simply enjoying it. The white Christian who chooses this path must develop powerful defense mechanisms to ward off the corrupting influence of the world.

Discernment is the most important defense against secular culture. By exercising discernment, the white Christian can figure out which enjoyable elements of the non-evangelical world have redeeming value. He can then safely proceed with “engaging culture” by watching TV and movies or listening to secular music. You might think that an example of redeeming value would be art or entertainment containing Godly themes, despite some objectionable content. For example, a movie might have some swearing, but in general it promotes themes of love, truth or justice. However, this is not how the white Christian evaluates redeeming value. Instead, the redeeming value of a certain album, TV show or movie is directly correlated with the enjoyment the white Christian receives from the entertainment in question.

The white Christian will look down on those who watch a certain TV show with questionable content only if she does not enjoy that particular show. A show with equal (or more) objectionable content, but with more critical acclaim is said to possess redeeming value, which justifies watching it guilt-free. Think “Two and a Half Men” vs. “Mad Men.”

Discernment is hard work. Sometimes white Christians find that it's easier just to decide that some things are good, some are bad, and that's that. However, after a while TBN gets a little old and they will inevitably change the channel so they can "be in the world but not of it" by watching a little reality television.

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2 comments:

Luther Zwingli said...

This discernment battle leads to a trend within white Christian churches: families that throw away their TV.

Micah B said...

I tried to convince my mom that gran torino was the most christian movie since the passion. She wasn't buying it though.

Discernment is the number one perk of being a youth pastor because you have to keep up with what the ki8ds are doing..."for outreach purposes of coarse"