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FIRST-PERSON: How will they know us?

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (BP) — I’m sure you’ve noticed we are living in times of change — change so endless it appears just change for change’s sake. Every day, government officials, social activists or promoters of the electronic age come up with a new plan for running our country and our lives.

Just the other day, I heard that computers soon will be built into eyeglasses. You will be able to walk, or drive, while going online. (Surely nothing can go wrong with that idea!)

I’m not so sure that all this change is progressive. It’s more, “Hey, look what we can do now!” Some people find this incessant change reformist, while others warn that not all change is progress.

I’m going to restrict my observation of this incessant societal alteration to how it relates to the world of entertainment. And let it be known, my problem isn’t so much with the movie industry’s “evolution” as it is with those who support it — us!

Movies are modern-day parables, and you know who told parables every time He preached?

Alas, a new morality is clearly existent in our society, and too often this new definition of right and wrong overrides a film’s positive messages. But few seem to mind the entertainment world’s rejection of biblical principles. Why? Along with all this change in the culture, have we changed along with it?

Should Christians embrace things warned against in Scripture, or should we witness our faith by resisting the lure of today’s cinematic excesses? If we would govern what we support at the box office, we would likely choose movies that are honoring to God, nurturing to loved ones, and a guidepost to those who scrutinize our walk. But too many Sunday morning pew perchers, I believe, are lax in such judgment. Again, why?

Film studios allow me to attend press screenings, hoping I’ll overlook a profanity here, an anti-biblical principle there, in order to get to a film’s positive parable. Studios sense I’ll spotlight the profundity despite the profanity. And sometimes I do.

In the July release of “Pacific Rim,” an otherwise clamorous cacophony of continuing commotion about giant robots battling Godzilla-like space invaders, I did find one subtle, nurturing element. There’s an Asian lead character, a black lead and a white lead, and never are we meant to think about them being of different races. They fight as one, respect each other and are willing to sacrifice for one another. There’s no hyphen associated with their character description (as in Asian-American, black-American or white-American). They’re just people working together, appreciating one another for who they are. This, I felt, was a good message, but I had to put up with a lot in order to appreciate the lesson.

Unfortunately, the perpetual moral change reflected in today’s movies makes it difficult for this reviewer to look the other way or turn a deaf ear quite so often.

Having worked in the film and TV industries, I can attest to the fact that there are many good people in those media. There are some well-intentioned folks. There’s even a Christian community within that community. Alas, it’s an industry built within a magma of fear and ego. And considering the amount of films that show contempt for biblical principles, how can it be denied that this community’s artistic creators, as a whole, tend to reject the Creator. Yet, we keep supporting them. Why?

I saw a film once where rats were discovered aboard a ship. The captain stopped at an uninhabited island, slathered the mooring ropes with rotted meat and waited until the rats exited the boat, making their way into the island jungle. As the ship sailed off, one of the crew said, “I’d sure hate to come back here in 20 years.” That’s kind of how I feel about what’s happening to our nation.

Thanks to entertainment that panders and exploits while seldom edifying, the culture and society have become nearly as crude, hedonistic and lacking in morality as possible. Imagine what 20 more years will do! Or, perhaps you think corporate Hollywood will change its ways. But, why would you think that?

“There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death” (Proverbs 14:12).

Sooner or later, our fellow countrymen will realize that their “progression” has enslaved them and that their electronically gilded path is laced with deceitful laws and senseless change. Look around. Those not guided by God’s Word seem lost. They search, but never find. And why should they turn to those who claim a connection to God through Jesus Christ, if we appear to be taking that same gilded path? How will they know us if we remain just like them?
In addition to writing for Baptist Press, Phil Boatwright reviews films for www.previewonline.org. He is also a regular contributor to “The World and Everything in It,” a weekly radio program from WORLD News Group. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress) and in your email (baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).

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  • Phil Boatwright