Tuesday, December 04, 2007

If I had to Write a Thesis Paper:


In response to an entry from Marta's Blog about the limits of our acceptance of impurity in a culture that we actively pursue, Marta and I went back for a bit in the comment thread. Read her entry first. Then check it out:

Mahndo said...
to the pure, all things are pure...

Marta said...
what does that mean? that the movie is not intrinsically impure?

Mahndo said...
Titus 1:15. "To the pure, all things are pure; but to those who are defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure, but both their mind and their conscience are defiled." I have little to no idea what it means.

Marta said...
so...what do you think about the whole movie thing? what's your perspective?

Mahndo says...

I've been struggling with this question for years now. Basically, if we are called to be in the world but not of it (John 17:16, Matt 13:30), how do we reconcile the parts of our culture that are clearly not pure nor righteous? Philippians 4:8 tells us to fill our minds with what is true and what is beautiful (The Message). It is hard to argue that there is no beauty or truth in the art and the film and the literature that has come out of our culture. So, our strategic position and our pursuit of beauty make it difficult to avoid the product of an ungodly culture.
The best that I can come up with is that, by the grace of God, we have been given the ability to see the beauty in all things, through the eyes of a perfectly beatiful God. With this perspective, we also have the ability to see evil and ungodliness for what it is.
Now, what we do with that is the question. Take Boogie Nights, for example. The hopelessness of the characters' lives, along with the communication of the reality of a lives completely devoid of Christ's redemptive love are true and are beautiful. It is a harsh reality that I can see and recognize as a recepient of said Love. In spite of the beauty of it, there are still very ugly scenes and themes that litter the film. How do I as a Christian watch and interpret and react to the film overall?
I think what it comes down to is exactly what Paul was addressing in 1 Cor. 10:23-31, when writing about believers' freedoms in regards to the food we eat. It is a heart issue. The level that we are effected by the impurities of the world should determine our acceptance of the things of the world. I know what I can watch, mostly, and not be affected by. I know what kind of images and words and body parts I can see on film and not have turn over and over in my mind for weeks to come. And the closer I get to Christ, the shorter that list becomes.
Or something like that. We are free to enjoy the beauty of God's created world. But we are called to pursue righteousness (1 Timothy 6:11) and flee impurity. I believe that the closer we grow to Christ's design, the closer those two pursuits become. That's the best I can do at this point in my journey.

Also, let me say that I LOVE The Message translation of the word by Eugene Peterson.

5 comments:

Marta said...

clarification: "I know what I can watch, mostly, and not be affected by. I know what kind of images and words and body parts I can see on film and not have turn over and over in my mind for weeks to come. And the closer I get to Christ, the shorter that list becomes." -- the more we can see and enjoy for what it is and not be affected by it or the more we refrain?

yeah, i think more than anything i was more vulnerable and sensitive to the movie than i should have been. i couldn't handle it.

Mahndo said...

not sure what you're asking. I'm saying that a closer relationship to the Lord allows us to be less affected by the unrighteousness of it all.

Marta said...

i'm not sure i agree...
isn't part of having a closer relationship with Christ seeing more of the reality of sin? If we wanted to be 'less affected by the unrighteousness of it all' we should just become desensitized to it.

I'm changing my mind -- I think in some ways I was justified in being completely grossed out by the movie. It's rational - the scenes are sick and sad.

Romondo Davis said...

Very interesting, you guys.

Mondo, when you say "less affected by the unrighteousness," do you mean you're not tempted by the images and portrayals of sex, violence and immorality, and you're faith in God is not weakened? If so, right on!

If you see something blasphemous, would you sit through it?

I'm proud of you young people and the way you're using this social networking tool.

Mahndo said...

marta, I think you were completely justified in being grossed out by it. I'm saying that our proximity to Christ illuminates those dark areas, so that we can see those 'sick and sad' scenes for exactly what they are; not as natural, not as good, but a filthy result of sin and our fallen state.

like I said, this is something I've been fighting over for years. I'm still trying too figure it out. All I know is that I don't embrace the freedom I have in Christ as much as I want to. And I thnk the answere is somehow tangled up somewhere inside that freedom.