Tuesday, February 22, 2005

The Bible and R-Rated Movies

What is one of the struggles parents and youth pastors have with teenagers?...wishing that they would read the Bible more...we recognize the importance of being literate in the Word of God...we stress that they set aside time in each day to spend time reading the Bible, and yet we hear the words, "It's boring," or, "I don't have time," far too often...so we continue to emphasize it...

On the flip side, another message that we hammer into their heads is being careful what they are watching or listening to...whether we are talking about R-rated movies, rap music, or questionable TV shows, we are concerned that what they are consuming will have a negative impact on their thought lives, attitudes and behaviors...so we try to steer them clear of these influences...

These two thoughts forced me to pose a question to Marcy this morning: Why do we tell our students to read the Bible more, and at the same time tell them to not watch R-rated movies?...this came on the heels of me reading Judges 19...in this passage, a woman is raped and abused repeatedly, to the point of death...her master, upon discovering her body, cuts her body into twelve pieces, and sends the pieces to the tribes of Israel as a message that the guilty would be punished...can you imagine a movie being made out of this story?...it would probably have a difficult time getting an R-rating, as would many stories in the Bible...The Passion of the Christ managed an R-rating, but from what I understand, it still did not depict the severity of what Jesus experienced...so how do we tell the students to watch what they are consuming, but also stress reading the Bible?...if they are really consuming the Bible, they are putting some pretty horrible stuff into their heads...Marcy's answer was that movies were more visual and stick with you longer than the written word...my comeback was that The Blair Witch Project was one of the scariest films I have ever seen, and yet they didn't show anything scary...it was all in my mind...so do images really stick with you longer?...

This, then, brought another question to mind: If the Bible were being written today, would it still be written as a book, or would it be something else?...would it be a screenplay for a movie; a weekly sitcom; a computer program; or something else?...what form would the Bible take if written today?...Marcy contends that it would still be a book because they are more timeless than the other media...I think what makes books timeless is the fact that they have been around a long time...let's face it, movies, TV shows, radio, computers, all of these have been around a very short time...and besides, the Bible wasn't written as a book...it was written as scrolls, songbooks(scrolls), told as stories, written as letters, etc....so what would today's Bible looks like?...

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Mike,

The following website should answer all of your questions:

http://www.thebricktestament.com/

matt said...

I love books. But I would still vote for the bible as a movie musical...

Anonymous said...

Mike, the only reason I am responding anonymously is I can't figure out how to get a name on your blog. This is Steve.

What you ask is so provocative.

What is really obvious is that the Bible was the spiritual fruit of an agrarian society.

I focus on the New Testament. All of the images are about vines, and orchards and planting and fields and fishing and agrarian kind of things. Look at Christ's parables--they are set in an agrarian world.

If Christ chose not to come to us when He did, but chose to come now, the New Testament would be written in an urban contemporary context.

The parable about the guy sowing seed and some of it falling on rocks and some amongst weeds and some on fertile ground would be told in a different way, not farming.

Fitz said...

Matt - I have recently come to love the movie musical aspect of the Bible...Mary finds out that she is pregnant, so she breaks out in song...Paul is writing a letter to the Philippians and busts out into a song extolling the servant aspect of Jesus...not to mention the Psalms and Song of Solomon (another R-rated section)...we should get Andrew Lloyd Webber right on it

Steve - I pretty much know by now that if there is an anonymous comment, it is from you...I think you may need to have a Blogger account to sign in with a name...I totally agree with your comments about how Jesus would communicate truth in this day and age...he would likely use lots of imagery with plenty of edits to keep up with our declining attention span...the parable of the seeds would probably be converted into a story of the computer programs: the first computer got shut off while the program was still loading, the second was loaded on an old computer which forced it to have limited capabilities and it fell into disuse, the third got eaten up by a nasty virus, and the last works great to this day...regardless of how it is communicated, the fact of the matter is that there is some disturbing stuff in the Bible, and are we being hypocritical by telling kids to read it but not watch bad stuff?...are we trying to shelter them too much?...I am not advocating sitting young kids down to watch the Jeffrey Dahmer Story or something similar...I don't have answers; just raising questions...

What do you mean that you focus on the New Testament?...there is a lot about Jesus that becomes much clearer as you read the Old Testament...I think it isn't the wisest path to discard one for the other...they are two sides of the same coin...one points ahead to Jesus; the other points back...

I love the Brick Testament...

Fitz said...

Stephan - sorry I attributed the Brick Testament to Steve...mega-apologies, my Vespa- and Wesley Person-hating friend...

Ally said...

Hey Fitzie!

You're getting all deep on us...tough questions..I would attempt an answer, but we all know that's just asking for it from you..haha..j/k..maybe

K said...

I loved this post. I want to go back to why we don't want kids watching R-rated stuff but we want them to read the Bible. You are so dead on. There are parts of the bible that when you take the time to fully understand what is happening are very graphic. I think the difference is in the intention of whatever media you are consuming. The purpose of the Bible is to bring you closer to God. Whether it is through forgiveness, law, hope, faith... the Bible intends for you to use the imagery to move closer to your Lord and Savior. I don't think there are many movies that can claim the same intention. There are however movies that are graphic and terrible to watch that do have good intentions. These are the movies that move you to your very core. R-rated is important when evaluating whether or not someone is emotionally ready to handle the material. Whether the material should be watch/read or not isn't about the rating in my mind, it is about what I will get out of it.

Does that make sense or was I rambling?

I love these kinds of conversations.

Peace,
Kim