There are some blog post titles that people use just to draw you in.
“Sexy” titles, if you will.
Titles that build hype, often overselling and under delivering.
This happens to not be one of those titles.
It was unintentional, really. I didn’t set out that warm Saturday afternoon telling myself, “I bet Laura’s grandma and I could scrap today. She’d probably love that.”
It just sort of happened.
We were standing beside the door, she preparing to leave. In retrospect, I should’ve just given her a hug and opened the door. We launched into a conversation about a TV show that my wife and I watch. One that she, consequently, doesn’t. Her reasons for abstaining are moral convictions, which I can completely understand and respect. With respect to the show, she doesn’t appreciate how the children interact with their parents, how the wife interacts with her husband, and some of the lifestyle decisions that characters on the show have made. She laid out her whole case in about 5 minutes.
When she finished, I felt like she has issued an invitation to me to lay out my thoughts. As I creeped closer, though, I realized she was siren-ing me to the edge of a cliff. Like a moth drawn to that strangely-buzzing blue light, I walked right into the trap. There was no winning this one. No way I could emerge a hero of informed reason and logic. Not a chance. I was peering off the edge of a cliff.
As words came out of my mouth, I tried to catch them. The whole time I’m talking, I’m thinking, “What are you doing?!? Back away…back away!” I got that look from my wife. I don’t even have to describe it. Husbands, you know what I’m talking about.
But it was too late. Back out now, and I look like a heel. Keep going, and I look like a heel. Close my eyes and run…that was probably the best option, but Reeds aren’t cowards. We’re a bit foolhardy sometimes, but we’re not cowards.
The point I was trying to make was this:
I don’t get my theology from a TV show.
I can watch a TV show (note: the show in question is family-friendly), and completely separate it from informing my theological framework. In fact, when I watch a show, I view it through the theological lens I’ve constructed through hard work, sweat, and tears. I strive for a theology informed deeply by the Scriptures.
I can watch a show and say, “What they’re doing there…that’s not good. That’s not how I’m going to parent.” Not in a judgmental kind of way. But in a way where I’m exercising wisdom and discernment.
I’m not watching TV as my devotional time. Nor am I watching it in hopes that they’ll somehow slip in a good word about the local church. That’s not TV’s job. That’s my job!
In fact, the moment I allow TV to twist my theology is the moment I’ve headed down a slope more slippery than the one I was peering down with my grandma-in-law.
The eye of the tiger
She stood on the other side of this argument, urging extreme caution with what we fill our minds. She warned that subtle lies slip in back doors, and make their way into our lives. TKO. She just ‘eye-of-the-tigered’ me.
I don’t wholeheartedly disagree with her. I just happen to see the other side of the coin, enjoying 30 minutes of laughter, catching a slice of culture, and not succumbing to the subtle lies. I believe that this is a generational issue more than anything else. My generation can watch a show, laugh, enjoy the story, and separate that from how we live our lives. I believe that the generation that precedes me more closely intertwines real life with media content.
I’m not sure that one of us is right and the other wrong. In fact, in that moment, I waved my white flag of surrender. And made a future note to myself:
Don’t pick a fight with a grandma. Even if you win, you’ll lose.
Where do you stand? Is it acceptable to watch a show with questionable (though not offensive, cause-you-to-stumble) content? Or should we shield our eyes from anything that could depict something less than what we want for our lives and our families?
* image credit: Creative Commons user Robert Daniel Ullman