Television and Dominion
For anyone who watched the Grammy’s—I did not—or saw pictures and reports from the event—I did—it doesn’t take much to realize the importance of shock value when it comes to Hollywood. From the dresses—or lack thereof—being worn by the stars, to the language coming from entertainers during their presentations, one can see how much importance they place on shock value.
It seems the old fashioned way of introducing confrontations to our values has been replaced by shocking us into seeing those things that confront our values as the norm.
It used to be that television would never show, nor even imply, that a husband and a wife shared the same bed. Do you know what the first television series was to show husband and wife sleeping in the same bed? The Flintstones. It was the Flintstones that introduced the notion that a man and woman could share the same bed, and they introduced it slowly to a new generation of viewers (our children, rather us as children). Change the way they think, and when they grow up, that will be the new norm.
Of course, husband and wife do share the same bed, that is not necessarily the issue. It was not the norm, however, to show that on television and this is just an example of how that idea was undermined or subverted.
Nowadays, even Hollywood is too impatient to change our values that way. Now (its actually been awhile this is has been happening) they throw the most shocking thing they can in our faces. In this way, something slightly less shocking, but no less confrontational to conservative, Christian values of modesty, will be seen as the norm.
Steve Wilkins, in his book Face to Face, warns against having friends who are not seeking wisdom, Godliness, obedience to God’s Word, and increasing holiness. He then goes on to define friends as those who impact us and the way they think. He even identifies television show characters as a kind of friend, week in and week out speaking into our lives. Even those friends, though, must meet the guidelines for friendship. It seems, however, that the television industry isn’t looking to offer us friends who are seeking wisdom and holiness, but who can shock us into realigning our tired, old values.
In this season of Lent, maybe we ought to reevaluate what kind of friends we allow ourselves to have—especially those who make their way in through our television. Or, as Steve Schlissel once said, maybe we need to consider the impact television [and friends] have on our taking of dominion and discipling the nations.