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18 February 2012

That's Entertainment

Philippians 4:18, “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”

In 1985, Neil Postman argued; in his seminal work Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business, that the public had an oppressive addiction to entertainment through the content available on television.[1]  Today, media and technology have advanced to the place where this entertainment addiction has risen to epidemic proportions.

The use of gaming consoles, televisions, smartphones, laptops, personal computers, mp3 players, DVDs, tablets, and so on has swept our culture.  These technologies entertain people from the cradle to the tomb.  It is common today to see a 4 year old playing a game on a mobile device while nearby a74 year old is playing a Scrabble game on a smartphone.

Other forms of entertainment include: movies, sporting events, amusement parks, outdoor activities, and even literature.  It’s not our suggestion that Christians divorce themselves from all forms of entertainment, but that we choose our entertainment based upon the principles of our faith found in the Word of God.

 As Christians we understand the necessity of adhering to Paul’s teaching when considering what choices we make regarding our entertainment. Therefore, we need to be vigilant when it comes to the content of entertainment we allow into our homes, minds, and even the church house.

With that in mind, Texas pastor and writer Rodney Shaw suggests that Christians ask themselves the following questions when making entertainment choices:[2]
  1. Can I maintain my Christian witness and engage in this activity?
  2. Can I glorify God in this activity?
  3. Can I invoke the blessings of God, praying in the name of Jesus, for my involvement in this activity?
  4. Does this activity leave me feeling as if I have compromised my values?
  5. Would I be comfortable inviting my spiritual mentor to engage in this activity with me?
  6. Does this activity promote godly attitudes and behaviors?
  7. Do I leave this activity more or less equipped for the spiritual life?
  8. Does this activity appeal to my carnal nature, i.e., the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, or the pride of life?
  9. Does this activity portray, promote or condone behaviors, attitudes or philosophies which are condemned in the Bible?
  10. Do I feel guilty, like I am violating my conscience, or the need to repent after I have engaged in this activity?
  11. Am I committed to ceasing my involvement in any activity which turns out to be in violation of biblical principles, including but not limited to turning off a device or walking out of a venue?
  12. How does my commitment of time and resources to this activity compare to my commitment to spiritual disciplines and participation in the life of the church?