Entertained by Jesus?
The Campus Ministries office operates to call students to action with an understanding of Jesus Christ as the primary motive. Today we face a much greater challenge to not find ourselves distracted from action on account of entertainment. The ideas communicated in pop-culture entertainment can cause us to avoid God's design and call for us to interact with the world and therefore live in opposition to God’s plans and purposes.
I was recently doing some research on entertainment to keep myself updated with what challenges we’re facing in keeping to God’s design. The framework for much of my study is grounded in the commands of Duet. 6:4-9; calling followers of God to love the Lord with all their heart, mind and strength. This passage also calls us to bind the words of the Lord in various areas of our life. Numbers 15 calls us to do similar practices so that we won’t prostitute ourselves by following the lusts of our hearts rather than residing in God's purposes.
I believe the practice of emotional and intellectual prostitution became a reality to me when, in my research, I discovered an interview by Ryan Seacrest of a popular entertainer following the release of a new music video. This entertainer said, “[I] really believe in the power of visuals, and sometimes visions come to me and I know I have to do them. It doesn't really matter if it makes sense or if it doesn't make sense. By the end of the video, it became so much more as we explored each scene…I have a vow to myself to desperately serve show business until I die. I believe in it so much, and I'll have to think of even more exciting ways to do it the next time around."
This entertainer is a leader in her field and has been deceiving many through her strong videos and catchy music. She is such a leader, and is revolutionizing the industry so fast, that the Huffington Post wrote, “To the extent to which (she) has the media wrapped around her finger is mystifying. Unable to unpack her exact message, critics laud her flashy stage show as avant-garde, dub her the most important innovator in rock music in 20 years, and claim she is presenting us with a kind of cultural meta-critique that must be respected, however much it appears to defy definition. What if…(she) is exactly what she appears to be: The latest manifestation of a culture industry that pushes the boundaries of civility and sexuality to the extreme in order to make a buck? And worse, pushes it on our kids long before they want or need to be presented..."
I believe firmly that there is a place for entertainment, but I believe as Christians that we need to allow Christ to guide us to that definition. According to Dictionary.com, entertainment is, an aversion or distraction from reality. I don’t believe God has called us to be disengaged from the world He has placed us in, but there appear to be moments within Christ’s ministry on earth where He took periods of reprieve from the day-to-day grind of His ministry. Only Jesus finds Himself withdrawing to a mountainside for prayer instead of popping on his ipod or sofa-surfing to a friend’s house for some late-night World at War action.
We hope to challenge the contemporary culture to give us entertainment which calls us to understand God and His mission for our culture. When contemporary culture fails to do so I believe it pulls us from His reality and calls us into a god-less abyss where anything goes. God prepare us for the mountainside, not the fantasies of a godless generation.