I am a movie buff. I love watching movies, in the theater or at home. I am easily impressed. After college I moved to Virginia Beach and knew 3 local people total. So I would go to the high school football game on Friday night (for my job with Young Life) and then after see if any high school guys wanted to hang out. Usually they didn’t because I was new and starting a new chapter at a new school. So then, alone, I would go to Blockbuster and rent several movies for the weekend. Later that year I received a Blockbuster Gold Card in the mail. Cue the choir singing. You can’t buy it. You can’t request it. You can only earn it. By doing what you might ask? Renting 100 movies in one calendar year. Yes, you heard that right. 100 movies. That’s 2 a week…EVERY WEEK! If you miss a week, then you have to rent 4 the next week. The perks were great: every movie I rented I got another free, no rewinding fees (haha), 4 hour movie reserve privileges, and much, much more. I know for those of you under 25 this doesn’t make sense but that was the grind. We had to travel to a store to rent a physical movie. And for those of you over 25 you’re wondering if I had any type of life. Don’t worry. I didn’t. I was a recluse. And became a big fan of movies. But I watched them all the wrong way.
With all my recent posts about The Bachelor and love and soulmates, I thought it might be good to talk about How should we watch The Bachelor? Or movies? Or videos? Or really any media?
What do we do with it? Swallow it whole.
What should we do with it? Eat the fish. Spit out the bones. (first heard from Tim Elmore)
If I’m honest, most of the time I want to watch TV to escape or relax or zone out and I simply ingest it all. I swallow it all down with little consideration for its message or legitimacy or effects. What should I be doing? Let me offer these 2 questions that have revolutionized my movie and TV watching:
1. What did that say?
2. Is that true?
For question number 1, we want to ask what messages did this movie/TV show/video/etc. communicate? Was it subtle or explicit? Was it intentional or by happenstance? Then for question number 2: are these messages true? There are lots of other questions to ask and ways to evaluate and process media but these two are simple, easy to remember and have helped me become a more responsible steward for what I take in. Another question that follows is: SO WHAT? What does this mean for my life and the world?
These are fun questions to discuss over a cookie skillet after an action movie. You should see college dudes get asked this question. It’s beautiful. They squirm a little bit, have a look of confusion, mumble for a minute and then usually come up with something insightful.
For those of you who are people of the Christian faith, these quotations have been helpful to me:
“We must listen to God’s Word and God’s World.” –John Stott
“We must read the Bible in one hand and the newspaper in the other.” –Karl Barth
I would update Barth’s to the Bible in one hand (first) and then our iPad in the other (after). Through the process of writing this post I was challenged and convicted about my media ingestion habits. Usually I just mindlessly take it all in. I’ve discovered this is my default. What’s yours? How do you watch TV? How do you watch movies? What are your media habits?
Next week: Are you making a life-changing mistake while you watch TV?