Disney and the Church

Yes, I’m going there.

And yes, it’s about the news that Disney’s new version of The Beauty and The Beast will have a gay character.

Here’s my opinion whether Disney should or should not do it.

Disney is a private company. It has that right to do whatever it wants. It is not a Christian organization – it is a business.

Please understand what I am not saying. I’m not saying that I approve of sin being flaunted in kid’s movies. I’m not saying that I will allow my four-year-old daughter to watch questionable films.

What I am saying is the reality of the situation: Disney (and you can add others, like Target, Apple, etc.) has the right to do anything legal in its privately held business.

However, those businesses also have to understand that I, and others, have the right to reject your product. Don’t nod your head in agreement to the previous paragraphs and then cry “Bigotry! Homophobia!” and the like when consumers say, “No thank you!” It’s called free market capitalism. As a good friend of mine says, “Just sayin’.”

We also have to realize that the world will act like…well…the world. So why do we act surprised when companies decide to do things that are against God? We were once like that too, before Christ.

With that out of the way, here are my words to a Church that has lost its influence in Western culture and will continue to lose in the next few years. Has it ever occurred to you that maybe our sovereign God is allowing this perversity in the entertainment industry to force us away from the screen and into the closet of prayer? Is God allowing Satan to increase his influence so that we can snap out of the siren call of TV, the Internet, and countless movies, and heed the call of the Holy Spirit to have intimacy with Jesus?

Or here’s another perspective (which I owe to my wife): it’s interesting that we’re freaking out about a gay character in a movie, but don’t flinch at scenes of gratuitous violence, women wearing skimpy clothing (or nothing at all), adultery, or romps in the bedroom by heterosexual couples who aren’t married. I’m not talking about violence et al that is part of a movie revealing its horribleness and showing true evil (think Schindler’s List). I’m talking about wickedness that is portrayed as normal or fun.

Ron Auch, a Pentecostal author, puts it this way (keep in mind the edition I have is from 1991 and it deals mostly with television since the internet was just getting started):

Do you really believe God wants us to spend our time cleaning up society through political reform? What about our own hearts?…Does God really wants us to clean up television programming? Just consider how much time “Christians” waste in front of their TV sets watching worldly filth, while at the same time they claim they haven’t enough time to pray as they ought. How much more would they watch television [or movies for that matter] if it offered more wholesome viewing? Prayer would be cast right out of the window if television was morally upright.[1]

Realize what I am not saying: a total abstinence of television, movies, or the Internet. But what I am saying is that maybe God is allowing evil to corrode all forms of entertainment in the hope that it will show that something is wrong with us and that we need to change.

At the time of writing, I have just completed a physical. At 47 my body is not working as it should (no thanks to Adam and Eve) and therefore need regular check-ups.

The good news is that I’m in good health – except for one thing: my cholesterol is a little high. My blood report shows that the bad cholesterol is high and the good cholesterol is not high enough. To reverse the numbers, I need to eat more fruits and vegetables, more fish, and less red meat, peanuts, and cheese (I nearly wept at the restriction of cheese). Plus, I need to exercise more often. My doctor assured me that following her recommendations should bring my cholesterol numbers to a more healthy reading.

The Church has also seen its health numbers: its spending too much time in front of a screen and making excuses for the filth. And God has given us the path back to spiritual health:

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.[2]

The Church’s prescription is summed up in one word: Repent.

 

[1] Ron Auch, Taught By The Spirit, New Life Press 1991. pgs. 62-63

[2] James 4:7-10 ESV

The Passion Conundrum

As I prayed through Psalm 39, one word popped into my mind: passion.

Our sex-soaked society, which deforms wholesome things into ugliness, translates the word passion as sexual desire. But it means more than that – something more glorious. Most dictionaries define passion as having powerful feelings for something or for some cause that will “cause you to act in a dangerous way.”

I believed I needed to curb, stifle or kill my passion. Medieval monks would have agreed – although some were passionate about burning heretics at the stake!

I can be overtly passionate with things like truth, the Bible, and Jesus Himself. But I am sinful; therefore my passion can be destructive and mean.

I stormed out of a meeting one day, brimming with anger and frustration. But not without slamming a door. After emailing an apology (among other things) I fell into a deep depression, which I’ve not had for many years. When I called a friend about the situation, I burst into tears. Ah, the curse of being a passionate man!

I mentioned before that my passion can cause me to act in a dangerous way, especially when my passion turns into anger. The Scriptures agree. God says that sometimes it is appropriate to be angry, but don’t sin and deal with it by evening[1]. He advises to be quick to listen, but snail-like in speaking and anger, because it doesn’t bring God’s righteousness[2]. Wisdom scolds the fool’s rage[3]; but views the patient person as better than a warrior[4].

Yet it was passionate people who accomplished amazing things for God. Like David: whose passion lifted him up to defeat a blasphemous giant; Peter: who spoke boldly before murderous men; and Paul: whom God redeemed and converted his passion for killing Christians into birthing new believers in the gospel. But all three had glaring faults due to their passion. David is not only associated with Goliath but with Bathsheba as well; Peter denied Christ thrice while cursing; and Paul had a bitter argument with Barnabas because he refused to give the same grace to cowardly John Mark that Jesus gave him on that road to Damascus.

So if God uses passionate people – dangerous yet effective people – then what am I to do with this conundrum called passion? It can kill, but it can accomplish much for his kingdom.

I started off by saying that I prayed through Psalm 39 and one word popped up into my mind: passion. I imagined a wild horse, brimming with life and fury. But the horse needs to submit to its new owner. His will must be broken to conform to his master’s desires. His passion must be restrained. But when the master commands him to fly across the plain, that passion can be released.

I need to be like that horse. I cannot control my passion without the Holy Spirit. Only He can rein this passionate beast through daily crucifixion[5]. But when the kingdom of God needs a storm, it can be resurrected and unleashed .

Dear Jesus, let me faithful to the call!


 

[1] Ephesians 4:26

[2] James 1:19-20

[3] Proverbs 29:11

[4] Proverbs 16:32 NIV

[5] Luke 9:23

God or Social Media?

social_buttonsOne morning, as I dragged my body out of bed, my wife told me the terrible news: last night a young man entered a popular gay bar in Orlando, Florida, and began shooting. The carnage left fifty men dead and fifty injured. The gunman committed suicide afterwards. I was shocked and saddened that once again people were catapulted from this life with bullets.

I immediately logged into my Facebook account. I visited various news sites. Pictures of weeping family members and friends appeared alongside the political finger pointing and accusations.

Here we go again, I thought. Why do I do this to myself?

A verse memorized decades ago popped into my mind:

Trust in the LORD with all your heart,

and do not lean on your own understanding.

In all your ways acknowledge him,

        and he will make straight your paths.[1]

 

At first it didn’t make sense; it seemed out of place.

After pondering about it I realized the truth: I had replaced God with social media! Instead of pouring out my grieved soul to God, I bowed to the altar of Facebook and relied on imperfect man. I trusted the ever-changing opinions of people rather than in the unchangeable truth of the Almighty. In essence, I had changed the verse to:

Trust in Facebook with all your heart,

            and lean on other people’s understanding.

In all your ways check your Twitter feed,

            and then you will know what to do.

I felt ashamed.

Facebook, Twitter, and other social media outlets are great tools, but they are not reliable sources for truth and wisdom.

So I made a determination to go to God first to find answers and to pray for justice and an end to evil.

Fast-forward a few weeks: As I dragged my body out of bed, my wife told me terrible news: two young men entered an airport in Turkey and began shooting. After being shot by the police they blew themselves up. The carnage left 42 people dead and over 200 people injured. I was shocked and saddened that once again souls were catapulted from this life with bullets.

What will I do?

What did you do?

 

 

[1] Proverbs 3:5-6 ESV