7.16.2009

I have to say it, and I'm not sure why.

After posting my vacation photos a few hours ago, I had no intention of blogging again for awhile, but I felt prompted to post about this so here goes:

Buying a ticket to see Bruno* is paying to grieve God's heart.

*The link includes a detailed, stomach-churning description of the movie. I glanced through it enough to get an idea of the content. If you're planning on seeing the movie, read through the description to be an informed consumer. You need to know what your money is supporting, and more importantly, the kind of material you are opening yourself up to.

As I type this, I'm sitting a few feet away from an antique wall hanging inherited from my Grandma that says, "Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God." The full verse in Ephesians 4:30 reads like this in the Amplified, "And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God [do not offend or vex or sadden Him], by Whom you were sealed (marked, branded as God's own, secured) for the day of redemption (of final deliverance through Christ from evil and the consequences of sin)."

In one sense, it's incredible to me that we finite human beings have the ability to grieve God's heart. In another, it's so clear: God gave His Son to secure not only eternal life but our ability to live a holy life, walking in victory over sin and the ways of the flesh. When He sees His children--those who claim to have accepted the work His Son did on the cross--opening their hearts to the wickedness and depravity of the world rather than seeking to "be holy as He is holy," it grieves Him. I can imagine Him saying with a crest-fallen look, "Is this, this what I sent my Son for?" as Christian after Christian settles into their theater seats to watch Bruno.

I may get angry comments about how I'm judging, moralizing, etc. and please understand that is not my intention or my heart. I type this with tears in my eyes, knowing that I have friends who will choose (and have chosen) to watch this immorality in action on Saturday night and wake up the next morning to attend church service. The verse that comes to mind for me is James 4:8, "Purify your hearts, ye double minded."

Those that can indulge their senses in the corruption and filthiness of the world and movies like Bruno without remorse one day and yet claim to know God the next, those are the double-minded. It grieves God's heart, and it grieves mine because I know they are either wilfully or ignorantly rejecting God's command for their Christian walk in order to fulfill their own want of temporary amusement. Ultimately, there is no true satisfaction, only sadness and destruction, at the end of this choice. (I've been there. I know. But, praise the Lord, I'm not there anymore!)

Consider the words of Psalm 101:3: "I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me." And, the oft-quoted Philippians 4:8: "Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things."

Does choosing to "entertain" yourself by attending a movie like Bruno fit the criteria of the above verses? (If you have any doubt, clink the link at the top of the post. Also note that an entire country, Ukraine, just banned the movie, stating it was "immoral.")

I have heard Christians describe this movie as "hilarious." But is something really funny if it's grieving God's heart? That's a serious, serious assertion to make. So serious I doubt any Christian would dare to actually make it in so many words. But individual after individual are choosing to make the statement with their actions when they purchase a ticket to Bruno (and movies like it) and add their implicit approval with laughter. It's a statement I wouldn't care to account for on judgment day.

Please understand, this isn't just a tirade against Bruno. It has much broader ramifications that extend generally to a Christian's entertainment choices and even more generally to the state of a believer's heart and spiritual health. I prayed a few months ago that God would give me a tender heart towards Him. That He would make me sensitive to how things made Him feel--not how they made me feel.

This hit home with my blog. A few months ago, I was writing some things that were "funny" to me, but they were in direct contradiction to Ephesians 5:48, "Let there be no filthiness (obscenity, indecency) nor foolish and sinful (silly and corrupt) talk, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting or becoming; but instead voice your thankfulness [to God]."

My coarse talk, the off-color topics, those things "vexed" and "saddened" the Holy Spirit. Yikes. As loyal readers will have noticed, my blog has changed. Is it as "funny"? Nope. Is God happier about that? I think so. I think He was happy, too, when I bulldozed through my movie collection a few weeks ago. All of my favorites--gangster films-- they're gone. My favorite Dave Chapelle stand-up routine? History.

I tell you that not because I want you all to conclude, "Hey, look at how holy she thinks she is!" It's so that you know I'm not just blowing smoke with words here. I'm living what I'm talking. I have an intimate understanding of what pursing God and holiness with all you've got can do to a person's life: It can 180 your direction. I'm living proof.

If you're considering seeing Bruno, you may be tempted to write off everything that I'm saying as moral proseltyzing. Maybe that would make you feel better, but if you claim to have given your heart to Jesus, then you are, as I Corinthians 6:19 says, the "temple of the Holy Ghost." When you pay your $12 for a two hour verbal and visual barage of graphic sexual perversion, obscenities, and a mockery of all that is right, just remember you're not alone.

The Holy Spirit will be walking into that theater with you. And, while you're laughing, He will be grieving.

If even one Christian reading this realizes the tragedy of exposing their heart, mind, and the Spirit that lives within them to moral degradation under the pretense of "entertainment" (not to mention wasting precious time and resources), then the hour of sleep I just lost will be worth it.

Of course, I'll never know who reads this or what they choose to do. But God will. And, in the end, that's all that really matters.

21 comments:

  1. Not that I had planned on seeing Bruno/Borat whatever his schick is..
    But it is pretty good food for spiritual thought..

    Thanks.

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  2. My hang time for Borat was about 15 minutes. The National Anthem scene. Even understanding the intellectual point of the movie, that was as much as I cared to take.
    It's an interesting question: how does one discuss sin in a dispassionate, accurate manner, without allowing it to draw one in?
    Bruno doesn't sound like a good framing of the existential question, or a useful answer, for that matter.

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  3. I have no intention of seeing Bruno, even without following your movieguide link. What little I have seen of it looks egregiously bad, and you've more than adequately summed up in this post the biggest reasons why.

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  4. Even understanding the intellectual point of the movie, that was as much as I cared to take.

    There was an intellectual point to that movie?
    Besides making fun of people in the south and Bob Barr and Alan Keys?

    You can make most anyone else laugh when someone else is the butt of the joke (The people 'Borat/Bruno' interviews -- Not picking on you, Smitty).

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  5. Ohhh, I think you know why you had to post this. When the Spirit gives you a little eye-opener, a person can't help but share it.

    It's good to share.

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  6. Well, I wasn't going to pay to see it in the theater but now I won't watch it when it comes out on cable.
    Oh, who am I kidding, it won't be showing on Encore Western Channel, anyway. And old Westerns are about all I can stand anymore.

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  7. Anonymous17.7.09

    I made the mistake of seeing Talledega Nights. What could have been a very funny movie was ruined by Sasha Baron Cohen playing a gay European formula 1 driver. The man on man kiss he performed on screen was enough to make me never want to see another one of his movies. I haven't and I won't. It amazes me that 'Christians' have such low standards anymore that they find him to be 'hilarious'. We aren't exactly acting as a leaven for our culture by ingesting this swill.

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  8. Good on you, girl! ;-) Thanks for the reminder. I'm struggling with adirection for my blog as well. If it's not politics sucking up my soul it's snark. They need to invent a 12 step program for it because I'm addicted to it. Boredom opens the door to it for me. It makes me laugh. David Spade is my snark mentor not that I'm nowhere near that level but still. Sarcasm and mean biting comments just come flowing when the girlfriends get together. Momentary fun and then the Spirit has left the building. Sad :-(

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  9. Anonymous17.7.09

    Makes me glad I saw Bruno!

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  10. I'd say never be scared to express God's grief, only be scared to express God's judgement. For we don't know what His judgement will ultimately be like, but we do know that sinful movies like this do indeed make His heart ache.

    Thanks for the post, and remember that there will always be those that cheer you on as you continue down your holy path!

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  11. i must agree with you wholeheartedly. i'm guilty and work constantly to curb my "carnal" behaviors - sometimes even successfully.

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  12. Anonymous17.7.09

    J David

    I read a few of your posts back when your blog first started up, and was around to read of God's voice waking up your heart to missions (always a stirring thing to see, or experience!), and briefly whispered a prayer that you would stick to it, and grow up into the strength and purity necessary to be an effective tool/vessel...

    I am pleasantly surprised to see that you have indeed "stuck to it" and grown considerably. It so encourages me in my own efforts when I see that God transforms and equips whom He would generously choose to use for His purposes. It sends me on into the rest of my day much uplifted, on feeling stronger to carry my own designated burden.

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  13. The link no longer works, not that I was going to watch it anyway. Just the commercials set off the stupid alarms in my head.

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  14. One of my favorite quotes from the X-file was from Scully, who (when queried by the weekly creepiziod government lackey about the equally creepy weekly case) said, "I believe the hand of God can be witnessed."

    Today you helped others see that hand working in your life. May you be as blessed as you have blessed others.

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  15. Good post. Really good. We all need to take idolatry seriously. When you notice that it's hard to "bulldoze" things you know better than to have around, it's gut-check time.

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  16. Anonymous19.7.09

    Somewhere in the Middle East there's a Mullah saying the exact same thing.

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  17. Sarah19.7.09

    Well done. Thanks for saying what needs to be said--over and over again . . . and then some more (and not just about _Bruno_, either).

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  18. Sadly, I did see the movie. Truly, it was the most disgusting and vile thing I have ever seen. I have never walked out of a theater knowing in my heart that I have to go to confession, but that was my exact thought as I exited the theater that night. This is not to say that the movie did not have some humor in it, but for the most part, it was a disgusting performance that, frankly, was lucky to earn even an R rating: it should have been NC-17, as the R rating does little to warn the viewer of what he is going to experience.
    I am quite certain I have done some considerable damage to myself in seeing the movie, but thankfully my conscience is still able to recognize the damage done and is urging me to make appropriate amends for it. Avoid this movie.

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  19. Hi! Just found your blog and I'm enjoying it. I have to say, I went and saw Borat not knowing what it was even about. It was also the first movie date with my now husband. I was shocked and appalled, and nearly walked out several times and demanded our money back. Why I didn't, i don't know. Did you know he was recently married and has a baby girl?

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  20. Anonymous4.8.09

    I've just recently seen Bruno. I was a big fan of Borat because it reminded me of the comedy of Chevy Chase. Overall the movie was not really funny. It had it's momments however it's so blantently offensive that it just lost it's humor. Now I'm liberal when it comes to watching movies, and I don't let stuff like that effect me. I must admit I'm sensitive and I take a lot of things personal sometimes, however I feel that this movie and others like it really don't bother me. There messages are just fodder and really should be counted as nonsense. I see nothing wrong with people going to a movie that they are curious about. Now if a person lives his life according to the movies he watches then by all means they shouldn't watch this film. Personally I think the movie Bruno should be edited more cause I think there was some illegal footage. So all those people in Hollywood have a lot to answer for in the judgement. However I don't think I should really feel guilty for watching a movie because I wanted to see it. The main reason is that I don't let stuff like that get to me.

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  21. Anonymous4.8.09

    I seen the comment about Scully from the X-Files. In either season 8 or 9 Scully said she found God in the eyes of a Buddah statue. That's when I realized her character was not really a believer in the Christian faith. By the way I'm a Christian, and I made the comment of not feeling that guilty.

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