Stuff Christian Culture Likes

Christian culture has a tenuous relationship with movies. Even PG movies have no shortage of cursing, violence and innuendo, and it’s hard to appreciate the movie as a whole with all that thrown in.

If you were raised in Christian culture, you will have inferred this mainly from your parents and your friends’ parents. Watching a movie rated anything other than G with them has the potential to evoke in you a feature-length anxiety episode over what their reaction could be. When a love scene comes on or a bad word is said, the parental figure will begin to stir malcontentedly before saying “I think we should turn this off” or something to that effect. If the parental figure is in another room and hears something questionable from the TV they’ll either say “What are you kids watching in there?” or make some disgruntled harumphs before coming in and evaluating for themselves. If you feel that old sensation of fear shooting through your chest and into your legs as you imagine this, then you may have been raised in Christian culture.

Consider, if you will, The Raiders of the Lost Ark. When this movie came out, Marion in her bra was actually more controversial with Christian culture than was all the copious, spurting violence. Consider also Backdraft. Those firefighters sure were valiant but the love scene on the roof of the firetruck is a deal-breaker for this movie. The language in Top Gun was a giant problem and rendered it completely unsuitable for Christian culture viewing, to say nothing of the take-my-breath-away-silhouetted-tongues scene.

Many youth group screenings of The Princess Bride have been conducted while youth group leaders hovered by the VCR so they could fast-forward over the part where Inigo Montoya calls the Six-Fingered Man a son of a bitch. At day camps this writer worked at, parents said Bambi was too violent to be shown so The Little Mermaid was shown instead. When the parents protested again, it too was banned because Ariel disobeyed her dad.

Fear not! There are many places out there to help you find clean family movie fun. One site used to reissue movies with all objectionable material taken out (at the expense of the plot and any nuance and subtext) but then a judge ruled they can’t do that anymore (something about copyright infringement). Now they offer movies with “no graphic violence or sexual content, no nudity, and no harsh profanity.” They don’t state where they draw the line on harsh, but from reading their reviews you can surmise it falls somewhere between darn (not flagged) and crap (flagged).

Why couldn’t the Bible be more clear on where to draw the line? Dang it! (Is saying dang unwholesome talk?) Could God actually want us to wrestle with this? It’s more difficult to put these things up to scrutiny and deal with them in the context of relationship with him than it is to follow cultural mores. And…there’s the rub.
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