Thursday, October 11, 2007

Thou Shall Not Kill, but Thou Shall Find Great Entertainment Value in Others Doing So

Here is another area of our culture that I don't understand, maybe because I don't want to. Without getting into an argument about "all sins being equal" vs "God judges all sin equally", there is a definite hierarchy of sin in the American church. Some sins are just worse than others, and there doesn't seem to be much Biblical basis for which ones are the worst.

Take, for instance, WalMart (Anyone who has been reading this blog just had to figure that WalMart would eventually come up!). From the start, I've had a problem with WalMart, especially when I hear people calling it a "christian company" and talking about how saintly Sam Walton was. Look at the basis of their first (or at least first from my perspective) national marketing campaign -- "more for less." Does that seem like a Godly principal? Do we really need "more for less"? Is getting "more for less" going to make us more content? Or, is it just going to get us to buy more? Is getting "more for less" going to help us value what we buy, or are we going to start just pitching things when they break and using our stuff with less care because it can be so easily replaced?

I think we all know the answers to those questions.

But, then, when the great Kathy Lee Gifford scandal broke in the 1990s, you would think that the church would stop and say, "Whoa, children are working in abusive sweatshops to make cheap clothing for WalMart. It turns out that someone is paying for our cheap stuff, maybe we shouldn't shop there."

But, no, that didn't really happen. Walmart flourished, Kathy Lee survived, and the church kept shopping at Walmart (except for the few who were convicted that maybe God didn't want us buying cheap stuff at the cost of some one's suffering.). However, last year, many people changed tunes because WalMart, seeing that it had an entirely new market to tap into, decided to support several gay and lesbian organizations. It was the final straw for many. Child abuse, gluttony and poor treatment of employees didn't cause large amounts of the church to stop shopping at Walmart -- homosexuality did.

Well, actually, it started an immense email campaign, because, you can get stuff so cheap at Walmart so we need to be a little gracious before we boycott!

I, personally, have found the problem quite entertaining. The executives at WalMart, I'm sure, could care less what sexual orientation a person has, what their political views are or what religion they practice. Just like they never cared about children in third world countries, or how content America was with what we already had. They just want every body's money. But, now, by reaching a new market (gay and lesbian) they have offended their biggest market (conservative christian). Boy, are they in hot water!

Another hierarchical sin is sex versus violence. If a movie has sex in it, it's bad. If a movie has violence in it (as long as the good guy wins) then it's okay. Outside of God's direct commands to the Israelites in the Old Testament, I see no where in the Bible where redemptive violence is condoned. And, I think we need to remember, if nothing else, that God has a bit of a different perspective on things when He sends in an army to annihilate a culture that refuses to repent and is essentially killing itself and those around it by its own sin than the latest Hollywood writers who justify vigilante violence in the name of "destroying the bad guy." (Or, perhaps, "rooting out evildoers" to quote another famous person...)

Video games are another area. But they're just pixels!

Pixels or not, if something is wrong, then how is it strengthening us by finding entertainment value in it?

Apparently,though, youth pastors across the country disagree with me, as a new popular way to attract teens is to provide the TVs, game stations, and space to play the popular and violent new video game, Halo.

Pastors and church leaders involved in using the game are quick to say that it is a useful tool for trying to reach boys and young men that would never want to go to church. I think that beer, naked girls and pot would attract those boys, too!

Then they should go to the boys and young men -- where they are! Why aren't we showing them the better way? Do these people honestly think that Jesus would have gotten drunk, made disrespectful comments about women or helped prostitutes make more money? Do you think that he aided tax collectors in cheating their charges? Of course not! He found a way to be with the world without imitating the world. No compromise, and no showing cheap imitations.

It's really sad that so many people are willing to settle for only part of the gospel, for only part of the truth, when committing to the whole of what is good, noble, lovely and true brings so much more blessing.

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