Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Soul Surfers or Soul Winners?

There was all this buzz in the Christian circles about the movie that needed to be seen! It was being heralded as this great, God glorifying message hitting the big screen. I was excited until I saw the trailer.

Then I felt sick.

Really? This is what Christian families are thrilled about flocking too?

Have I missed something? I went to Focus on the Family's "plugged in" online and read the review and watched the trailer again as the reviewer exclaimed his 4 and 1/2 thumbs up for family friendly all the while half-naked girls are being displayed in living color directly behind him.

What?! Since when was displaying partial nudity God glorifying? 50 years ago no family would dare dream of a "family friendly" night on the town involving skimpy dressed girls on a big screen whether they were on a beach or not.

Why is it that we as Christians allow our society to determine our moral sensitivity?

I am already frustrated with how difficult it is to raise godly young men in this society. Men who value their purity, and integrity. Young men that rise above the social norm.

Focus on the family's own site bear statistics that are shockingly disturbing.

47% percent of families said pornography is a major problem in their home (Focus on the Family Poll, October 1, 2003).

Roger Charman of Focus on the Family's Pastoral Ministries reports that approximately 20 percent of the calls received on their Pastoral Care Line are for help with issues such as pornography and compulsive sexual behavior.

57% of pastors say that addiction to pornography is the most sexually damaging issue to their congregation (Christians and Sex Leadership Journal Survey, March 2005)

A 1996 Promise Keepers survey at one of their stadium events revealed that over 50% of the men in attendance were involved with pornography within one week of attending the event.

Apparently, porn is a MAJOR problem! It destroys men, it destroys families. So why are we so willing to sit idly by and slowly desensitize ourselves and our loved ones to sensuality. Why is it that Christians are not alarmed by such blatant, extreme immodesty?

I'm wondering though would the same parents hand their teenage boy a Sports Illustrated swim suit addition and say "Here son, there is a great article in here. One of the models overcame adversity and tragedy and then gave all the glory to God for coming through it! You'll have to go through all those pages of pictures first before you get to the article, but wow, is it ever worth it!"

Would Focus on the Family ever endorse such a thing?

I am grieved by the inconsistencies. We complain about teenagers being addicted to porn, rampant promiscuity amongst the young people in the churches and then we wonder why and we shift the blame to society. Yes, we live in a worldly culture, but I love how Denise Mira states in her book "No ordinary Child" She says- "We live (as Christian parents) in a Holy Kingdom culture where "radical" means dressing modestly so that we don't cause others to stumble"- "Make war on inappropriate clothing!"

I'm making war. I encourage my boys to make war.
This is a battle, but I'm willing to fight.

I can almost hear the proverbial criticism... I cannot keep my kids under a rock forever. I get it, I do. The thing is my boys are out on the streets downtown all summer, they share the gospel and they open air preach to crowds where I am sure there are many inappropriately dressed girls. They hand out tracts at malls and I am sure they have spoken to their fair share of girls who are dressed skimpily.

In those situations they are making eye contact, and they are out for a purpose. They are on high alert. They are not sitting in a theatre, being entertained, gawking at larger than life scantily-clad images.

Now what about our girls? Sure maybe one could take mature, godly teenage daughters to this movie and it be a great springboard for discussion about some of the issues that would have been raised in the movie. I'm not sure I would, but I could see how it might not really pose any real problems. Modesty could be addressed and such.

As for my young daughters...never. They are 10 and 8. They are still so very impressionable. I want to guard their hearts and their minds from the pollution that erodes girls today. To see girls running around with their private parts barely covered and fall prey to the glamorous appeal of it all. Sure we could say one thing to them. Tell them how wrong it is and how they are worth more than that. We could talk about noble things like dignity and honor and yet in that dark theatre something else would be going on in their little minds. An allure would be created, an impression made, and a lie would find a voice.
This is what the world says is fun and beautiful.

I would love to think that my girls know better than all of that, that I have trained them well. The Bible reminds us "The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?" (Jer.17:9)
A fragile heart, a delicate heart, my young daughters hearts, I will not expose them to temptation.

I will not set before their eyes and hearts role models who do not share our values, when there are so many other beautiful examples to give my girls.

As parents why we think we can somehow gloss over the attractiveness of sin and in some way down play its draw baffles me. I guess that is why God speaks strongly on this topic. All throughout Proverbs He commands turning away from evil, fleeing from evil, pretty much running in the opposite direction of evil.

I love Proverbs 14:16 ~"One who is wise is cautious and turns away from evil, but a fool is reckless and careless."
And the consequence Proverbs 6:27 ~ "Can a man scoop fire into his lap without his clothes being burned?"
A verse that has become a standard in our raising of our children is Romans 16:19 ~"For your obedience is known to all, so that I rejoice over you to be wise as to what is good and innocent as to what is evil."

My desire is to raise children who are wise to what is good. That they will be world changers, pursue holiness in their lives and lead with strong character. That they will be innocent to what is evil, flee temptation, rise above society's low expectations.

This is not a complaint against the real Bethany Hamilton. I realize her story is inspirational and I am thankful that she has had a platform in REAL life to share her faith in Jesus Christ.

My problem is with the fact that Hollywood can make a movie, throw us Christians a bone by sprinkling in a little faith talk, a prayer or two, a reading of scripture and then many Christian organizations jump on the bandwagon to heavily promote it. I guess I am not looking for "better than bad." That is not where I draw my standard.

Just because I am used to Hollywood promoting filth doesn't mean I am going to embrace a film because it invokes a feel good message and provides an emotional reaction.

My standard is purity at all costs for my family. I will fight for a hedge of protection around my young men. I will not compromise for the sake of being relevant and more tolerant.

I am striving for soul winners, not soul surfers.

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us." ~Heb 12:1


Brianne said...

Thank you for this. I thank God for your willingness to fight and for your urging us as Christians to do so as well. Our families, our kids are at stake, and this is war. I need encouragement like this, to keep fighting, to know how, and to know what to watch out for.

Klasse Woods Natural Farm said...

Very well spoken. Thanks for boldly addressing the state of undress within the Church today. God Bless you & your family!

Pamela said...

Very well Spoken. Be at peace knowing you are standing for right and calling others to do so, even if it goes against the flow of what is acceptable in the church!

Anonymous said...

You are not alone in all that you you believe and stated. I agree with everything your wrote. Thank you for sharing this. (((hugs)))

Sue Ann said...

You are exactly right and your observations are right on the mark! We need to stand firm, and whether something is marketed for Christians or not doesn't dictate whether or not it will be edifying. There are probably secular films with a secular message that would be more edifying (and less insidious) than a movie like Soul Surfer. Thank you for your well thought out post.

Anonymous said...

Well said sister!!!! Love ya

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