Don’t Leave Your Brains at the Box Office

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I recently wrote a post challenging Brooklyn 99, and it’s patterns of moral debauchery. It received a couple objections, criticisms, and positive remarks. To be fair, I should respond to some of the objections and criticisms, and explain further the danger of entertainment.

Q. Why challenge Brooklyn 99 of all shows?

  • Because I just finished watching Season 5.

Q. ‘Duh’

  • If you have a moral compass, this article would demand the ‘duh’ response. But even then, those with a moral compass should be cautious about what they are feeding themselves with. As the cliche goes: the bigger you are, the harder you fall. Phil. 4:8 “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.”
  • On the other hand, someone may be struggling with certain issues in their life, and the lies in Brooklyn 99 can present some very alluring lies. In other words, I would never assume that ‘duh’ is the best response, although I can appreciate it, because it shows that some people recognize the issues.

Q. “This is the dumbest thing I’ve read in a while”

  • I’ll just go ahead and trust that this is one of the more discerning responses. Hopefully some of the discussion below, will engage some of your reasons for reckoning the thoughts to be dumb.

One thing I have learned over course of my brief existence, is that there is a lot of sexual craziness in Reformed & Presbyterian communities. And there are a couple ways we can respond to it. We can ignore it is there. We can throw everybody out of the church. Or we can speak the gospel into the situation, which means recognizing the problem and beginning to recognize some of the symptoms.

I would argue that one of the largest contributing factors is pornography. But we can never isolate these things to one issue, and one of the issues is entertainment. There is wealth, pride and such as well, but the focus of my challenges to Brooklyn 99 is entertainment.

In her book ‘Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert’, Rosaria Butterfield quotes Ezekiel 16:48 “As I live,’ says the Lord God, ‘neither your sister Sodom nor her daughters have done as you and your daughters have done. Look, this was the iniquity of your sister Sodom: She and her daughter had pride, fullness of food, and abundance of idleness; neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. And they were haughty and committed abomination before Me; therefore I took them away as I saw fit.'” She then points out the role that entertainment has played in our lives (ie abundance of idleness), and in bringing about sin.

We underestimate the powerful role of entertainment. I have heard people memorize songs and movies after watching/listening once or twice. They really do form the wallpaper and soundtrack of our minds. I am not morally opposed to the viewing of ‘Brooklyn 99’ for the same reason as I am not morally opposed to working in the oil fields. The difference is that one is unproductive and the other is productive. We do have to know what is coming in and how it affects us, and that is between the Christian and God.

Think about the Christian life as a garden that needs fertilizer. Paul encourages us to contemplate on what is noble, good, lovely, true. This has implications for what is not noble, good, lovely, true. How will we respond to entertainment? How will we respond to the Apostle Paul?

I agree. We should not remove ourselves from the world. We should be culturally aware. And the key is to actually be aware, which many people are, and many more think they are. And we have the least to fear because we have the Spirit and Jesus. And yet, naivete has killed many Christians. I have also caught myself slipping into naivete when watching movies and listening to music. The Devil also targets Christians because he wants to make them fall. And the road to Hell is paved with many self-justifications and excuses.

In other words, don’t leave your brains at the login when you type in ‘Netflix’ and hit ‘enter’. You are still in control of the exit and delete button. At least, I hope so.

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