I imagine a large number of people don’t usually care about the Oscars, but those numbers must have increased this year. The nominees have been announced and the season is upon us, and yet this year Oscar the Grouch is probably gaining more attention (though Ben Bartlett would probably say that he always gets more attention). But it’s not just the mediocre awards show that is gaining little-to-no applause from fans this year, it seems to me that no one really even cares about Hollywood at all this year.
When the Writer’s Strike seemed inevitable fans were preparing for the worst. Re-runs, the disappearance of their favorite shows, and possibly nothing but asinine Reality TV. But the truth has been far less disastrous. No one seems to care much at all. Not even the Democratic party cares enough to show their support to the Writers (except for underdog, John Edwards). As one screen writer said, “The Democrats only care enough for Hollywood to milk them for money.” Apparently, life goes on without new episodes of “Grey’s Anatomy.” Fans are still going to the movies, people are engrossed in a wild political race, and all our late-night talk shows are back and running in full swing. Hollywood is surviving the Writer’s Strike, but what’s more interesting is that so are we.
It is as if we all realized something very important: Hollywood is not the center of our lives. We have a myriad of other alternatives to spend our time on, and we can survive without a hit new season of prime-time television. As I thought about this realization the other day I began to think of just how easy it is for Christians to become consumed with the entertainment industry. We too like to be entertained, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but when we are consumed by it then we lose our focus on what’s important. The Writer’s Strike has shown us all that we can survive without Hollywood at the center of our lives. Now the trick will be to make sure that Hollywood never gets back to the place it once held. I have a few suggestions for us on how to resist that temptation:1) Be Discerning A simple rule goes a long way. Use your time wisely, and be choosy about what you let into your life.
2) Enjoy Entertainment, but Be Wary of Idolizing it When being “entertained” moves from a “want” to a “need” then you have entered the realm of idolatry. Beware that you are not making “musts” out of your “wants.”
3) Use Entertainment for Godly Purposes Allow entertainment to be a tool in your spiritual life. Reflect thoughtfully and intentionally on what you watch. Is there meaning to this movie or this television show, and does that meaning match up with or disagree with the Bible. Are there spiritual truths that you can glean from watching this? Don’t let your entertainment simply entertain, but let it challenge and encourage you.
4) Spend more time in the Word For all that we do with entertainment let us be sure that we are not neglecting time studying God’s Holy Word. Whatever benefit we may get from watching TV or seeing movies, it pales in comparison to the great benefit of knowing God through His Word. Don’t forget that you need the Bible, and you only want TV.
With this in mind we can survive the Writer’s Strike. But more importantly, we can survive its end.