Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Word to My Church about Youth Group Going to the Movies

Today our youth group leader sent this email out to our parents about seeing X-Men First Class and it provided a great teaching opportunity. Hope it helps you.

Gene said: I know I've told quite a few people this, but just so everyone's on the same page - A couple years ago, we went as a group to see Transformers 2, only to be uncomfortably surprised by the amount of inappropriate material contained in what should have just been a good movie about giant robots. That seems to be a recurring theme, unfortunately.
That's why we no longer go to the movies as a [sponsored] group activity. However, we're not taking any kind of stand against movies; we're just leaving the ball in your court!

I've heard varying reports of the amount of questionable material in X-Men: First Class. So, please check any of the various reviewing outlets and handle the situation as you would any other movie your
family would see.

Pastor Jim's response and follow-up:  
Thanks!Hey youth parents, I'll take a risk here and make some comments.

Elizabeth and I saw this Xmen movie. It was a very entertaining movie for adults but the PG-13 rating is there for a reason. There is no explicit nudity but women are scantily clad in more than one scene. I think the Lord's name was taken in vain F word was used but not excessively. The violence level is high but it is based on a good v. evil theme.

Websites like MovieGuide will give you superb details. I have written for them in the past and highly recommend them as THE MOST THOROUGH REVIEWS. (save the link on your computer. You'll use it!) 
If you as an adult like seeing movies, the details can spoil surprises.

So now you are asking, 'Why does my pastor and his wife see a movie like this and/or let their children see movies like this?' Good question.

1) About children and teenagers. We don't try to over-protect our children. We give them choices and talk through those choices with them when they are young teens because they are going to have to stand on their own as adults in a few short years. Check out the recent sermons on parenting if you missed them.

We were MUCH more careful and had age limits for certain movie ratings and enforced them consistently with all 3 of them. Elysia is almost 16 and she still has not been allowed to see an R rated movie.

We thought 13 was a good time to start seeing pg13 movies and then discussing the content. (Movieguide is great at helping you as a parent recognize the worldview and moral teaching of a movie - even 'safe' movies like 'Free Whilly' (it was about a boy and a whale) needed to be discussed because it promoted a pantheistic point of view!)

You as parents must lead your children. Remember the sermon about parenting? We must support each other's decisions without condemnation.

2) About us as adults. This gets a little dicey if you want a pastor who follows all the rules really well. It's even more complicated because we have people from different nations, backgrounds, convictions and upbringings in our church. But let me plow on.

I am personally convinced that seeing movies is an area of personal liberty, like smoking or drinking alcohol. You may not be at the same place that I am and I will be happy to discuss with you.

Part of our decision to see movies or do other worldly things is to be missional to my friends. It is how I interpret the 'become all things to all people' and 'be in the world but not of it' in Scripture.

Many of my friends whom I love and want to receive Christ will see this movie and I want to build bridges to them.

Does it trouble me when women are portray as objects in movies? Yes. A lot. Do I personally struggle with lust? Yes. That is why I see movies with my wife. We talk about stuff I struggle with and she helps me by being my only source of beauty and satisfaction.

3) What does this mean for you?
Be wise. Talk to other elders and fathers about their views of personal liberties and get brothers (and your wife if you have one) to hold you accountable. And train up your children to be wise.
Train them to talk back to the message of the movie - or the video or book or blog or FB chat.

Be missional. Do what you can do to reach your friends who are lost without Jesus. Be as normal as you can without hurting your conscience.

Trust God and talk with your church. The Lord will be faithful to His promises and we will be faithful to each other and learn together how to raise our children together.