The Golden Compass…pt. II

The article that Brad included in the comments section on the previous post raises some important questions that bear response. I’ll respond to some of them (in another post) but before that, let me ask a question: As Christians, how do we determine what music, film, television and literature is appropriate for us to consume?

I ask this in all seriousness as a father of three children, a lover of books and movies, and as someone who, while wanting to engage with my neighbors in our common culture, wants even more to live in God’s Kingdom. (I should have provided a “long run-on sentence alert”) One simple answer to the question is to live in such a way that my family and I read or view only that which is explicitly Christian. We can get Christian novels, movies, and self-help books from stores and suppliers that are careful not to pass on anything that does not fit their filter. This would be difficult but I think it is possible, at least in the midwest, and I know that there are those who subscribe to this point of view.

Another option is to uncritically consume books, movies, and other media with no concern for their content or with the assumption that the rating system somehow protects the underage, viewers, readers, or listeners from any harm. This is the approach which many families take. They may do this purposefully or because they haven’t seriously considered the issue at all.

Now, these two options are each extreme and I did not provide a position between them. Which takes us back to the question: How do we know, how can we gauge the content of materials that we read, view or listen to?

Let me leave it at that right now. More to come on the Golden Compass soon.


4 thoughts on “The Golden Compass…pt. II

  1. I think that’s the big question!
    What really is a decision that needs to be made between God and an individual has somehow been usurped a little. There are certain people or groups of people who could make one feel like they are either not trustworthy enough, smart enough, or spiritual enough to make a responsible decision. There’s also a feeling of “Well, maybe God’s Spirit is truly not sufficient living within that person, so maybe I ought to protect them by telling them what I think God wants them to do.”

    I want to know the truth about what we are up against in this world. I don’t want to be swayed by false information, untruth, deception, etc. I think God knows that about my heart. In order to be engaged and informed I think I need to be open to certain things that will keep me from naivete. When a country goes to war I bet they want to know what the other side is planning and thinking. It’s my job as an individual and as a parent to know what is out there. I don’t think that our faith needs to be as fearful or trigger happy with ‘boycotting’ certain things in culture. I just feel like we need to let God be the individual God that He is to each of us.

    One last thing….information that has come out about this movie in particular is helpful and I appreciate it all. But in order to make an informed decision for myself, I think I would probably have to see the movie. It’s not that interesting sounding of a movie to me to want to go to the theater to see it, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we’d rent it at some point. Have to see what all the hub-ub is about.

    Sorry for the rambling. This is an interesting topic to me. I’m open to God changing my mind or clarifying anything that’s off base.

  2. I too would hope that all of us, especially parents, would seek some middle ground between the two extreams Paul mentions. This is of course up to us each as individuals. If we are going to make it a point to be engaged in this world with others, to include talking with them, then being up on current events may be helpful. Helpful in the way that I’ve read mentioned before in some conversations, books and blogs, and that is to help us share the Gospel with others who may not have given it any or much thought or had a “bad” experience sometime in the past. Hopefully to offer an alternative to a world who sees or stereotypes all Christians into Pauls first extreme. We are each personally responsible for our life and how we choose to live it. As a Christian spouse, parent, family member or friend, hopefully that means more than just another day in the “rat race”. To engage respectfully and lovingly concerning Truth (The Way) and most of all with grace for where would any of us be without Grace.

  3. Okay P, Let me first qualify this post by saying that I enjoyed The Lord of the Rings trilogy…

    I just watched The Golden Compass. If Christians are going to draw other-than-Christian symbolism from this movie, than they must be willing to acknowledge that the LOTR trilogy has much of the same, if not more other-than-Christian symbolism as The Golden Compass. While the LOTR trilogy has a more explicitly evil antagonist, The Golden Compass draws on more implicit themes. Whether overt or implied, is it that different?

    While Pullman may hold beliefs that are contrary to that of the general Christian population, how is boycotting his story–and I believe that this is the main reason most Christians are speaking out–worthwhile? Is he the first non-christian ever to produce a work of fiction? Do those who have chosen to speak out so fervently against The Golden Compass (many of whom have not read the book or seen the movie) researched every movie’s author for non-Christian beliefs? I doubt it. As a matter of fact, why stop there? Why not make sure that the director, producers and lighting crew believe exactly what we believe before watching that next flick?

    You know P, for those who are upset by the way Pullman’s trilogy demonizes the church, I think we are partly to blame…

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