John Piper on Game of Thrones and growing in godliness

Watching TVOver the last few months, I’ve written a couple of posts encouraging Christians to think more deeply about their ‘entertainment choices’, especially with reference to shows like Breaking Bad and Game of Thrones, or films like The Wolf of Wall Street. In my view, it’s an urgent issue facing Christians everywhere. So I was really pleased to come across these reflections from John Piper – 12 Questions to ask before you watch Game of Thrones.

It’s an article packed with great insights and quotable quotes. Among my favourites: “Jesus has blood-bought power in his cross. He died to make us pure. He ‘gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession’ (Titus 2:14). If we choose to endorse or embrace or enjoy or pursue impurity, we take a spear and ram it into Jesus’s side every time we do. He suffered to set us free from impurity.”

And as one who has written about the violence in a show like Breaking Bad, Piper gives me food for thought by noting that, unlike murder or other forms of violence, nudity cannot be faked: “Violence on a screen is make-believe; nobody really gets killed. But nudity is not make-believe. These actresses are really naked in front of the camera, doing exactly what the director says to do with their legs and their hands and their breasts. And they are naked in front of millions of people to see.”

It’s well worth taking five minutes to read the whole article. It may very well help you to grow in godliness.

Advertisements

Engaging our culture, or selling our souls?

Have evangelicals fallen into the trap of validating all sorts of entertainment choices in the name of ‘cultural engagement’?

LeoLast year, I shared some thoughts on how Christians ought to engage with and consume popular culture, based around the final episode of Breaking Bad. It’s a perennial question, one that will continue to confront Christians for a long time to come.

The latest incarnation of this issue centres around the film The Wolf of Wall Street, the Oscar-nominated film starring Leonardo DiCaprio and directed by Martin Scorsese. I haven’t seen it, but I greatly appreciated Trevin Wax’s insights over at The Gospel Coalition. For me, here is the big question: “I never subscribed to the fundamentalist vision that saw holiness in terms of cultural retreat or worldliness as anything that smacked of cultural engagement. I don’t subscribe to that position today. But sometimes I wonder if evangelicals have swung the pendulum too far to the other side, to the point where all sorts of entertainment choices are validated in the name of cultural engagement.Continue reading

The Top Ten of 2013

Top TenIt’s that time when, apparently, bloggers post ‘best-of’ lists from the year that’s past. So here we go. These are the top ten most viewed posts from Every Thought Captive in 2013.

10. A Breaking Bad Idea: I took some heat (some of it justified) for this rumination on whether or not Christians should watch shows like Breaking Bad. I’m glad it raised questions for people.

9. Depression and the Christian: A collection of resources for people dealing with (or helping those dealing with) this massive issue. Continue reading

A Breaking Bad Idea

Is it healthy or wise for Christians to watch and enjoy a program so deeply laced with violence and darkness?

ImageIn case you were living in a cave and missed it, last month featured a genuine ‘television event’: the final episode of Breaking Bad. Though I’ve never seen a single episode, it was enough of a sensation to capture my attention and leave me with some big questions.

My first experience of the show came when I was browsing some DVDs in a store last year, saw the cover for Season 1, and thought, ‘Why is Bryan Cranston standing there in his undies?’ I read the back cover and shrugged: chemistry teacher is diagnosed with cancer, so decides to start making methamphetamine to provide for his family – a slightly strange (even unpleasant) topic, some potential, but nothing special. Continue reading