Entertain Me (Now)
Welcome to what we hope will become our regular Sunday feature here on Singular Spectrum, “Spectrum Perspectives.” Throughout the week, you get the benefit of the (very limited) wisdom of each of us individually, but on Sunday we pool our efforts to each create a small amount of material on one subject. This week’s subject is entertainment and its role in a Christian’s life. It was suggested by the inimitable Paul Newton (Tim’s dad). I’m excited for this post. Leaves suggestions for next week’s Spectrum Perspectives in the comments or send us an idea on twitter.
Entertainment is such a big part of the American society. We have people getting paid MILLIONS of dollars for our entertainment. I love entertainment. Music fills my ears every chance I can get. TV shows are great and I love watching movies as well. So my opinion of entertainment is great, but when it consumes what we are and its all we are, we are missing out on real life. I fall into that trap as well. I get on my computer and pull up YouTube, Hulu, and my social network sites and get entertained. But I miss out on so much! We don’t always have to be entertained, but that is who we have become.
Also, all entertainment has some sort of message. It can be good or it can be bad. Remember that as a Christian, you represent Christ. What you watch, listen to and read becomes who you are. Are you okay with becoming who you are becoming by what you listen to? Take entertainment at small doses and live life with people. Everything you do reflects your relationship with Christ. Make that your goal.
– Adam Swensen
The question of entertainment’s role in our lives is an especially tricky (and important) one for me as an aspiring novelist. Do I write (and read and listen to music and watch TV…) simply for entertainment’s sake, or is there more to it than that? Can there even be more to entertainment than a mindless transference of pleasure? If the answer to that questions is “no”, then I’d have to decry all entertainment as a waste of time and energy and give up on noveling altogether.
While a lot of what passes for entertainment in our frivolity-obsessed culture really is a waste of time, however, there are those artists who endeavor to create music, books, and movies that do more than simply entertain. That’s the kind of artist that I aspire to be and the kind of entertainment that I believe does serve a useful purpose – the kind that challenges us to think about life and how we live it.
Songs like “Easier Than Love” by Switchfoot, a catchy song which also looks with unflinching honesty at the dire consequences of our culture’s so-called sexual liberty and pleads with us to turn around. Books like John Green’s “Paper Towns”, which delivers just as many valuable insights about life and what it means to really know someone as it does laughs. Movies like “The Truman Show”, which is both funny and deeply challenging, begging the question of why we believe without question the things presented to us and what we might find if we were serious about seeking the truth.
This is entertainment with a purpose, and if you use your discernment there’s a lot that you can get out of it. To me, that’s really the key to finding the proper role for entertainment in your life: discernment. Every artist has a message to send, some worthless and some very much worthwhile. Don’t just shut off your brain and take it all in, take the opportunity to identify and engage that message. Scrutinize it, ask questions of it and about it, decide whether or not you agree and why. Don’t turn to entertainment as a way to waste time, use the time you spend with media as a chance to exercise your mind.
– Tim Newton
We have more entertainment in America today than has ever been seen in history up to this point. Let me clarify something: when I say entertainment, I’m speaking of media with a primary purpose of entertaining people. There are many things that are entertaining but have a primary purpose that puts them outside of this definition.
So when is it appropriate for a Christian to partake of entertainment? Or perhaps, how much entertainment is it appropriate for a Christian to consume? You see, a relationship with Christ is the foundation of a Christian’s entire life. Everything we do should have some purpose in giving glory to God, so how can we ever justify something that only serves to amuse us?
At the same time, God created us to enjoy this world. He made it a lovely place because He is love, and then He gave it to us. We don’t want to live our lives as zombies consumed by works; we don’t want to live our lives chasing after futile entertainment.
I don’t have any quick answers to reconcile this perplexity. I can only say, “Seek ye first God’s kingdom.” That’s at the crux of it. Life should be lived intentionally. We need to examine each moment of life to see how it can best be used for God’s purpose. We need to examine each book we read, each movie we watch, all the music we consume to find the beauty of God’s truth in it.
Maybe that’s how to address it. Maybe entertainment only has value insomuch as it reveals truth. I don’t know. What do you think?
– Adam B