Worldliness: Where is Your Media & Music Taking You?

Yesterday, we kicked off a 5 part series based on the book Worldliness by C.J. Mahaney.  With each post, we’re giving away a copy of Worldliness.  Congrats to Lee Buford who is the winner of the first copy.  We’re giving away another copy today, with details at the end of the post.

To recap… Worldliness challenges Christians with the words of Jesus found in John 2:15, “Do not love the world or anything in the world.” The world is full of things that attempt to seduce and distract us from our primary calling to love and serve God. Surveys show the lives of American Christians are not noticeably different from those who are not Christians. Whether that’s true for you or not, it’s clear that all of us battle the temptations of this world on a daily basis.

Two areas the book examines are media and music, which we’re going to take on together today.

Media is Everywhere

In today’s modern world, media constantly surrounds us from the clock radio that wakes us up, to the radio in the car, the billboards along the street, magazines, newspapers, and MP3 players.  For the last 50 years TV has been the most influential medium.  In the last few years, the Internet has surpassed TV for many people.  Now we are on the cusp of a media revolution.  Broadband mobile devices will ensure that the entire Internet is always at the tip of our fingers.

Media is Powerful

Our culture has conflicting views on the power of media.  Most people say TV, music, and commercials have little impact on them.

But our actions say otherwise.  Advertisers spend $215 billion a year just on TV commercials – because they work.  When we make presentations at work, we usually include video or Powerpoint.  Most medium and larger churches have media teams.  When we want to have a romantic evening with that special someone we carefully select the right music to set the mood.

Television has greater power over the lives of most Americans than any educational system, government or church. – Kent Hughes

The Old Battle with Media

Christians have been battling media for decades.  However, the focus has been rather one-dimensional.  It’s been primarily about trying to stay away from offensive material.  How many times have we been warned of the evils of sex and violence on TV, in the movies, and in music lyrics?

I’ve heard the warnings so many times, that as soon as I even think someone’s headed down that road my instinct is to think, “Here we go again” and tune them out.  (That’s probably a warning sign in and of itself.)

The New Battle

But the temptation of worldliness is not primarily the temptation to choose evil over good, but rather to choose that which is temporary and meaningless over God.  This is true for our media consumption as well.

6 Ways Media Moves Us

I invite you to join me in examining how the media we consume moves us in these 6 ways.

1) Values. Does the media you consume support or insult your values?  Do the shows you watch make gossip, lying, and insulting people look cool?  Does it make fun of people of faith, chastity, fathers, or stay-at-home moms.  Does it glorify self-centeredness or independence?

2) Time. Is your media consumption keeping your from doing more important things?  Do you spend lots of time watching TV or online but struggle to consistently spend time alone with God?  Are you serving others?  Helping the poor?  Spending consistent time with your spouse and kids?  Or is your media consumption getting in the way of that?

3) Heart. Does the media you consume help you focus your thoughts on God?  Or do the ads and commercials cause you to daydream about what you’d like buy?  Does that TV show or website ignite lustful thoughts?  Do those love songs or romance novels stir fantasies?

4) Focus. Does having radio, TV, or computer on keep you from being able to fully focus on your work, listening to the people in the same room with you, or hearing from God?  Are there times, when you just need to turn everything off?

5) State of mind. Does your desire to keep up with your TV shows, Facebook, or Twitter stress you out?  Do you feel anxious if you don’t have your mobile phone on you?  Do you feel like you have to play Farmville, or Webkinz, or Twitter or blog every day?  Do you agonize over how others might perceive a Facebook update or tweet?

6) Pride/Humility. When you’re posting to Facebook or Twitter are you doing so just to get attention?  Are you being disingenuous in order to make yourself look good.

Discussion

Revising the poorly drawn diagram from yesterday what direction is your media consumption taking you?

upward or forward

Of the 6 ways media moves us mentioned above, which is the greatest struggle?  Where are you seeing the most success?

Action

Reflection and discussion are important, but they won’t change your life or redirect you more towards God . What if any changes are you going to make to your media consumption?

Get a Free Book

If you’d like a free copy of Worldliness, all you have to do is

  1. Retweet this post or share it on Facebook, and
  2. Post a comment to this post.

One person will be randomly selected to receive a free copy of Worldliness.  If you don’t win today, don’t worry, there are 3 more posts yet to come. If you  tweeted/shared/commented yesterday, yes, you need to tweet/share/comment today to have a chance to win the book today.

[image by oddharmonic]

EDIT 2/25 9:40 AM: I’m going to wait until tomorrow (Friday) morning to post the next article in this series (on Worldliness and money/materialism) and draw the winner of the second of 5 books.  So, anyone who shares/retweets & comments today and before 8 AM tomorrow can still win.

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