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filmstripDo you know how to watch a movie?  I’m not thinking about the mechanics of popping a disc in the DVD player, so let me try to rephrase the question.  Do you know how to watch a movie in a way that glorifies God?  “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do,” (which includes watching movies and everything else) “do all to the glory of God.”  (1 Corinthians 10:31)

What does it mean to watch a movie to the glory of God?  There were some good comments on my previous post that prompted me to think about that question.  That post and those comments also reminded me of an article I read a while back.

Essentially, movies tell a story.  Innately, we love stories, and we often find ourselves deeply affected by them.  God has even chosen to reveal His character and his power to us, to some extent, through stories.

Obviously, however, not all stories have equal value.  For that reason, it’s vital to think critically about every story that we see or hear.  Adam Parker urges Christians to do just that in this article.  Here are a few excerpts:

As Christians, we have a worldview, and that worldview is at the forefront of everything we encounter in life.  It influences our conversations with both believers and unbelievers alike; it colors our interpretation of world events; and — because of the wide-reaching influence of our worldview — it influences how we understand and interpret the movies we watch (both those which reflect the Christian worldview as well as those which do not).  To read a book or listen to a speech is not necessarily to agree with the views being espoused, and likewise, Christians should watch movies with discerning eyes and ears.

…Christians are not prohibited from enjoying entertainment, but they must be aware of where their entertainment is coming from and what message it is sending to them and their families.  Unfortunately most are poorly equipped for this task.

…it is important to emphasize that it is not only dangerous for Christianity as a movement that Christians do not know how to think like Christians when they go to the movies, but it is personally damaging because to watch a movie with no regard for God, quite simply put, is sinful.  There are spiritual risks involved in movie-going.  There are cultural effects involved in watching them without discernment.  So how are Christians to think when they watch movies?

He goes on to list three things every Christian should keep in mind when watching a movie.  In passing, he notes that some consideration should also be given to whether or not a particular movie might even be appropriate to watch.  Clearly, some are not.

Another thought, not directly addressed in this particular article, is whether watching a movie is even the most profitable way to use two hours of our precious time.  It may be, but then again, it may not.  John Piper suggests that a vast number of people today are addicted to entertainment.  I suspect that’s almost as true of Christians as non-Christians.  Here’s Piper’s answer to the question, “How can I break free from addiction to entertainment?”

We must learn, I think, to consciously watch movies (and do everything else that we do) to the glory of God.  I pray that that would be the one desire that shapes not only our movie watching habits, but the way we use every second of our time.

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.  (1 Corinthians 10:31)