Friday, March 17, 2017

What Are We Boycotting Today?

When Harry Potter first came out, evangelicals raged against it. I was a young pastor, and I had someone leave my church because they found out that I let my kids read it. I read it before allowing my children to so that I could judge it for myself instead of just jumping in the evangelical 'gotta be against something' bandwagon.

I asked the person who was leaving my church if they had actually read the book. No. They did not need to because they had heard from someone who had heard from someone who agreed with someone who said something about something to someone and therefore everyone with discernment knew that this was of Satan. 

That was almost two decades ago and we Christians are still looking for something to hate on. 

For example, all of the hostility, the call for boycotts, and the disgust with Disney because of the Beauty and the Beast gay scene. 

I know you haven't seen it. 

However someone posted that someone posted that someone tweeted that someone heard that someone said….

Great example happened this morning. We have a friend on Facebook that has been bashing Disney for weeks. They have declared a boycott. They have called for all Christians to stand against the film and write letters against it. We posted last night that we had seen it. This morning this person, the same one that has been on the anti-movie forefront, sent us a private message asking us about it. They said, “I want to make an informed opinion.”

So, what were you preaching for the past six weeks? An uninformed opinion? Why have you been screaming for a boycott and saying, “As for me and my house, we will not be seeing any more Disney films.”? I can tell you what has been happening.

Someone said that someone posted that someone heard that….so now all that love Jesus must hate this.

Before I tell you about the movie, let me ask you some questions.

Do you feel the same anger and hostility when you see characters in movies that have heterosexual relationships outside of marriage?

Do you react this way when a main character is getting a divorce? If he/she is separated and living in a different house than their spouse?

What do you do if there are characters in the story that are greedy and covetous? 

How do you respond to someone in the movie that does not submit to their authority?

What if someone in the movie is jealous?

Do you watch movies where characters steal things?

Do you boycott movies because children are disrespectful or if the main character is a 'man of anger'?

Do you call for all Christians to use social media and be against movies that have people being killed in them?

How much of your morality must the movie disagree with before you call for a boycott and a picket line?

If you are going to demand that an industry, whether a food chain store, a restaurant, or the entertainment world agree with your morality, then stop picking and choosing. Biblical ethics is not a cafeteria line where you can take this but leave that. Go all in or stay home. 

This is one of the things that I really do not understand. How do we decide which sin we will allow to be portrayed in a movie, and which ones all good people avoid? Lets just be honest. Have you ever seen a movie where no one sinned?

Another thing. Everyone seems to be upset that Disney has a character with same sex attraction and maybe even a ‘gay’ scene. 

Question: Why would Disney NOT put homosexuality in a movie? American culture has totally accepted it. The supreme court has ruled that gay couples are legitimate couples and can be married. Sex change operations are not even rare any more. Probably everyone reading this blog knows someone who is gay. So, why would Disney not have someone in the movie that is gay? Do you think Disney Entertainment is trying to follow the Bible and made a boo-boo?

Here is what I think that problem is. We want to stand against culture where it departs Biblical morality. We want to change culture.

We cannot see the forest because of the trees. Culture is group-think. We are trying to change the way a group thinks without trying to change the way an individual thinks. A group is a bunch of individuals. If you change enough individuals, then the group will change.

God has called us to evangelize and disciple. We are to share our faith in love with the INDIVIDUALS in our relationship arenas and with INDIVIDUALS that we come into contact with and have the opportunity to love. We are to disciple and mentor INDIVIDUALS into spiritual growth and help them become like Jesus. 

This is hard.
This takes time. 
This takes energy.
This makes me uncomfortable.

However, I can scream about how bad CULTURE is and post negative things about CULTURAL morality. Not only is that easy, it actually makes me feel superior to those rotten sinners who do not know Jesus. 

So, we constantly look for things in CULTURE that we can be against, boycott and picket. We look for things that we can put on social media so that our networks can see that we stand for Jesus. We are not know for our love, we are known for who/what/where we hate. 

Meanwhile, we won’t even share the gospel with someone we have worked with for 10 years or our own parents. We will not love our neighbors. We do not even know the names of their children. 

We ignore INDIVIDUALS and let them go to a Christ-less eternity while we scream against culture. 

I have an idea. Instead of running around trying to be 'against' something, why not be for Jesus? 

Instead of trying to force people who have not placed their faith in Christ to live like Christians, and/or develop systems of moral checkpoints for lost culture to follow, what if we started seeking to evangelize and disciple our neighbors?

How about we make it our purpose to share the love and the gospel of grace to others? Wouldn't it be wonderful if we were as excited about helping people know Jesus as we are enthusiastically against pop and modern culture?

Okay, sermon over.

Now, about the 'scene' in Beauty and the Beast.

The movie is all about sacrificial love. 
Belle takes the place of her father in what she thinks is an eternal jail. The Beast became who he is because of superficial judgment and he learns to love and then that love allows him to free Belle, knowing that it means he will be a beast forever. 

The movie is about standing for what you believe. Belle refuses to compromise in order to be the most popular person in the village by marrying Gaston. Belle’s father stands against the village. Belle stands up to the Beast. 
The movie is about true love of character and person, not superficial attraction. That is the whole plot.

Yet, all of this is not enough to make up for….here you go….

We were watching for it. Six of the seven of us that went knew that it was in the movie and which character it involved. My 8 year old had no idea, but everyone else was on guard.

After the movie, no one knew what the hype was about. From my wife down to my 12 year old daughter, no one knew what scene people were talking about. Denise and I had to look it up  on line when we got home to see what we had missed. If no one had told me that this was a 'gay' scene, I would have never known. People are wanting to boycott Disney because of a scene that we did not even catch while watching for it. 

Here it is. At the end of the movie, everyone is formal dancing and partners are being switched. Suddenly, a girl leaves the hands of a man and another person, a man, ends up in his hands. They look at each other. Scene ends. 

That was it. Two guys danced together (think waltz) for almost a second before the camera moved on to another scene.

If that scene is enough to make you boycott something, go for it. However, go back to my first questions.

Just a thought.


Thomas Z Lukoma said...

You totally nailed this Joe. On so many levels. Thank you for this very real look at the insincerity of the GroupThink that is so prevalent in Christ-professing people.

Julia Green said...

Being you used totally secular rationale, I will give you one back in response. You have got to STAND for something or you will fall for anything. Here is a little scripture for you, Sorry, but here goes: "Ye are the salt ignored the eart: but if the salt have lost his savior, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, -!: to be trodden under foot of men." Mathew 5:14

From one Joe to another!

Susan Critelli said...

I didn't think you used totally secular rationale. "Whoever keeps the whole law, and stumbles at just one point, is guilty of breaking all of it." (James 2:10) We can rail against Disney for promoting homosexuality in their movies. But this isn't news, they have done so for years, as well as promoting the Gay Days during the month of June at their theme parks.

Has that stopped Christian families from going to Disney World? No, they just don't go the first weekend in June. Has Harry Potter stopped them from going to Universal Studios? No, they just don't go to the whole Hogwarts area. Homosexuality isn't the only sin, anyway, or the unpardonable sin. "And such were some of you," said the apostle Paul. So how do I justify telling someone they should boycott Beauty and the Beast when I watch other movies and TV shows without complaint even though they contain all the other things you mentioned that people are not boycotting?

I thought this was a very thought provoking article.

Faith Elizabeth Hunter said...

While I appreciate the choice to make a stand, that verse is being taken out of context. Being the salt of the earth means witnessing. Not attending a movie isn't being a witness, because no-one cares. I saw people talking about boycotting Beauty and the Beast on FB, but I didn't care. At all. If I wasn't a Christian, I probably wouldn't even be friends with someone boycotting movies. Or following them on media. Because hearing about it is a headache and time waster.
Instead, actually be salt. Tip generously, take co-workers to lunch, spend time at homeless shelters. Volunteer to help rescue sex-traffickers. Work with after-school programs, sponsor a child in Africa.
Paul made tents for the Roman army (that's what a 1st century tentmaker did)
Daniel served evil kings and shared the truth through his advice to them.
Jesus ate meals and attended parties hosted by really bad people.

I don't see boycotting in Scripture. Instead, I see Jeremiah's instruction to people living in captivity - Seek the peace of the city to which ye are sent.

Yes, be salt. But don't segregate and avoid doing business with people.

Jack Hager said...

Don't know how old you are, just stumbled upon you as a friend sent me a link to your long ago post about things missionarys won't tell you (I've served as a home missionary for almost four decades)...anyway, love this; and the first thing that floated into my gray matter was this oldy moldy :


Wow, well said.
I am in a mission field where christians are busy fighting the cultural practises such as ladies putting on trousers. I think its high time we get intentional in discipleship. Help a few come to Jesus rather than sitting and fighting the world at its best


Wow, well said.
I am in a mission field where christians are busy fighting the cultural practises such as ladies putting on trousers. I think its high time we get intentional in discipleship. Help a few come to Jesus rather than sitting and fighting the world at its best

cytotec said...

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allen deery said...

I just read your article about the 10 things missionaries won't tell you. I just want to say thank you for putting that out there. That took a great deal of courage and it is something that the church really needs to look at. All I can say is thank you and I am sorry for all the pain and sacrifices you make with out any recognition or understanding . Truly you and your family are heroes of the faith in my book. Than you!!
Allen D.