PluggedIn online recently re-posted an article on their website about an interview that writer/editor Bob Smithouser had with recording artist Rebecca St. James in November of 2008. The interview focused on the topic of sexual purity in a culture that has become less innocent and more, shall I say, amped up. To put it simply, we are definitely living in a very different culture and society nowadays. Many things, especially in entertainment (movies, TV shows, music) have been amped up - profanity, violence, sexuality -, but not for good reasons. The same goes for magazines one finds in stores. Generally, you can't pass a checkout aisle without seeing a magazine rack with some cover issues containing some or more skin and some or less clothing. (This doesn't apply to every magazine, mind you, but it has become pervasive in many today.)
One of the things I hate about the entertainment industry (being the discerning man I have become in the last several months) is how things have become sexualized. You look at many recording artists in music - people like Britney Spears, Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, even Miley Cyrus - and you can't help but think that it's not only apalling regarding their sexual-related choices, it's also sad in many, many ways. One of the things Rebecca St. James talks about in the PluggedIn interview is when parents should begin talking to their children about these types of issues and topics.
I think the age is getting younger and younger because there is so much exposure to sexuality at a young age. It's coming from movies and television and the Internet. It's what the kids are talking about at school. Parents need to focus on getting in before the culture does. I hear stories about children 6 or 7 years old hearing about stuff at school and I wonder, What happened to innocence? (my emphasis)
Again, it's a very different culture and society we live in nowadays.
I mentioned above that I have become a discerning individual. And I am honest about that in large part, regarding the kinds of movies that I watch and the kinds of music I listen to. I will also be honest in saying that I have been hearing music and watching films within the last couple years that have had questionable content. I even ponder at times if someone were to ask me why I put myself in such a situation. Well, for one thing, to test my discernment, and also, to prepare myself to have a conversation with other people about it. My philosophy is that you shouldn't just watch or listen to something for the sake of watching or listening to it. You should really think about it and talk about it. You should discern what makes it good or bad, what makes it worthwhile or not worthwhile, and so forth. (I obviously won't see and can't see every movie there is, so not all movies, or songs or art, apply to this.)
Anyway, what does this have to do with sexual purity, you may ask. Well, a whole lot and more. It says in scripture, as Rebecca references, that we are to "protect our minds and fill them with things that are honoring to God" (read Phillippians 4:8). When I'm faced with a sexual temptation at times (yes, I can still be tempted), I try to think of something pure, something positive, something that reminds me of where I've come so far as a growing individual today.
One thing that helps me is knowing that there are positive, pure, and Godly examples in the entertainment industry who are really making a difference. Some great examples in music include Rebecca St. James, and the band BarlowGirl. So the next time you watch a movie or listen to music, don't just listen to it. Think about how it's affecting you. Above all, guard you heart and mind so that it doesn't corrupt you. And don't ever think to yourself, "It's just a song," or "It's just a movie." These things have more impact than you realize.
The PluggedIn article mentioned above can be found at http://www.pluggedin.com/familyroom/articles/2008/rebeccastjamesinterview.aspx.