Friday, March 30, 2012

Discernment vs. Censorship

I was talking to my pastor friend Tim once about a book.  A book I think both of us were supposed to think was BAD, but neither of us really did.  Well . . . we agreed that the author was wrong on many things, but other things we really liked.

Then he said something that struck a deep chord with me.  He said it as an apology.  He said it fearing what I might say.  He said it as if it was a bad thing.  He said, "I almost always find something in any book that I like."  I agreed.  My first instinct when I disagree with something is not to censor it, but to study it.  I try to look at things from the opposing point of view as best as I can.  Usually I see a nugget of truth there that I need to deal with and learn from.

I fear too many of us are in the censoring business (Harry Potter is from the devil; Twilight is satanic; the Hunger Games glorify violence, etc.).  I believe the Holy Spirit can speak through many avenues, including pop media   I watched a horrendous movie the other day.  It was the worst movie I think I had ever seen.  Yes . . . it was a Sundance award-winning movie.  That fact alone pretty much seals the deal for me.  I watched it, thought I was going to kill myself, and then wished I had those hours back when I was done.  BUT . . . I still was able to discern a good message.  EVEN from a pile of garbage (from my point of view).

The message was about not trading short term pleasure for long term happiness and satisfaction.  A woman didn't return to her home country when her student visa ran out, because she was in love.  But . . . that very act led her to not be able to come back and be with her loved one in the future.  Man does that speak to the Christian life or what.  How often do we trade the immediate pleasure of sin for its long term negative consequences.

I can even find redeeming things about Rob Bell's work (cue gasp)!  In "Love Wins" he is rightly trying to focus us on the blessings of the Kingdom of God in the present age and curses of disobeying God in this life.  Life in the kingdom of God is not just about holding a future fire insurance policy.  We can live heaven now through the Spirit, or we can live hell.  Now . . . there is the whole swinging the pendulum way in the other direction to the point of denying the clear biblical teaching on a future hell.  But . . . if we have open ears, we can still find truth that can cause us to grow, while rejecting the garbage. Discernment.

Maybe I am as wrong as rain!  I probably am!  I just believe that diamonds of God's truth can be found in even the most ordinary of places.  Are you looking for God's truth?