The only reason I'm taking the time to talk about this today is because the subject came up not once, not twice, but three times over the weekend. I'm talking about the new movie creating all the furor in the theaters this weekend--"The Golden Compass".
It stars Nicole Kidman (I wish I could star in movie bust after movie bust and still get paid millions) and is based on the trilogy written by avowed atheist Phillip Pullman. Pullman, himself, has admitted his dislike of C.S. Lewis the author of the Narnia series.
A quick summary of the novel/movie is this: God is portrayed as a decrepit old man who eventually is killed in the last portion of the trilogy by the little girl (the heroine). She has entered this parallel universe in order to save the world from horrible villains--the church. Now, I'm not going to tell you to not go see the movie (which you shouldn't) nor will I tell you that it's a poor copy of Lewis' Narnia or J. R. R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings (which it is). I won't even tell you that it's getting poor reviews (an average of 1 to 2 stars from most secular reviewers).
Here's what concerns me. How come the Christian community has made such a huge deal about not supporting this movie (a move that I firmly support) but we have no problem the other 11 months out of the year supporting the same garbage on our TVs, our i-pods or our car radios? (Dang, there goes that pastor meddling in my personal affairs) Pardon me for saying it, but the same anti-God message portrayed in The Golden Compass is delivered night after night on shows like Grey's Anatomy, Law and Order and The Office, is it not? I mean a message doesn't have to say "kill God" before it already supports that thought.
Don't believe me?
Then you and I haven't read very closely the words of the Bible where God calls for us to live holy and separate lives. We haven't examined the truth that's taught inside that Word--if a man breaks just one part of God's command, he's guilty of breaking it all.
Now, two things I want to make clear. I am not calling for boycotts of anything and everything. What I am calling for is consistency in the voice of believers. What I hear from many of us is, "Don't get involved in what Hollywood's selling...unless it's funny, good drama, an actor I like, gets good reviews, etc." We can't have it both ways. Pullman is simply guilty of stating boldly what many in America try to dance around--there complete denial of God and His claim on our lives.
Secondly, there is still grace. Legalism does nothing but turn off people to religion and religious tradition. God never sought either. He simply desires a friendship with you and me. What does that look like? It's actually very easy. Let me illustrate.
I used to have a friend, a very close one, who was allergic to nuts. He was badly allergic to even the dust from nuts. So, in order to be with my friend, I chose to put away all kinds of nuts--peanuts, pecans, almonds, cashews, etc. I even chose to stay away from places where there might be nuts so that he and I could hang out and develop that friendship. It was worth it for my friend. Did I miss boiled peanuts? You bet. Did I long for chocolate covered cashews? Like crazy. But I wanted the friendship with my buddy more.
God is "allergic" to sin (not really but the word works here to catch the analogy). I don't want any part of it. I don't even want to go where it lingers. Do I crave it? Some times. Do I think about it often? Yep. But I want the friendship I have with God more. Because of that, I am willing to realign my life so that God is not "hurt" by my poor choices. It's that important to me.
God loves me and you. He wants what is best for us all. He knows that this is found in a pure relationship with Him--not in anything this world offers. But, to get it, we have to live consistent lives that honor Him. What that means is this...you must decide for yourself if The Golden Compass (or Grey's Anatomy or the latest Dixie Chicks CD or whatever) is something that's going to make your friendship with God stronger? Or will your choices place your relationship with God in jeopardy? For me, that makes the answers clear. Hope it does for you as well.