Star Wars & Christians - part 4
This series is adapted from episode 11 of the Reason Together Podcast found HERE.
I. What is the content?
A. Are there dangers to moral purity?
B. Are there dangers to behavioral and social expectations about violence?
C. Are there dangers to one's Biblical theology?
II. What is the frequency in which you watch it?
A. Are there dangers to your time, productivity, and growth?
B. Are there dangers of being identified with its culture?
C. Are there dangers to your financial stewardship?
1. What about boycotting Hollywood?
2. What if you have disposable income?
III. What is your reason for watching it?
A. Can entertainment have a Godly reason?
B. Can escaping reality be a healthy form of entertainment?
C. Can nostalgia be dangerous?
IV. What should Christians do about Star Wars?
A. Is isolation from it the answer?
1. Can you have education in isolation?
2. Can you hurt your testimony by isolation?
B. Is having no restraint the answer?
1. What do you think you can handle?
2. What do you think about future generations and moderation?
Ephesians 5:15-16 See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
It would seem that according to the above Scriptures that being circumspect, i.e. looking around with caution, is decidedly characteristic of the wise and not of fools. And also that treating time like a precious commodity is necessary because we live in evil days. How does this apply to our subject? Simply put, movies are long. On average movies are around 80-120 minutes.
I don’t know exactly how long the Star Wars movies all are but the fact that there are now nine of them, depending on which ones you see as “canon”, means that you’d be at it for a while if you wanted to see them in marathon fashion.
We’ve already established in our series that entertainment as a concept is not sinful and in fact sometimes needful. The question of what kind/content of entertainment also matters and we’ve already dealt with that in our last post on this subject. The question, er… in question this time is simply, “How much?”
This one is rather simple. First, if entertainment is done to the exclusion of one's responsibilities, it’s crossed a line. Admittedly, this is different for everyone as all have varying responsibilities. But what if you don’t have many responsibilities? In my opinion, a man who doesn’t have many responsibilities should probably be looking for some. In other words, a man should seek to produce value in his own life and the lives of those around him. I’ll admit that I have enjoyed the Star Wars movies in the past, but what I enjoy most and find most fulfilling is doing things that teach me something, hone a skill, improve my family, save money, make money, or provide a service. I find joy in that. You might even say entertainment. When you learn to have fun learning things of value, you make yourself more valuable to others. Rather than just taking up space, you become a useful human being not just to your family and employers, but even to God! Developing a useful set of skills by redeeming your time and treating it like a commodity gives you more things you can use in service to Christ.
Even though in our last post on Star Wars & Christians we demonstrated that there can be actual teaching moments in Star Wars, that doesn’t make the movies actual educational content or really all that valuable in any meaningful way. Any teaching moments in them is in spite of them not because of them. When you look at it that way, they are plain and simple time fillers.
Secondly, letting your time be overly invested in movies like Star Wars can give you an unhealthy identification with this world's culture. As much as I have enjoyed Star Wars, I have met some Christians that just seem way too “committed” to Star Wars fandom. Star Wars is inexplicably a cultural phenomenon. It has become societally acceptable to be utterly obsessed with the Star Wars Universe. So, it seems strange to me when a Christian mimics this obsession with Star Wars but doesn’t much enjoy the discussion of spiritual things. It seems imbalanced. I’ve known some Christian men who could wax eloquent about Star Wars for a forty-five-minute monologue but would cringe at the idea of teaching a Sunday School class or, dare I say it, be called to ministry and have to preach!
Third, the time commitment in watching Star Wars (or movies in general) can be a hindrance to good financial stewardship. Movies cost money. An unhealthy obsession with them can cause one to spend money on them that could be better put to use on something else- something of more value than a movie. I can’t say it’s wrong to spend money on a movie provided you’ve already factored in the principles in the previous posts in this series, but there comes a point where one is no longer being wise in financial stewardship.
Also, as a tangential question (and because it doesn’t fit anywhere else in the series outline), you may also be wondering about the question of Hollywood getting your money when you spend it on a movie. For this reason, many Christians argue against movies in theaters. I agree with the emotion behind that argument, but the argument itself is kind of ridiculous primarily because it is glaringly inconsistent. Many people that have used that logic to argue against going to movie theaters just end up renting or buying it later as if their money goes somewhere other than Hollywood if they rent it or buy it later. Also, if you’re going to have that as your reason you need to apply that logic to everything from the make vehicle you drive to the cereal you eat for breakfast. Those companies all have beliefs and practices you would find reprehensible if you knew about them.
There are also much better arguments to use regarding movie theaters than that, but those are beyond the scope of this series of posts. While I agree that Hollywood is a cesspool of human depravity, boycotting Hollywood is often just a cheap way of proclaiming one's own righteousness. It doesn’t cost anything to rail against Hollywood but the returns it brings your Christian reputation are big. It’ll get a whole lot of “amens”. There are many more ways to earn a good report as a Christian, but they require years of faithful, unsung character development, not heated rants about why you won’t watch Star Wars.
So, the lesson here is to be mindful of how involved you get in Star Wars, or any entertainment because wise people treat their time as a precious commodity. Also, don’t forget that in this series we are building a Biblical “filter” of principles. To get the full picture so far go back and read Parts 1-3 if you haven’t already. In Part 5 we’ll examine our reasons for seeking entertainment both good and bad.
Pastor Thomas Balzamo is the pastor of Colonial Baptist Church of Norwich, CT and one of the hosts of the Reason Together Podcast.This series is adapted from episode 11 of the Reason Together Podcast found HERE.