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An Oxymoron

June 22, 2006

Linked off the CCLI website is a service called SongTouch. It's tagline is "Christian Music and Entertainment".  I know the readers here have beat the "Christian Music" moniker to death, but lets argue and have a little fun with "Christian Entertainment".

To me, it's an oxymoron (perhaps a misnomer) for at least two reasons.  One, it infers that entertainment by way of content embodies the notion of being a little Christ. Only people can be called Christian.  Second, and by far a bigger issue, it puts forth this conclusion counter to the Gospel: there is a need for Christians to be entertained.  I mean, really?  Here are some ludicrous statements to emphasize my point:

"He bids me come and be entertained." 

"Seek first entertainment, and the rest shall be added unto you."

"To live is entertainment, to die gain."

"Safe for the whole family" TM

"Take up your cross and follow entertainment"

"Live your best life now"

"Gospel Tonight"

"I have come to bring entertainment on the earth and how I wish it were already turned on."

Hopefully it is obvious I am implicated in my own statements as I too often choose to pick up the remote instead of a book, just because I am lazy.  I did buy some books today, so that is a step in the right direction.

Any other witty quotes out there?

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15 comments

  1. Safe for the whole family. 104.7 the Fish.


  2. How about a new one. I had that one.


  3. Might want to broaden your definition of “entertainment.” When you entertain someone the goal is to keep their time and attention occupied. “Occupied with what” is the question. Smut, reality TV, movies, books, discussion, studies, work, or whatever?

    Do we entertain ourselves with things that build up the kingdom? With things that are good but will burn in the end? Or just a steady diet of mindless garbage?

    Don’t forget the idea of moderation. Mindless, but edifying, entertainment is needed from time to time too.


  4. Let’s start here with the definition from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition

    Entertainment (n.) –
    1. The act of entertaining.
    2. The art or field of entertaining.
    3. Something that amuses, pleases, or diverts, especially a performance or show.
    4. The pleasure afforded by being entertained; amusement: “The comedian performed for our entertainment.”

    My experience with CCM is benign. And it diverts from real stuff of the kingdom. Perhaps in terms of value to a believer, it’s baby food, barely milk. A kingdom full of babies has no teeth.

    In light of the greatest commandment, when is mindless entertainment needed?


  5. The church: We entertain, you decide.

    I think Dan hit it on the head yesterday when he said that we spend many an hour watching a movie when we could be replenishing our ability to love others and love God by quickening our spirits through the Word.


  6. Well, when you associate words like “divert” and “pleasure”…

    But pleasure isn’t a bad word. If you find pleasure in studying the Bible then isn’t that also classified as entertainment? Or is that something else?


  7. John Piper’s Don’t Waste Your Life put this in stark perspective for me:

    …when the trifling fog of life clears and I see what I am really on earth to do, I groan over the petty pursuits that waste so many lives — and so much of mine. …Think of the time and energy and conversation that go into entertainment and leisure and what we call “fun stuff.”

    …Oh, that young and old would turn off the television, take a long walk, and dream about feats of courage for a cause ten thousand times more important than American democracy — as precious as that is. If we would dream and if we would pray, would not God answer? Would he withhold from us a life of joyful love and mercy and sacrifice that magnifies Christ and makes people glad in God? I plead with you, as I pray for myself, set your face like flint to join Jesus on the Calvary road. “Let us go to him outside the camp and bear the reproach he endured. For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come” (Hebrews 13:13-14). When they see our sacrificial love — radiant with joy — will they not say, “Christ is great”?

    from Chapter 7, Living To Prove He Is More Precious Than Life


  8. guiroo – no, it’s not entertainment, it is joy. And it’s not fleeting. The joy found in God is eternal. If only I would turn off the TV and dive in.

    Perhaps we could all agree to a TV fast for the sake of the Word? At least one day to start with. Any takers?


  9. I think there is a risk of going overboard in the opposite direction. It’s one thing to waste one’s life on trivial pursuits, but that doesn’t mean that a little entertainment is necessarily a bad thing. God gave us a sense of humor, an affinity for music, a desire to compete athletically, etc. Further we are designed for six days of work and one day of rest.

    Where do you draw the line? Is it sin to read a good novel? Enjoy a beverage with a friend and shoot the breeze about nothing important? Spend a day on the lake fishing? Take in a symphony concert?

    I just wouldn’t want to see us advocating a new form of asceticism.


  10. Is the novel by Dan Brown? 😉

    Each person will have to draw their own line, according to their willingness to be convicted by the Spirit. It is easy to make excuses for the perceived need of mindless entertainment. Believe me I know. CMT and Whose Line is it Anyway can grab at least an hour a day if I am not careful.

    My orginal intent of this one blog was to point out how far the Christian Media “ghetto” had come with some absurb examples. To come right out and call bad media with some J-words in it “Christian Entertainment” to me is not kingdom minded.

    I am not advocating asceticism. I just want things to be labeled properly.

    It looks like the mudpies principle has come to bear again. Why do I seek to be entertained by little things when I could be joyful in knowing Christ. I chalk it up to laziness.


  11. Rock Solid. Victory 91.5 – Cumming – Atlanta.


  12. Barb and I did an electronic fast about three weeks ago for one week-all of the kids and us. We did use the computer for work and bills, but no entertainment and certainly no TV, Gameboys, etc. While I know it was a little difficult for her during the day, it proved beneficial in showing the kids that they can live without it. It all came about when some of the kids (which act as a mirror for me somethimes) had a fit when we wouldn’t allow them to watch a particular show. It was clear that the show/medium was controlling them.

    I thinks fasts are good for the soul. They show you what you don’t need and give you much time to fill up with other pursuits-whether they are truly noble (like studying God’s word) or just more noble than electronic noise (like reading a good book or talking with your spouse or kids).


  13. We got cable hooked up yesterday and a new sense of comfort seems to have fallen over the household.

    “The A/C could shut down at any moment but no worries, we got cable.”


  14. Returning to the “entertainment” idea, I found this article on Justin Taylor’s blog.

    True Entertainment

    C.S. Lewis reminds us of the hard journey of the Christian life. Like the man on horseback, we struggle along the rocky path. But then we come across an inn, and can take some rest. The inn reminds us that the journey is not the whole point, but the destination is. God has given us many inns along the way to our destination as so many reminders of His large purposes of grace. The duty of a good innkeeper is to entertain—provide a warm bed, a good meal, and some music. Entertainment need not be simply comfort and rest. It may be instructive as well. The inn should be well stocked with educational resources, like books.


  15. You have cable? Heathen!



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