In the Silence of the Mind: September 19th, 2013
Purity in the Media: Part 2.
In part one of In The Silence of the Mind: Purity in the Media I recounted a pivotal moment in my life where my preferred media choices and my devotion to Christ came to a head. Let’s continue our journey together by starting with a great quote from an amazing author.
“Christians aren’t really so different from non-Christians, certainly not on the scale you would expect considering the promises of love, joy, and peace boldly pronounced from thousands of pulpits across the land. We spend our money on the same kinds of entertainment, we buy the same kinds of foods and clothes, and we spend as much time searching for purpose.”
– Ted Dekker, The Slumber of Christianity, p 9
In the fourth chapter of Philippians we find Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ, giving us a clear cut message: “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy- think about such things.” (Philippians 4: 8, NIV, emphasis mine)
Remember Pert shampoo? It was the first of its kind to combine shampoo and conditioner together to protect your hair. My dear friend and ex youth Pastor Joe Ganahl calls this verse the PERT PLAN. If you rearrange the first letters in the verse above this is what you get. Pure Excellent Right True Praiseworthy Lovely Admirable Noble. PERT PLAN. It is an easy way to remember this verse in Philippians, which is God’s command to us as to what we are supposed to think about. In fact, some translations use the more accurate phrase “dwell on these things” to show the true impact Paul was reaching for. So the next time you’re trying to remember this verse, just think of the shampoo. And just in the same way that shampoo protects your head, the PERT PLAN protects your mind, spirit, and soul.
Despite what some believers will tell you, nothing is wrong with the back beats in music. Nothing is wrong with heavy and guttural screaming. There is, however, a problem with much of the music out there today. For example, imagine that you are now a parent. It’s a few years from now and you have your very impressionable young eight-year-old daughter with you and you are both watching T.V. Can you honestly tell me that you are going to be happy when your daughter starts running around and imitating the things that she sees in music videos? Are you going to happy when your little girl starts bumpin’ and grindin’ (and “Twerking,” ugh) like they do on MTV or BET? Can you honestly tell me that you would love to have your little precious angel running around telling her little “boyfriends” that tonight she is going to be their “Naughty Girl“? Are you going to well up with pride in your heart when your little baby girl starts tellin’ all the boys that are just starting puberty that, “It’s getting hot in here…”?
To say that today’s music is morally bankrupt would be a few decades behind the times. Today’s music is down and dirty, it’s sexual, it’s violent, it’s vulgar and deeply pornographic. You may be tempted to think that because you’re (much?) older than an eight year old, that the content of the music really doesn’t make as much of a difference. After all, you’ve done a lot more living… you’re mature… you don’t listen to the lyrics… and, you can’t possibly be deeply effected by what you hear or see. Can this be true?
But, hey, all we’re doing right now is taking this to my own personal convictions. That isn’t right. We need to see what God says about the issue; and from Philippians 4:8 we can see just what God has to say. “Whatever is Pure.” “Whatever is excellent.” “Whatever is right.” “Whatever is true.” “If anything is praiseworthy.” “Whatever is lovely” “If anything is admirable.” “Whatever is noble.” Let your mind dwell on these things. This is the PERT PLAN.
Do you think that much of the music today would pass the test if these qualifications were the guidelines? Sure, most of us would be quick to say that the music that we listen to is excellent. If it weren’t then why would we be listening to it in the first place? But can you say that what you are listening to is noble? What about true? That one throws out a handful of albums right there. Can you say that your music is admirable? Maybe it was skillfully done; does that argument hold any water? But can you say that it is Pure?
That one gets rid of a whole bunch of music right there. I would say that the amount of music that exists that is pure are few and far between. A great void exists in music for songs that are skillfully done, full of artistry and absolutely safe to listen to. Thankfully, faith-filled music has become more engaging, skillful, and available in the last couple decades. Notice I didn’t say “Christian music.” This is a thought for another post, but it is the content, not the label placed on it, that makes a song/album/band distinctly “Christian.” I’ve seen some very banal secular songs on albums that bear a “Christian” label.
What are we really putting into our minds when we listen, with one earbud in all day, to whatever we want to listen to without any other qualifying filters? Why would God ask us to use these (PERT PLAN) filters in the first place? Now, I want you to know that I have avoided name calling on purpose. First, I think that God should be the one that convicts you of what you’re consuming. If you’ve read this section and have been thinking, “You know, I bet he is talking about (insert artist, song, album name here)” then it may be that God is laying conviction on your heart and there may be some music that you need to reconsider taking before the throne of God who dwells in you; just as I did on that cold wintry day in Wyoming.
The reason this is so important is that we become what we consume. This is true no matter what age, race, color, or creed you happen to be. It’s not something you grow out of. You’ve probably heard the age-old colloquialism that “you are what you eat.” Truth is much more complex than a simple aphorism, however. You’re not just what you eat… you become what you consume. “You are what you eat” may not be untrue, but it is painfully short of the full truth.
You are what you think.
You are what you read.
You are what you listen to.
You are what you imitate.
You are what you watch.
You are what you choose.
You are what you agree with.
You are what you believe.
You are what you say.
You are what you decide to be.
You are created in the image of the Everlasting God and King, Creator of the universe, to do good works, which God has prepared you in advance to do.
Everything you do, see, hear, agree with, listen to, decide, choose, imitate, read, watch, believe, and dwell on, creates who you are and what you become. Our choices literally become a path. Simple choices become a grouping of simple choices, which become and shape our very destiny. Remember, the pure in heart will see God (Matthew 5:8). Being pure in heart is not simply about “not having non-marital sex.” That is great and it is definitely a part of purity, but purity is a mind set. It runs through our very being to who we are deep down inside. When it really comes down to it, when we choose what we put into our cerebral cortex by way of our ear canals, we’re making a decision as to who (even in the most subtle way) we want to become. We’re setting our feet to a path. More importantly than that, however, we’re deciding who we’re going to love.
And that’s where we’ll pick up in part three of In the Silence of the Mind: Purity in the Media. Has anything here sparked a thought or two? Leave a comment, share on your preferred social media platform.