Becoming the Entertainment Rebel

Becoming the Entertainment Rebel

#Thrive Thursday is here again, and this week’s subject is all about being a rebel around the idea of entertainment! For most people I talk to, the idea that entertainment is a testbed and breeding ground for agenda-driven ways of thinking and perceiving the world around us, is preposterous at best, and downright silly at worst. Unfortunately, my own lifetime to this point has carried many proofs that bear this out, some shockingly so.

When I was a child in the ’70’s, the movie series Star Wars kicked off to an instantly-created fan crowd! All my classmates were coming to school that October in costumes making them look like a favourite character from that first movie. A few years later the second movie would come out and what should we see, but training in how “the force” works and how to make it do one’s bidding. This weirded me out. The third movie would come out and we see the redemption of Annakin Skywalker, and the force ghosts of others who had gone before.

As an adult, I would warn my kids about the spiritual overtones of this series as I watched the ever-increasing acceptance of Eastern Mysticism grab hold of North American life. The second move in this original Star Wars series did a lot to make that look “normal” in a fictitious way. The concept of levitation shows up in that film and is a practice taught by both Hinduism and Buddhism and by extension, New Age practitioners today. I’ve read testimonies of teenagers experimenting with these concepts and getting all giddy when they made a pencil hover in the air. This is real stuff folks. Entertainment made it look fun and useful.

Star Trek had episodes delving into subjects of euthanasia a few times, with one planet in an episode having a ritual where anyone of a certain age would be celebrated and then offed in a manner similar to some of the ancient philosophers. In the end, the planet’s ways continued and a scientist’s very-much-needed efforts to save the longevity of that planet, ended. Years later, we have countries enacting euthanasia laws, and the populace want that extended to those who simply don’t want to live anymore. Here in Canada, we call that Assisted Suicide and it is bothering a great many of us!

Horror movies that came out in the ’80’s glorifying satanic treatment of children were all the rage for awhile, but now we are seeing these extremely similar behaviours “coming out of the closet” onto the world stage via high profile celebrities and most recently, as of this year 2020, being used to promote fashion statements on catwalks and Microsoft’s new vision of virtual reality/augmented reality headsets. The imagery is both shocking and disgusting, all the while a huge child porn/human trafficking ring continues it’s unraveling this self-same year. This is all going on as pedophiles try to lower the age of consent, as toy companies try to release toys that groom children for sexual exploitation, etc.

booksAs a self-published author, I joined a large number of book promotion groups on Facebook for awhile and began to get a growing sense of shock and bother as I saw what others were writing. Remember, creative people tend to put out what will sell, so the more of something you see around you, the more you can bet there are people out there buying it. I was seeing books for BDSM, a very damaging/destructive alternative lifestyle that to varying degrees, plays into the human trafficking/twisted consent arena.

I have seen books aimed at tweenagers, youth and young adults that write about paranormal romance. God’s Word talks about paranormal romance in the Torah, and this refers to demons having sex with humans. Sometimes this results in what Scripture calls Nephalim, half-demon half human beings. No doubt in history, this gave rise to the giants Scripture talks about, as well as the demi-gods of the ancient world and the stories built around them. The idea of making such sexual relations normal should be a warning bell, but unfortunately, for many it is just another plot type in fiction.

musicMusic since the ’90’s has been getting ever-increasingly problematic. Rappers for two decades now have been singing about killing police officers, knocking off anyone you don’t agree with, rioting in the streets, etc. Look around you now.

We have two to three entire generations now raised on the Television set, watching ads telling them they deserve this, they deserve that, they owe it to themselves to buy this and subscribe to that. We have TV shows like the Simpsons who are supposedly a reflection of society, but from where I sit, rather than reflecting, they have normalized bratty behaviour. Look around you. Scripture warned us that the day would come when people would behave as we see them doing across North America and in other places of the modern world.

Entertainment has proven itself in my own lifetime, to be the place where ideas are tested, where shocking becomes acceptable, and from there can be lived out in the world around us and taught in schools, legislated in government, and hotly defended to the point where those who want a return to decency are the ones charged and slammed in jail for speaking out against the sinful behaviour of the moment.

As a parent, you are facing this onslaught against you and your kids from seemingly all sides.

  • Public School Agendas
  • TV ads and TV shows
    Secular radio
  • Music playing in shopping centers and blaring from cars going by.
  • Videos and movies available at the theatre, youtube, netflix and other online sources
  • News reports in written or video format.
  • Comic books, novels, audio books
  • Magazine advertisements and articles.
  • Social media trends and topics.

Fictional content is not the sterilized place to play that people keep saying it is. Music is not innocent. Games are not innocent and advertising companies know this so well they pay for product placement inside these games even as the gaming companies vow in court that they don’t have the power to sway young minds to commit the crimes they have in real life. If advertising companies know the power of fictional placement to get you to buy their goods, then the defense of these companies in court is bold-faced lying, but somehow, the courts do not charge them with false testimony as they should.

With so many avenues to poison you and your child’s heart and mind, how do you combat this?

Personal Devotional TimeFirst and foremost, you make diving into God’s Word a daily habitual priority. Bring the Bible out at mealtimes and no one leaves the table till a passage has been read and discussed. When your children are very young, bedtime Bible stories from the Illustrated Children’s Bible are a great way to instill God’s morals and ethics rather than the world’s. As the kids learn to read, begin the daily habit for a few years of reading a chapter a day in the book of Proverbs. Don’t worry if some chapters or verses seem above them at the age they are at. Instead, use those passages to talk about how what is happening around them is wrong and hurtful. Passages about doing business might inspire young minds to become entrepreneurial as you explain what Solomon was talking about. Believe it or not, young minds are far more capable of understanding such “adult-level” ideas than most people give them credit for. Continue this monthly habit into their tweenage years minimum as a family. As they get into reading, encourage them to have their own bedtime devotional time. There are various children’s devotionals out there you can use. Scripture Union was my favourite as a child for many years and last I checked I think they are still in existence.

The younger you can begin instilling God’s ways, God’s morals and God’s ethics, as well as God’s world view, the easier it will be to act on everything else I suggest next. If you are pregnant, start reading the Bible to your unborn child! Start playing Christian Godly, theologically-correct music to your unborn child! Actively discuss God’s worldview versus the world’s while your child is still in the womb. Make it a normal thing for them as they grow and then are born and begin life outside the womb, to be hearing and processing God’s ways.

Secondly, as the parent, you have a say as to the kinds of entertainment you will and won’t allow in your home. Be sure to explain why certain shows, songs, books, games, movies, etc, are not healthy for them, what the bad influences are, what Scripture says about bad influences and the results of the behaviours taught in those pieces of fiction their friends think are so much fun. Bring in Godly forms of entertainment that while they may or may not be Christian-produced or always “God-fearing”, still steer clear of harmful influences and teach healthier influences instead. Focus on the Family has many types of entertainment suggestions that they recommend for young, growing, and older families. Pluggedin.com is their media assessment/review division and is a great way to get a feel for what is coming out and whether you as the parent feel it will help or hurt your children and how they see the world around them.

Third, when you are out travelling around town, put on Godly music in the car and don’t listen to secular radio where you are able to change the channel to a godly station. If you pay for Sirius, choose stations that play Christian music. When the kids start talking about a secular song playing over the mall speakers, pay attention to the lyrics and explain to them what is good or bad about the song or singer in question. We have music and movie stars claiming to want to empower young girls, but their lifestyle examples and content of what they sing or act about is very damaging to those same girls.

media consumptionFourth, turn off the news stations in your home that actively push agendas that are against God’s worldview. Unfortunately, this is most of them. What you will be left with are news stations you will find yourself dismayed at less, but still bothered by. When your kids reach high school, if you haven’t yet been discussing world events from God’s point of view, now is the time to start doing that in ernest because if you don’t, they will be easily molded into the current agenda’s way of viewing the world and it will create unnecessary tension in your home.

Fifth, cancel your cable TV subscription, cancel Netflix, and start reading your news rather than watching it. Install ad-blocking browsers on your devices around your home to reduce the amount of advertising spewing unhealthy messages at you and your kids. This will mean some sites don’t work very well, being blocked from other sites entirely, but honestly, whatever you were after on those sites you can no doubt find somewhere else. No loss. Get creative and search for a different outlet.

Sixth, cancel magazine subscriptions and start reading their content online. You’ll reduce the size of the problematic ads on your screen from the half and full-page intrusions they are on the printed page. If you put the previous step into practice, you won’t see any of those ads and can read your desired content in peace.

Seventh, discuss with your kids at the bookstore, the library, and anywhere else books, comics and magazines can be found, why certain types of fiction do not please God and why certain authors/creators should be avoided, what messages are being given, etc. Many times as the parent, you don’t even need to have ingested that content prior, just picking up a book to read the back cover blurb, the table of contents, and the imagery present in the cover art is enough to put the book back on the shelf and say no to the kids. Otherwise, by all means be reading what they are reading! This will help you discuss why you initially allowed a book and now you don’t. My daughter brought home a series written about bats one time in middle school. I was reading it with her and at first, the series was fine, but then it began taking a bothersome turn and I started discussing it with her. When she tried to open the third book in the series, the premise made her shut it and never read the entire series again without me talking about it any further. She came to me with her misgivings and I agreed with them. Another much larger series about cats was fine for a good many books, until a version of the series came out that was deeply and bothersomely spiritual! As much as both my kids had enjoyed the series to that point, when this group of books came out, they both put them down and never picked them up again.

Because of discussions around entertainment at home, my kids were given the tools they’d need to say no at school whenever assemblies or teachers tried to bring things into class or school meetings that they knew God would not agree with. Several times my kids told me about getting permission to sit out the assembly in the library, or read a different book.

Your influence as the parent will go with your children into these situations that are otherwise very nearly out of your control. But that is where another major attack and defend vector comes in for you as the parent.

praying momPrayer and Spiritual Warfare! You are to cover your children in prayer everywhere they go, in everything they do and with everyone they hang out with. You are not merely “the parent”, but “the provider”, “the protector”, and “the teacher”. I’ve shared above ways you can educate and provide the tools and thought patterns your kids require. But as the protector, you must pray protection over them every time they leave the house. Pray them to school, pray over them at school, pray them home. This is of particular importance if your children attend public school and are old enough to walk themselves to and from. The world we knew 40 years ago is not the world we live in now. The world my kids knew 15 years ago isn’t the world they recognize now as young adults. Things are changing and the rate of change is picking up pace exponentially. Prayer is your biggest protective weapon over your children when they are out of your range of daily influence.

As a single parent, once again I am going to tell you to make God an integral part of your home. Seriously! Ask Him to be your children’s unseen heavenly Dad and to remind them of what you are teaching them in your home. Ask Him to help you see Him as your Unseen Husband and to help you discern when He is telling you about stuff they are doing that you may think at first “oh come on, they wouldn’t do that!” Because they may very well be and there’s no one better to alert you than the Holy Spirit Himself.

Ask God for warring angels to accompany your kids to and from school, in class, at the friends’ place, at that extra-curricular activity, etc.

Ask God for wisdom, insight, foresight, and discernment to know when you can say yes to sleep-overs and when to say no. When to allow certain kids into your home and when to say no. When to let your kids go visit and when to say no. Ask God for this quartet of requests to better discern what is being taught at school, in entertainment, and through the media in general.

If prayer is awkward for you, if the idea of being the protective spiritual warrior over your home is foreign or scary, you NEED to take part in two upcoming challenges in the month of October, one on prayer and the other on spiritual warfare. If you are reading this months or years from now and find these concepts awkward, reach out to me for assistance, teaching and support in this area. You have the biggest influence over your children’s lives and as a fellow believer in Christ, let me urge you to use that influence wisely. Proverbs encourages you to train up your child in the way they should go, because when they are grown, they will not depart from it.

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