Wednesday, July 29, 2009
THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO TV?
Over the next few Sundays in August, I’m teaching a series called, “THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO TV - a biblical teaching series for a generation of screenagers.”
As I prepared for this series, I asked my friends on Facebook to tell me what they think are the BEST and WORST current television shows. (Of course, I would choose Andy Griffith for the best show, and although it’s technically still on TV land, it’s really not what I’d consider a current TV show. So thanks to all of you who said Andy Griffith and I Love Lucy!)
I received almost 100 responses, and I tabulated them below for my unofficial DOD TV SURVEY. See if you agree with the results:
(receiving honorable mentions were The Amazing Race, 24, and the Office)
KEEPING UP WITH THE KARDASHIANS
(receiving dishonorable mentions were Desperate Housewives, Nip and Tuck and Nancy Grace).
I haven’t seen any of the best, but one friend said that the show “Lost” is a parable of the Christian life, so I might check it out. Some of my personal favorites are Grey’s Anatomy (don't freak out...just hear this Sunday’s message); and The Deadliest Catch (the only show I DVR). Of course, during college football season I’m watching anytime OU or Auburn is playing.
This is a great place to address the question, “Pastor, should a Christian even watch a show like Grey’s Anatomy?” Well, I'm a Christian and I watch it. There are some Christians who sincerely believe that they shouldn’t watch any secular television, movies, or listen to secular music. I don’t have an argument with them because if watching this kind of television show causes them to stumble or sin, then they should definitely cut it off. Over the next few months as I teach through Matthew I'm going to address Jesus' words where He said that if your right hand causes you to sin, then cut it off. He wasn’t speaking literally, but if watching a certain show causes you to sin, I mean it literally - cut it off.
Some people remind me of the man who complained about all the sex and violence on his DVR! In Romans 14 Paul used the example of eating meat sacrificed to idols as an illustration of "disputable matters" that Christians shouldn't argue over. If watching a television show tempts you beyond your ability to resist, by all means, DON'T watch it. But if you can watch a show like Grey's Anatomy and understand that it reflects our corrupt culture, then maybe the misery of these fictional characters can give you some insight into the lives of real people who desperately need the HOPE that can only be found in Jesus.
"The Gospel According to TV" is an example of a "topical message series." This kind of topical series is outside my comfort zone. My typical Sunday morning style is to take a book of the Bible and teach through it verse by verse. I’m currently teaching through the “Parables and Miracles” in Matthew’s gospel. This is my favorite kind of Bible teaching because I believe God’s Word was written to be read and studied, verse by verse, line upon line, precept upon precept. This kind of expository Bible teaching builds strong Christians and strong churches.
Some of the younger pastors who are starting contemporary churches usually avoid long biblical series like the plague. They prefer short, topic-driven series that utilize current themes. I’m not criticizing them, and I say, “go for it if you’re reaching people for Christ!” But some of these young leaders have been told they can’t grow churches these days with expository, verse by verse preaching. Over the past 18 years, I’ve taught through most of the books in the New Testament and quite a few Old Testament books as well. And God has blessed our church with healthy growth!
So even though my favorite style is verse by verse, I enjoy taking a break every now and then during these lengthy series to provide a little variety. Over the past few years, I’ve taken August to present a different kind of series. I’ve done “The Gospel According to Country Music;” “No, that’s NOT in the Bible;” and “The Gospel According to GSPN.” Last August, during the Beijing Olympics, I taught a series called, “Go for the Gold – How to become a Champion for God.” These series are available online here.
So, I’m looking forward to this current series, “The Gospel According to TV.” My message titles are: “Grace Anatomy;” “American Idols;” “And Now a Word from our Sponsor;” “Desperate Households” and “Sunday Morning Live.”
It should be fun. These messages are going to be a little about TV and a lot about Jesus!
Want to still weigh in on what you think are the BEST and WORST shows on television? You can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org