Tag Archive | guilt

Collective Guilt

On the sins and sexual deviancy of Hollywood, much can be said. The shock among Hollywood’s own community is feigned at best. Whispers of abuse, sexual and not, child and adult, have wafted in and around the entertainment industry since its inception. It would not surprise many that these same things go on in the music industry, in the cable news industry, in fact in any industry where more show than substance gets the eyeballs looking and cash drawers zinging.

As a Christian, I sorrow over the innocence wiped away by such degeneracy. It would indeed be fitting for the perpetrators of such acts to have millstones tied around their necks and for them to be cast into the depths of the sea. As a Christian, I also sorrow over the sinners, the ones that still have some part of their soul that wants to repent, to live better, to be forgiven. It is perhaps the most unfathomable reaches of God’s love that were a pedophile to sincerely repent, he could be forgiven by and through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. On a purely human level, my jaw drops at the very idea. Drawn and quartered is much more like it.

But for more regular sinners, there’s comfort in the possibility of criminals being forgiven. It means we can be forgiven, too. It means I can be forgiven. It means you can be forgiven.

Along with all of the other oh-so-shocked Hollywood elites, are millions upon millions of viewers, listeners, watchers and consumers who heard the whispers, too. If asked how many films in existence in some way condone, glorify, or promote deviancy on any level, one could wryly answer, “Is there a single one that doesn’t?” Sin is as prevalent in the works of man and it is in every man’s heart.

Those of us who were, are, and remain Trump supporters understand that for some reason God is using this man as a winnowing fork. President Trump is smart, rich, talented, and good looking, but a of people are that, and they’ve never done nothing like this. There might be nothing more significant under Trump’s watch than the number of pedophile rings busted around the world. That is an amazing feat in and above itself. For the first time in a long people, someone in a powerful position cares about the damage being done to innocent souls. And he’s giving others who also care the backing and ability to do something about it.

But God’s winnowing fork cuts much, much deeper. It cuts to the heart. It separates joints and marrow.

“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12 NIV)

Those whispers about Hollywood, those stories, those movies that testified to what was happening behind closed doors and in some cases out in the open, who of us viewers of Hollywood movies, of American movies and TV shows, can honestly say we didn’t know? Are you really shocked? Really? Actors are asked to disrobe often, asked to simulate sexual activity onscreen, asked to enjoy pretend killing people, asked to swear and drink and behave abominably.  Who’s asking that of them, I wonder? Monsters live among us, we all know that, but who exactly those monsters are may be a little more uncomfortable for us to consider.

Thankfully, we are living in a time when many are turning away from such entertainment, and many are looking for cleaner fare while others are giving up TV and movies altogether.  For myself, I now watch Korean dramas, and although they might be cleaner morally, they tend to be fluffy and superficial. My addiction to consuming stories in some fashion will probably never wane. As much good as I’ve learned from stories, I’ve surely learned a lot of bad things, too.

Remember back in the 80s and 90s where it was if you listened to heavy metal or played Dungeons and Dragons, you were surely going to hell? We may laugh now, we may see both things as harmless, now, but the reality is people who get obsessed with their entertainment are often making idols out of them. This doesn’t happen to every person or in every case, but it does happen. Christian or not, putting entertainment above God,  and above the welfare of your family or fellow human beings is a sin.

We may never have done anything remotely like what Harvey Weinstein has done to his actresses, but we’ve likely watched a few films of his, films that promote living life in a way that is selfish and sinful. We’ve given him and people like him our hard-earned dollars all the while trying to ignore those whispers.

I titled this post “collective guilt,” but the meaning is really guilty individuals together making up a collection. You may agree with me or not, but the truth is that what we watch and listen to affects us, some more than others. And the money given for entertainment is sometimes used to fund the worse abuses. This is a strange and unique time in history when many, many people are starting to wake up from a long slumber of mindless consumerism. For once, they are starting to consider what they watch just like they consider what foods they eat. It merely may be that there are simply more choices for our attention out there, but it’s no accident that all of these Hollywood skeletons are coming out just when the public is finally tiring of immoral gutter stories and constant insults. Penny dreadfuls are no longer satisfying and we long for soul food, for stories where we don’t try to understand the monsters, we instead defeat them.

As a watcher, I’m guilty, if very obliquely, of funding Hollywood’s deviancy and degeneracy.  I’ve watched a staggering amount of movies in my 39 years.  As a writer, I’m not much better.  I’m closer to Jo March and her The Sinner’s Corpse than I ever will be to Little Women. And yet, stories, if we have them, should be fun, shouldn’t they? And how do we portray the real joys and trials of human life without glorifying the evil? Without dragging the audience down into the gutter to dwell there and get snatched away by clown from IT? Is censorship the way to go? Every freedom-minded person would shout a resounding “NO!” to that, especially if the censorship should end up being political in nature.

I can’t offer advice from a human standpoint. Humans aren’t very good at fixing the problems of sin, but God is. Here’s His advice:

“Finally, brothers and sisters, 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) 

Put the good things first in your mind and heart. Can we ask for better advice than that? Thank God for his advice, thank God for his salvation, and thank God that he saves and forgives even us! At the end of time our hearts will be laid bare, our sins will be pranced around by the devil for all to see just like Hollywood’s sins are detailed in the tabloids.  We have one hope, and that is Jesus Christ, who lived perfectly for us because we couldn’t, and for love sacrificed himself on the cross and paid for the sins of the whole world, even the very real human monsters. Talk about radical. Sexual deviance can’t hold a candle to that kind of radical. It’s not even in the same league. Final and full forgiveness. That’s better than any Hollywood film ever made.