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Winter is Coming…well actually Spring can’t come soon enough, at least not for those of us who are ardent supporters of HBO’s Game of Thrones. Then of course there are the 43 days left until the Season 4 premier of ABC’s Scandal; and the time I have to serve waiting for the new season of Netflix’s House of Cards (was I the only one who binge-watched the entire 13 hour season in one setting?). Well, we can’t forget the long awaited return of TNT’s Franklin & Bash, due to air this month. Right now I’m just grateful that True Blood has resumed to tell us what happened to Eric, or update us on this new breed of H-Vac Vamps. Clearly at this point you are realizing that watching television is not only a method of relaxation for me, but also bordering on obsession...I don’t have a favorite show, I have many at the same time, per season. I lead a busy life, so I DVR what I can’t watch instantly and play catch-up as soon as I can. My watching schedule is already booked into next year (HBO made this possible). This enthusiasm is not confined to tv shows, but expands to movies, plays, and Broadway shows. As a writer, I am always fascinated in the ability of producers and actors to bring life to a great storyline. As a human, I guess I just love good entertainment.
I know some Christians would be appalled at the content of a few of the shows that I just mentioned above. I readily realize that they don’t all reflect the Philippians 4:8 principle of being pure, lovely, just, and virtuous (KJV). However what I appreciate about most of these shows is the way they reflect an aspect of life, or at least one’s perspective on it. Should the violence, scandalous depictions, or profane language bother me? Maybe it should. Yet at the same time I must admit that I love every aspect of the Bible that I read. I’m blessed by the fact that it is the inspired Word of God, by which I must pattern my life. I’m equally blessed that it is also one of the most scandalous writings out there. The Bible depicts life as it was, not as we wanted it to be, and then gives a redemptive ending to those who will submit to Christ. Frown as we might at President Fitz and Olivia Pope’s affair, but David and Bathsheba beat them to the punch (can I get a witness? lol). Peter’s words weren’t “oh heavens no” when he denied Christ, they were choice Aramaic words that would probably get most kids that good ole corporal punishment. Filmmakers and movie producers have a unique ability to broadcast their view on life and their authentic experiences, and that is not always a bad thing.
While I am a fan of Shonda Rhimes, Denzel Washington, Al Pacino, and Quentin Tarantino, something is still missing. There is an expression that can only come from Kingdom minded filmmakers, actors, and producers; and currently this view isn’t being widely reflected in arts & entertainment. Christians were disappointed at the recent depiction of the story of Noah, but has the broad church really supported the cultivation of Kingdom voices in this realm? Making matters worse, when we do occasionally wander into this “unknown terrain”, more often than not, our productions are outdated and cheesy, with so much sugar coating that it is laughable. Let’s not forget those who have the skills and influence, but have lost their true message somewhere in their journey. I am not advocating for pornography, senseless violence, or the compromising of our Kingdom values. However, like Daniel was to the Babylonian government, there are Kingdom citizens who have influence in the realm of arts & entertainment. For too long, the church has ceded too much power to the secular viewpoint by our silence. This is not to say that the secular viewpoint is always the wrong one, but it is certainly not the only perspective around. We would rather handle media like a dirty rag instead of taking full authority and ownership. Yet there are some of you who are called full-time as stewards over the Kingdom’s voice in this realm. You have a platform and a Kingdom message to share, and it may not always be a comfortable and neatly packaged depiction for the Christian. I don’t profess to have the parameters of “how far is too far?”, or “what is or isn’t acceptable in a storyline”. What I do know though is that these questions were meant to be wrestled with, and your voice is needed today as a part of Kingdom. That is why we built this blogosphere (Daniel’s Lab), for you to receive encouragement and the space to wrestle with the nuances of your unique calling. There are others like you who will be on this blog hashing out the odds and ends of being a minister with tools in the performing arts.
When Moses encounters God and begins to wrestle with his calling, he doubts that the people he was sent to deliver would accept the authenticity of his assignment. God answers his hesitance by asking the exile, “what’s in your hand?” (Exodus 4:2 KJV). For Moses it was a rod, but it is slightly different for you. You look down and you see a camera, a script, costumes, or an ability to embody any character profile you are given. These things are your tools for ministry, and the realm of Arts & Entertainment is your pulpit. What you do matters to Kingdom, and ultimately it matters to God. As great as she is, Shonda Rhimes can only depict life from a limited scope. You have a voice that is supposed to show life from a Kingdom perspective. This includes the happiness, heartache, disappointments, afflictions, shameful mistakes, and ultimate victory that embody the reality of all believers. The only advice I can give you, is to be sure that you are genuinely seeking God daily for how to utilize the tools that He gave you. Don’t put together your own product and expect Him to back it, but rather ask Him how to walk out your calling. His answer may be unconventional, and may even stir the hornets nest of religious folk…but if you can genuinely say you got your mandate from Him, then trust that He will validate you. He alone holds the detail-specific instructions that you need to successfully claim your purpose in this mountain. YOU WILL NOT GET THE TRUE ANSWERS APART FROM HIS PRESENCE. So think of this post as a casting call. We are looking for those who are ready to take the uncomfortable but necessary journey towards destiny; and your pathway is the realm of arts & entertainment. Earnestly seek God for the answers, but use this blog space as a support system for continued growth. Will you respond to the call, or will you reject your destiny?