Christians and the Media: Part 2 of 4 (Movies and TV) – Bible Lesson. Teen Bible Lesson.
I want to introduce each part of this series with these three ideas for parents and teachers . . .
- Listen. Find out what movies, music, and TV your teens are consuming. Position yourself first as an information gatherer, not just as a censor. Become familiar with their media choices.
- Analyze. Ask yourself, “Why do these have appeal?” “What questions do these media address that are really important to my teens?”
- Challenge. Demonstrate that the Bible discusses the very topics that their favorite songs, movies and TV programs address. Help your students compare and contrast the biblical and media views.
The Bible was written years before movies and television. But the Old Testament prophets often acted out their prophecies to communicate truth in dramatic fashion. Ezekiel helped people visualize far-away events and imagine the penalty of their sin if they did not repent. He shocked people into thinking differently.
Likewise, today’s dramatic media, in the hands of informed believers, can sharpen our vision. We must never be an uncritical viewer, since many messages presented are untrue. But it is possible for a Christian to be a discerning consumer of television and film.
Think of the images you can recall from your favorite TV shows and movies. In the following questions we’ll discover the powerful imagery God uses to teach lasting lessons.
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Dramatic media can transport us to another location.
- Read Ezekiel 4:1 – 3. Describe the scene that Ezekiel dramatized. What was this drama attempting to communicate?
- Where were Ezekiel and his audience at this time?
- (Easy exercise). Give two examples of how movies and television take you to a place you have not been before.
Dramatic media can warn us of the consequences of our actions.
- Ezekiel’s model of the stage of Jerusalem told of the event that would happen. Read Ezekiel 4:4 – 8. How do these verses explain why this event would happen?
- Prophets often acted out a message instead of simply stating the message. What actions and messages were sent by these prophets: Isaiah 20:1 – 4; Jeremiah 27:1 – 7? Why were these dramatic presentations more memorable than preaching alone?
- Films such as Blade Runner, Minority Report and The Day After Tomorrow warns us of the dangers that may await us if we do not change the way we live today. Name two more films or TV shows that help us picture the future consequences of our actions.
Dramatic media can challenge us to think in new ways.
- What did God tell Ezekiel to do in chapter 4 verses 7 – 17? What about that command was shocking to Ezekiel (verses 12 – 14)? Why?
- How was the message of this part of the drama similar to warnings made by Israel’s enemy in the past (2 Kings 18:27)? How might Ezekiel’s audience have reacted to such a shocking presentation? The people firmly believed that God would always rescue His people from such a demeaning fate. Not so this time.
- Example: Most people alive today have limited experience with the horrors of war. With scenes of shocking brutality, movies like Saving Private Ryan and Schindler’s List forced us to confront the horrific human cost of war.
Consider the list below. Think about doing all or some of the following to use visual media more wisely.
(1) Keep a journal of your TV and movie viewing habits for one week. Include titles of what you watched and the length of the time you watched it.
(2) Decide to cut your viewing time by 10% in the following weeks.
(3) Take that 10% (the time you have spent in passive viewing) to actively seek God through Bible study, prayer, reading an inspirational literature or ministry activities with other Christians.
(4) Look at your viewing list and mark three TV programs or movies that some might consider questionable. Pray every day for a week, asking God to direct your viewing choices.
(5) Consult at least one website that reviews movies from a Christian perspective before choosing to go to the theater or downloading a film / program.
(6) Use the knowledge gained from one of your chosen websites to open the door to a discussion of God with a non-Christian friend.