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Jane M. Phinney | March 16, 2020

I’ve never been much of a dedicated movie goer. In the “good old days” movies were few & far between. Living in a small, midwestern farming community, we didn’t have immediate access to outside entertainment nor was it high on our priority list. The first pictures I remember seeing were Big Red & The Sound of Music in the 60s. It was a special treat for our family. In past years when we lived in the big city, the $1 Theater was hugely popular. We were willing to wait for anything we wanted to view. Plus, the popcorn was equally discounted. Present day, there aren’t many movies that I want “wallpapering” my mind. Content deemed family-friendly doesn’t necessarily line up with Biblical values that are important to me. If I can’t leave a movie feeling good about what I saw, one that supports my worldview overall, I’m certainly not going to invest precious time & money in it. It’s a rare day that I’ll support a movie on opening weekend.

There’s a Bible passage that I’ve labeled A Bad Movie. For many years, I’ve read & reread it, keeping it at arm’s length while shaking my head. I found it difficult to comprehend that what I read would eventually become reality. But truth be told, I’ve watched a slow, steady decline over the past 20 years. Especially the last 5 (my experience), long-standing bedrocks of faith are regularly attacked & steadily chipped away. Older folks shake their heads in disbelief, bemoaning lost values that were the standard way of life in days gone by. At the same time, some of the younger generations respond to those beliefs as archaic, out-of-touch, & irrelevant. Whether you admit it or not, we’ve embraced philosophies that have irreversibly & negatively infected the culture we live in. We’re no longer watching A Bad Movie from the sidelines. We are immersed init! It happened while some of us were sleeping, oblivious & denying it ever could, or ever would,affect our daily lives. But nightmares have the tendency to jerk a body awake! Then we ask, “How did we get here?” And suddenly we are alertedto the compounded effects of unwanted change.

I think you’ll agree that no one can plead ignorance to prior knowledge of basic movie content. Everyone has access to both previews & ratings from a variety of reputable sources. Sadly, right & wrong no longer stand in clear opposition to each other in most movies. With liberal agenda skillfully & subtly woven throughout, a dominant, gray middle ground has taken front & center. “Maybe,” has replaced a definitive “yes” or “no,” right or wrong. Before our movie-viewing eyes, gray rationalizes away what little conviction we have left. And lies, well, they don’t matter much anymore. Moral diversity rules the gray so “it’s all good.” Even so, we want to believe we are in control of what our minds & emotions absorb from the screen. We think it can’t permanently change us. I mean, it’s only a movie, right? It’s just entertainment.

Well, how about considering the following scenario for a movie plot, drawn/pictured on the canvas of our minds, in 2 Timothy 3? The backdrop is Christ’s second coming. The setting is difficult days. The characters are bold, colorful & formidable, and described in verses 1-5: 1) People will be lovers of self, excessively selfish with a primary concern that things are easy & pleasant in their life. Their focus is “me.” 2) They will love money…a driving obsession that replaces their faith. 3) They will be boastful, drunk with a pride that lifts their heart against both man & God Himself. 4) They will be arrogant, preferring & elevating themselves above other people. 5) They are revilers, meaning abusive & destroying another’s good name. 6) Children will be disobedient to parents, i.e. unbelieving, hard, stubborn, not letting oneself be persuaded. 7) They will be ungrateful. 8) They will be unholy. 9) They will be unloving, meaning without family love. {This word is used only twice in the Bible. Verse 3, in this passage, & also in Rom 1:31} 10) They will be irreconcilable, absolutely refusing to lay aside personal enmity or to listen to terms of reconciliation. This person is a covenant breaker. 11) They will be malicious gossips—those who falsely accuse & divide people for no reason, a slanderer. 12) They will not have self-control. 13) They will be brutal.14) They will be haters of good, incapable of any self-denial in order to be kind & relieve suffering. 15) They will be treacherous. 16) They will be reckless. 17) They will be conceited – to raise up, be insolent. 18) They will hold to a form of godliness but deny its power. They will have an external form, an appearance or mask of pious conduct & religion. But they will reject, retract, deny & disown it as being capable. In summary, we should “avoid such men as these.”

My thoughts are these. Are not these dynamics already operating in our society?? If you are spiritually alert, you are hearing heaven’s alarms. Do you not see that A Bad Movie is #1 at the enemy’s box office? Only, the scenes aren’t merely playing out on theater screens. They are live weapons of destruction that can be viewed in marriages, homes, churches, schools & communities. People who have made a profession of faith in Jesus Christ are not above being duped by believing lies. We are not above despair, feeling like helpless & hopeless victims. However, the jumping-off point is humbling yourself before the God of your salvation & admitting to your personal slow fade. It is the initial step to stopping your ride on the slippery slope to a living death existence. His is the right hand that will pull you up, & out, of your present pit. (Ps 40) HANG ON! (More good news in part 2)

IOM America | Jane M. Phinney |


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