Engaging Culture

Passing the Who Cares Test

Do Christians spend too much time making a big deal out of things that don’t matter to the greater culture?  If it’s solving issues like human trafficking, global poverty, or abortion, that’s one thing. But I wonder about the effectiveness of raising vast amounts of money for legal issues like the right to pray before a high school football game.

Sure it’s nice, but are we wasting our ammo on something few people really care about?   I thought of that with the recent FCC broadcast obscenity case.  There’s no question that media has become far more coarse and crude in recent years, and trying to find programs that an entire family can watch is like searching for a needle in a haystack.

But when the obscenity rules came into being, we only had one TV platform – over the air broadcast.  And that’s where those rules apply.  But today, most people are watching cable, satellite, or Internet, and frankly, they don’t even care about where their entertainment comes from.  While researching my new book, I came across an interesting quote by Tom Rogers, the President of TiVo:

“My kids don’t know the difference between cable and broadcast.  Broadband delivery is just another way of delivering it to the home.  TiVo’s view is [to] make it totally irrelevant to the consumer whether they’re using that remote to get a broadcast channel, a cable channel, or broadband content.”

My point is that we’re still hammering on the obscenity rules with broadcast TV, but cable isn’t under that regulation.  So all I have to do is change the channel one number, and there it is.

Outside of the family period, do the obscenity rules still matter anymore?  Shouldn’t there be a rule that governs all channels?  Does anyone care?  I think it’s another example of legislation – and well intentioned Christian concern – being out of touch with the changing media universe.

What other areas do you feel we spend too much time and raise money for that doesn’t pass the “who cares” test?

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5 Comments

  1. How about protesting a film, yet not lobbying against the "Not Rated" versions of raunchy films. All a kid has to hear at their friends house is, "Oh, it's not rated R." and they think "Good, it's OK with my parents if I watch it."

    Did anyone catch the TBS Christmas special hosted by Carmen? WooHoo! something that would grab a big "Who Cares". It was something that was laughably embarassing. Once again, TONS of money, but no idea of what they could actually do with it! Could somebody please help them??

  2. I don't know if I agree that the small issues aren't worth fighting for. Two thoughts:

    1- Other world religions are fighting for them. The Islamic community on the west coast is pressuring schools to allow their kids to perform daily prayers at the appropriate times, for example. If Christians stop fighting for our rights, and we let individuals of other faiths (or no faiths) continue their battles we lose.

     

    2- Most of the "big things" start with the small things. Roe vs. Wade didn't suddenly throw open the doors to legalized abortion in this country. It started years earlier with Supreme Court rulings about "privacy" that evenatually led a whole generation to consider a woman's body, but not a child's. Once that was established, legalizing abortion was no problem.

    It may seem silly to the world, but if we make concessions on the "small" things, where does it end?

  3. I agree with you Lex, particularly on thought #2. The homosexual organizations have made a conscious effort to take it one small step at a time influencing their family, neighbors, city, state, this nation and now even the world.       

  4. Evangelicals still seem not to have made peace with their presence and role in our greater society.

    The culture went underground following the Scopes trial and it wasn't until the 1970s that it began to tentatively emerge with the Moral Majority and adopting leaders such as Falwell, Robertson and Dobson to exert influence politically through an alignment with the Republican Party.

    We're now a generation past that.  Second generation leaders haven't strongly arisen and also, I believe, many former supporters are now questioninig their alignment in view of the political returns they are seeing for that strong faith.

    Personally, I don't discount the responsibility of Christians to impact their culture politically, but that agenda will always be secondary to actually changing the culture by people being reached one by one for Christ.  Politics is a poor substitute for that and sadly, when it's elevated above the Great Commission, it becomes more about power than servant leadership.

    Political impact is a personal responsibility of individual Christians.  Cultural impact is a corporate responsibility through the Church.  I think we've confused those things.

  5. Evangelicals still seem not to have made peace with their presence and role in our greater society.The culture went underground following the Scopes trial and it wasn&#39t until the 1970s that it began to tentatively emerge with the Moral Majority and adopting leaders such as Falwell, Robertson and Dobson to exert influence politically through an alignment with the Republican Party.We&#39re now a generation past that.  Second generation leaders haven&#39t strongly arisen and also, I believe, many former supporters are now questioninig their alignment in view of the political returns they are seeing for that strong faith.Personally, I don&#39t discount the responsibility of Christians to impact their culture politically, but that agenda will always be secondary to actually changing the culture by people being reached one by one for Christ.  Politics is a poor substitute for that and sadly, when it&#39s elevated above the Great Commission, it becomes more about power than servant leadership.Political impact is a personal responsibility of individual Christians.  Cultural impact is a corporate responsibility through the Church.  I think we&#39ve confused those things.

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