March 2, 2009
And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Romans 1:28-31
I don't get to go to the movies very much.
Maybe that's why I made it a point to try and watch the 2009 Academy Awards. What amazed me was this: I hadn't heard of most of the movies nominated for "Best Motion Picture of the Year."
Out of curiosity, I looked up the plots on the films nominated. Finding out what I did, most didn't make it onto my "do-not-miss" list. That's because most of these films deal with topics and themes that neither interest nor intrigue me. When I spoke with friends about these films, most said, "Hollywood makes those movies because they make money."
When you adjust for inflation, the top-ten money-making movies in history are: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, The Exorcist, Doctor Zhivago, Jaws, Titanic, The Ten Commandments, E.T., The Sound of Music, Star Wars, and number one -- Gone With the Wind.
Looking at that list you will find some common themes: most of those films show good winning over evil; most show ordinary people doing extraordinary things, and most deal with individuals who are willing to sacrifice themselves for the good or benefit of others.
While I'm not saying uplifting themes are altogether missing in modern cinema, I do believe many studios desire to titillate rather than educate and most actors long to play parts that shock rather than encourage. The end result is Hollywood, by appealing to our dark and sinful human natures, has recreated the bloody and perverted spectacles of the ancient Roman games. The only difference is this: today's fake gore substitutes for the real thing.
As our text shows, God has warned us what dark things can come from debased minds that don't acknowledge Him.
At the same time, He warned those of us who have been redeemed to live differently. Jesus entered this world to sacrifice Himself so that, by God's grace, we might be turned from what we once were and become those who imitate Him. This is why, this devotion encourages us to reflect God's grace by what we do, what we say, and what we watch.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, send Your Holy Spirit so all we do may show You have saved us and turned us from darkness to light. In Your Name. Amen.
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Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries