Wednesday, November 5, 2014

A former Evangelical's perspective on the "Hell-o-vision"

I've recently started an online class through Holy Apostles Seminary, as part the Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) program.  It does not count for a grade, but it has been an intellectual exercise to keep my mommy brain alive and kicking, and a way to meet other (highly intelligent), passionate Catholics.  Oh, and the best part is that it is FREE.  So because I have so much free time being a SAHM (that was sarcasm), I decided to do it.  The course explore's the Vatican's take on media, and more specifically social media.  Here are some thoughts I've pondered in doing my reading and writing my discussion responses on the discussion board:

I was raised in a very conservative, right-wing Evangelical church (I converted to Catholicism in 2010) and any reference to “media” was predominantly negative.  “The liberal media” was a frequent moniker.  Unfortunately, these opinions on mainstream media demonstrate an incomplete perspective because 1) the name branding is primarily based on American political “culture wars”, and 2) they highlight only the dangers of mass media.  Conversely, what I understand from Pope Paul VI's Inter Mirifica is that there is potential for good in the use of social communication, whether it be television, movies, or radio.  Information can be used so that “all can contribute more effectively to the common good and more readily promote and advance the welfare of the entire civil society.” Even the portrayal of a moral evil, if done with moral restraint, can be used to serve a greater understanding of humanity and goodness.  One movie that comes to my mind is the recent rendition of Les Miserables with Hugh Jackman.  There are some troubling images of poverty, hopelessness, and even violence, but the themes that override the scenes of misery are redemption, selflessness, courage, and above all, the resiliency of the human spirit.

Viewers (or listeners) have the responsibility of choosing a media source that upholds their spiritual well-being.  In other words, one must be discerning of where there information is from, and that they are filling their minds with that which is noble and good.  That does not mean one has to throw out the television or refuse to turn on the radio for fear of hearing inappropriate language, for example.  Nevertheless, with the freedom to choose a certain media comes the responsibility to discern its spiritual worth. 

Freedom in Christ does not mean a list of "thou shalt not"'s, in a legalistic checklist.  And it doesn't mean the freedom to do whatever in the name of love.  It is about self-restraint and choice, choosing what God wants for us, which ultimately will give us the greatest freedom from the burden of sin.

Do what God commands, not out of guilt or out of force, but simply out of love for Him.  The Truth will set you free.

Thanks for reading.

No comments:

Post a Comment