I see that social media and television is blowing up over the brouhaha that Hallmark created with their advertisement showing two women marrying each other. First it was there, then it wasn’t due to an outcry from “millions of mothers” (not my quote, by the way). Then the LGBTQ community raised its outcry, prompting Hallmark to issue an apology and some boilerplate about diversity and inclusiveness.
I first became aware of this when it showed up on my wife’s Messenger this morning, then I saw it on the 12 o’clock news, and then a posting on my Facebook news feed which quickly disappeared. A disagreement was brewing in the comments before I couldn’t find it anymore. I should have let this go and given it time and thought. But it seems to be a recurring theme with Hallmark just being the latest chapter. I’ve thought about it and continue to do so because I’m far from having THE definitive answer on it. However, I feel strongly enough about this to share my thoughts to this point.
As Christians, we have certain beliefs and expectations. Most of us believe that the Bible is God’s complete and inerrant word of which his son Jesus Christ is the embodiment. We believe that God has shown us us who he is and his plan and expectation for the human race in his word. We understand that how we choose to live and believe must conform to his word if we have any expectation to spend eternity in his presence. That is what I believe, and I am wholly unapologetic about it.
Where we begin to run into problems is when we expect the world to behave in the same manner. We sort our media into “good” and “bad”, and expect that the good will always be so. We’re shocked when worldly ideas begin to creep in and eventually take over. Our response is to boycott and express a lot of noise and indignation in an attempt to reverse the trend and put it back to what it “used to be”. We bemoan the fact the world is growing worse and worse, and there seems to be very little we can do to reverse the trend.
I like Hallmark movies, even though they wear thin after a while (I’m beginning to think there’s more than a little truth to the joke that’s going around- “what has 15 actors, four settings, two writers, and one plot? 632 Hallmark movies). But however “family friendly” their channels have been, the harsh truth is they are a company in the business of selling stuff and making money. And that means they will always be looking to expand their market to those who have money to buy their stuff. In order to do that, their advertising has to appeal to those individuals, no matter who they are or how they live. Am I disappointed? Yes. But surprised-no.
As Christians, we need to come to terms with the reality of the world. And we have no excuses because Jesus told us exactly what the world is. The Old Testament has multitudes of examples, and Paul expands Christ’s teaching in his epistles, as does Peter, John, and others. We’ve known about the world for a long time. The world hates us and hates what we believe. The world thinks it knows better and makes its own rules. It perverts and compromises God’s word if it gives it any credence at all. Many who call themselves believers but whose lives reflect something different will take the Bible, keep the verses that support how they choose to live, and throw out or excuse away the rest. What passes for modern day Christianity is in many cases a do it yourself religion with a God whom first century Christians wouldn’t recognize.
And why is that? Because Christians spend more time and energy on bemoaning our ‘entertainment’ than on equipping ourselves with scripture. We generate more heat over the corruption of ‘our’ shows and channels than light from sharing the Good News. The world considers us intolerant bigots because: 1) they’ve never seen the love that is supposed to be our defining characteristic, and; 2) because they’ve rejected our Message, not just us. John 15:18 says, “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you”. Sadly, chances are most of the world has never heard the Good News, much less seen it in action. So they make up their own version of it and use it against us.
Let me see if I can summarize this. Good, wholesome entertainment is fine. And it is disappointing when worldly ideas creep in and corrupt it. You can expect a lot of blow back if you take a stand against it. That’s your decision. But PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE don’t think that our job is to ‘clean up the world’. I can’t find boycotts, petitions, and protests anywhere in the New Testament. What I do find is prayer for your enemies, proclamation of Good News, and love for your enemies and one another. We’ve neglected our most powerful weapons because we’re fighting the wrong battles. Our calling is not to fight for better entertainment or politics, but to be salt and light, to be the embodiment of Christ so the world will be drawn to Him. If you want to change the world, that’s how it’s always been done. And it still works.