(Video above is from FOCL Online and features David Robertson on the topic of presenting Christianity in the Christian Media)
Being at a Christian college for my fourth year now, I have gotten use to the idea that everyone thinks Christian morals are meant to keep life “rated PG”. For example, being a 21 year old college student at a Christian college, I have been in many situations where I have been interviewed (not literally) on why I go to school where I do where there are more “rules” than other schools. When I have visited other universities during my time being enrolled at a Christian college, I have personally been exposed to a lot of different lifestyles of how students live during college. With that said, it feels that I always compare my Christian college experience/lifestyle to what I’ve seen…and it’s like night and day. Without getting into detail, some lifestyles I have seen would be the ones we would “expect to see in the movies”. Now I say we would “expect to see in the movies” because I have personally found that media has the tendency to portray a lot of things, including younger audiences, into being more than what they are. So while I was researching on this topic, I started to think of how Christian media ties into all of this.
Lets look at Project X, a film about three high schoolers who throw the “party you’ve only dreamed about” that takes place in a suburban neighborhood…oh ya, and that’s based off of true events as well. After watching it twice I would assume that the film’s target audience would be high school and college students (and maybe just party animals in general). Since the film exposes teenage party activities with the addition of several top billboard tunes playing in the background throughout the whole film, it creates this image of how teenagers should spend their Friday and Saturday nights. So after watching this film I would like to assume that majority of the audience wanted to go out and perform similar actions seen in the film since the media they just viewed portrayed their Hollywood peers having the best time of their life. (SPOILER ALERT) Even though the film does end up with sappy feelings, a burned down neighborhood, and daddy’s expensive car in the bottom of the pool, it still leaves the audience with a humorous mood rather than a lesson to be learned through morals…because thats COOL RIGHT???!?!…right?
So how does this entail to Christian media again? After reading a few open minded articles over Christian media, I got the idea that any media that’s titled “Christian” doesn’t necessarily mean it has to literally mentione Jesus and the bible. We all know the phrase don’t judge a book by its cover blah blah blah, is in fact true, but is still hard in today’s world to really grasp due to how media portrays a lot of things. Now if we use the word Christian as a noun we would immediately think about a bible reader. But if we use the word Christian as an adjective, it opens our mindset to more than just a person. So considering myself as a guru of what’s going on in our media along with being a Christian college student, I find it funny to think about what Christian media really is. Since this would be my first time researching anything about Christian media I found that it just basically means media that portrays good morals…yes, basically. If you were to Google “popular Christian movies“, like i did, I found a lot of films that didn’t seem to come off as biblical films. I did read some plot summaries of these films and it also did not mention the “Jesus”, “God”, or even “Christian”. So without getting personal, I believe that is ok.
Now I start to think to myself why can’t Christian media be as popular as the non-Christian stuff we see a lot more on TV? Then I remember about the popular show Duck Dynasty and how some of their cast received publicity for promoting Christian beliefs. I’m not a big fan of the show but I do know that they end a lot of their shows with praying around the table before their dinner. Staged or not, I always found it interesting that they did involve that in their show. Also I learned that Phil, one of the cast members, “went to war with A&E on Christian values“. To simplify it, I think religion is just too big of a sensitive topic that could be a big risk when it is involved in certain media. So to come to a conclusion that this is actually why we don’t see a lot of Christian values in today’s media.
With all this said, I think Christian media isn’t as popular as it should be. When it comes down to the directors, finances, advertising, etc. it all depends on whats in popular demand with our society. I think there are a lot of films and TV shows like Duck Dynasty that do portray Christian morals without emphasizing it, but there’s always the risk of having too much or too less that could make audiences uncomfortable. I do respect the writers of shows like Duck Dynasty to try different things unlike films like Project X that target easily entertained audiences. But overall I think Christian media isn’t a genre of media necessarily, but more like attributes added to the everyday media we are already use to viewing.
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