I like to laugh. I mean, really laugh. Neither of my jobs require heavy-lifting (props to the landscapers and bricklayers out there), but pastoring and radio work can still be stressful. So, I like to unwind with a good comedy. The problem in recent years is the famine of comedy that’s really funny without being inappropriate. There are family-friendly comedies that really aren’t that funny (in my opinion). So I’m left with crass comedy that makes me laugh a lot, but only as I ignore the subtle whisper of the Holy Spirit, “Cisco, are you sure you should be watching this?”
I ignored the Holy Spirit last week and saw Trainwreck. I had to take our car in for some work and there’s a movie theater right across the street from the shop. How ironic that Trainwreck was starting right as I had two hours to kill. “Surely, God wants me to see this movie!” While everyone else in the theater was laughing out loud, I was having a deeply spiritual experience. Instead of relieving the stress of a busy life, I was engaged in a conversation with God that finally led to me screaming “Uncle!” But it was a movie theater, so I didn’t scream out loud.
Here are three thoughts from a pastor who saw Trainwreck:
1) I’m not that mature. Maybe you’ve said this to yourself, “I’m spiritually mature enough to laugh at the good and ignore the bad in any movie. I can handle this.” I’ve said that to myself a million times and it’s a lie. Every bit of nudity, every crass joke, and every cruel insult enters my brain and never leaves. They slowly numb me so that I am less able to see a clear distinction between what is godly and what is not. It’s a subtle danger that we can try to ignore, but it’s a danger nonetheless.
2) Crass humor isn’t just for boys anymore. Porky’s, Animal House, and so many other movies in the same genre were designed by men and for men. The lead characters telling the jokes were men. It was widely understood that potty humor was for guys (not that it was God-honoring for men, but that’s a discussion for another day). That’s changed. Now, comediennes such as Amy Schumer and Melissa McCarthy (both VERY funny) are the ones starring in the movies. It’s turned crass movies into girl flicks that are good for ladies night out or even date night. So instead of fewer people ingesting this, there are more. That can’t be good.
3) Is it pure and lovely? Philippians 4:8 gives us a filter to use when deciding whether to see a movie or not.
“whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable—if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praise—dwell on these things.”
It’s hard to put Trainwreck through that filter and reach the conclusion that we should see it. Add Spy and Bridesmaids to the list too.
God works in each of our lives at His own pace. You may not agree with this post. Yet. There was a time not long ago when I thought any kind of media short of pornography was alright. But increasingly I’ve begun to see the importance of filling my mind with things that glorify God. It means I don’t get to see quite as much comedy as I used to, but my soul is thanking me.