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prov·o·ca·tion - something that provokes, arouses, or stimulates. pant - to long eagerly; yearn. a collection of thoughts intended to provoke and inspire. these posts are hoping to encourage people to think, especially Christians, and pant even harder for the waterbrooks of the Lord. If you are not a believer in Christ Jesus, I welcome your perspective and encourage your investigation on these matters.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Our Judgment-Driven Culture and the Schizophrenic Quest for Reality

It was 1948 when the first reality show called Candid Camera debuted on television which attracted scores of people with pulling pranks on unsuspecting people and their subsequent reactions. Since then, the phenomena of reality shows has ballooned over the last decade. One list reveals that there have been at least 317 reality shows since Candid Camera including the likes of Cops which is currently into its 19th season. According to Amazon.com, DVD’s of reality shows have outranked many of the popular movies and drama series in their popularity and sales. One does not have to get click-happy with the remote to realize the dominating appeal reality shows have not only on network television, but also on some of the most obscure cable television channels as well.

After having watched a couple of these reality shows, I reflected on what this all this is saying about our culture (and me). More and more, reality shows are consisting of three judges who will judge a person’s performance whether it be comedy, singing, dance, modeling. Of course, these judges are penultimate as the final authority of these candidates weigh in the balance of the judgment of the American people. In almost all and every area of life, we have only to call an 800 number or text a couple of digits to cast our vote or place our judgment upon those participating in the reality show.

This has intrigued me since we are told that we live in an age where it is politically incorrect to judge anyone. It has been said that while our elder generation’s favorite verse is John 3:16, which has been replaced with the often misquoted and misinterpreted verse Matthew 7:1 which says, “Judge not, that you be not judged.” As our culture has become increasingly pluralistic, it is said that a Christian is immoral, arrogant, and bigoted to say that those who do not believe in Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord will go to hell. I am told that I cannot judge those people who want to believe something else. It appears that our culture and its thinkers have decided to judge the areas in which we are allowed to place judgment—all areas except matters of ultimate reality and absolute truth. In the areas that don’t really matter, it is a judgment free-for-all, but in the weightier matters of life, we are told that we are to keep our opinions to ourselves. Furthermore, while we are all too quick to dial that number to judge another person, we would not dare to allow anyone to judge us—including ourselves.

Yet there is a judgment upon us whether we realize it or not. Jesus Himself said, “And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their deeds were evil” (John 3:19). And the writer of Hebrews reminds us that “it is appointed for man to die once and after that comes judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). The Holy Spirit has come to convict us of sin, righteousness, and judgment (John 16:8-11), and ultimately there will be a judgment by the eternal and just Judge at the judgment seat of Christ and the Great White Throne Judgment. And lest we forget, our God is a judging God as the Father (John 8:16), the Son (John 5:22,27,29-30) and the Holy Spirit (John 16:8-11) all participate in judgment.

There is no greater reality than the judgment of God, but we are told that we are not allowed to speak of such reality. Our culture, having been jaded by the fictional drama of melodramatic script, has actively been in pursuit of reality through the tube while at the same time disallowing anyone to judge them as a sinner and the reality of God's justice and holiness. This schizophrenic quest of reality is a journey in a real-life fairy tale where the ending is worse than being booted off a reality television show. It is being cast into an eternal hell where sinners will be tormented for an eternity. The “American Idol” is not Taylor Hicks or Carrie Underwood—it is us. The idol of self has led us to so affectionately worship ourselves that we are functionally incapable of judging ourselves. We believe we are the captain of our own ship, entitled to our own rights of self-determination, and free to chart the course of others in our judgment all the while we are suffering eternal shipwreck.

About 2000 years ago there was a reality show in Jerusalem. No, it wasn’t scripted on television. It was “live” in the courtyard of the high priest. Caiaphas, the high priest, and the scribes and elders took their seats to judge Jesus as a blasphemer. The question posed by Caiaphas rang louder than 40 million callers as he asked, “What is your judgment?” (Matthew 26:66). The whole Council answered, “He deserves death.” Ironically, Jesus was blameless in every way—indeed sinless in perfection regarding the law, yet he took upon the judgment that hell-bound sinners deserved by dying on the cross to become a curse for us. Jesus did not deserve death—we did.

Not much is different these days as the judgment-driven culture of the 1st century is much like that of the 21st century. The same question is being asked today, “What is your judgment?” on almost a daily basis. And while we mourn over our favorite singer, dancer, or comedian being booted off some television show where they hoped to win a million dollars, we have failed to mourn over lost souls who are being booted straight to hell for an eternity without any hope of heaven or the reward of knowing Jesus. More than that, while we are competent to place judgment on reality shows, we have succumbed to the pressure of a schizophrenic culture as incompetent Christians to place judgment on sinners in the greatest realities of life, truth, and salvation. Christian friend, we who deserve death and judgment and who have received life abundant in Christ should be faithful and true in a confused and confounded culture to show that the end of their quest for reality is not in the television tube but in the cross of Jesus Christ.

3 Comments:

Blogger G. F. McDowell said...

To abuse someone else's phrase, I think you're on to something.

6/29/2006 06:53:00 AM

 
Blogger Nick Kennicott said...

Timmy... awesome post man. I think your statement hits it right on the head: "And while we mourn over our favorite singer, dancer, or comedian being booted off some television show where they hoped to win a million dollars, we have failed to mourn over lost souls who are being booted straight to hell for an eternity without any hope of heaven or the reward of knowing Jesus. More than that, while we are competent to place judgment on reality shows, we have succumbed to the pressure of a schizophrenic culture as incompetent Christians to place judgment on sinners in the greatest realities of life, truth, and salvation." How true this is for so many, including myself. It's interesting that I know how the world (particularly media/entertainment) works to influence me and works to alter my opinions in favor of their product, or idea, yet I, and many others, fall into the trap time and time again. I have to laugh when I see the t-shirt or bumper sticker that says, "Only God can Judge Me." Does that render God's word useless? Does that essentially remove the truth of the words of God's saints and servants? Judgement seems so ugly to us all because we know what's behind the closet... perhaps a little more judgement on eternal matters and a little less "tolerance" for non-truth will point us in the right direction toward reality.

6/29/2006 09:03:00 AM

 
Blogger Timmy said...

Thanks for the comments guys.

Nick, funny that you mentioned the phrase "Only God can judge me" because as I left work this morning I stood next to a guy which a huge tattoo of a cross on his arm. I thought, "Cool, a tattoo of the cross." Then I read the script around it, which said, "Only God can judge me."

6/29/2006 12:54:00 PM

 

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