Good media discernment is about guarding our eyes and hearts before we watch or listen. And it's also about grappling with the entertainment we do see or hear. That's why the Plugged In Blog is devoted to guarding, discussing and grappling.
Tonight, audiences will see the story of Jesus Christ as told by Britney Spears.
SPEARS: The Gospel According to Britney is a one-night-only production by 23-year-old Patrick Brute. It'll use such Spears' tunes as "Stronger," "One More Time" and "Crazy" to musically narrate Jesus' life, death and resurrection. And, according to Brute, the production is no joke. Writes Time's Melissa Locker:
While some Christians may find the concept eyebrow raising, on his website, Blute assures potential attendees that the show is not sacrilegious and instead is the perfect outing for churchgoers who also love Britney. "It appeals to those from a religious background because it tells an essential story using fragments of pop culture in a non-offensive way," the 23-year old Columbia University graduate explained.
Interesting? Yes. Weird? Absolutely. Sacreligious? Well, maybe.
Christians have always felt, I think, a deep conflict regarding arts and entertainment. We understand its power—its ability to move people—and we're both wary and intrigued. We know it can be a conduit to convey the stories and truths that move us all. But we're aware it can be a corrupting agent, too—able to lead us into areas it'd be best to stay away from. Is The Exorcist a sermon that's impossible to sleep through (as its author intended)? Or a dark and awful look at things best not seen? Should Christian bands tour with secular ones in the hopes of opening up dialogue? Or steer clear of them for fear of being comprimised?
And now, another question: Is it a good thing for the story of Jesus Christ—a man unstained by sin—to be told through the music of an artist whose appeal is largely predicated on seduction?
Many Christians, I think, would automatically say no.
But it's an intriguing concept: I've always liked looking for God in unexpected places, and I believe His glory can shine through anywhere if He so wills. He has a history of using unlikely people to further His own story. Might God be able to use Britney's music for His own glorious purpose? Is it possible that the nature of sin be expressed through "Ooops, I Did It Again," or something spiritually important conveyed through "Till The World Ends?"
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--I suppose they'll be using Lady Gaga music next? Perhaps Katy Perry, or Shakira? Oh, what about Miley Cyrus! Give me a break!
I think this a sign of how Christianity is declining in our culture. Instead of merely LIVING as Christ would have us live, we resort to ENTERTAINMENT to draw the world in, and that is not how this is supposed to be! We are to live in the power God has given us as His people. We ARE supposed to be DIFFERENT, not make Christianity look more like the world. If we use the world to attract the world, then the world won't see what's so special about Christianity.
--The gospel of Jesus Christ's appeal comes from the drawing of the Holy Spirit. God doesn't need us to mask it or dress it up with someone like Brittany Spears. That's our human tendency to think that it's up to us to make the Gospel more appealing. No, it's God who draws people and God who saves.
--I'm not sure what to think. On the one hand, it could be read as a cheap gimic. On the other hand, I know from my own experiences with media that sometimes bits of Truth and beauty can be seen in unlikely locations. And if a young man, on his own time and with his own creativity, without a church or ministry's official backing, wants to show God through such an unusual lens, I wish him the best.
--There is no one who is going to see this production that doesn't already know about Jesus and his story. This isn't going to bring any body to Christ. What brings people to Christ is them seeing something inside of us that they want in their life. Unfortunately mostly they see things the don't like. Things like us getting all huffy when a woman of supposedly loose morals does a theater production around the life of Christ.
No, if this production has any real value, it will strengthen and enrich the faith of those who already believe. And perhaps if it can get Christians to look at Ms. Spears and judge not lest they be judged then perhaps their faith will have been enriched.
-- @Alice: I think you are a little confused. Britney Spears herself has nothing to do with this event. It is being put on by a 3rd party just utilizing her music (though I'm sure he would have to have some kind of approval from her people to use the music at least). Kind of like that play/movie Mamma Mia, that used the songs of ABBA.
Personally, I think this is kind of a cool idea. I am always hearing secular songs that make me think "hhm, that reminds me of a biblical truth, or a story from the bible, or something like that" when I listen to the radio or pay attention to lyrics. I think something like this could be really interesting. And I don't really have a problem with it being Britney Spears either. Spears the person definitly hasn't been perfect, and not all of her songs are clean or appropriate, but that doesn;t mean that EVERY song she's ever done is bad or innapropriate. It seems so often when there is a performer or actor like Britney Spears who hasn;t been a good role model, we tend to automaticly write off everything they have done as being bad, instead of judeging it on its own merits.
"And perhaps if it can get Christians to look at Ms. Spears and judge not lest they be judged then perhaps their faith will have been enriched."
The Bible says to "Judge righteous judgment," but sadly, our culture has been using "Judge not lest thou be judged," --which, if taken in context really warns against HYPOCRITICAL judging-- and using it to support tolerance, compromise, and relativism. I assume you would say murder is wrong, correct? That is judgment. The Bible says that fornication --which Ms. Spears advocates-- is wrong. We are not making our own judgments about Ms. Spears, we are comparing her life and her songs to the Bible. Now, we must not hate her, of course, and we ought to pray for her, naturally, as we would for anyone unsaved, but a production with her music only tries to draw the world by using the world, which sullies CHRIST'S gospel message.
--@soccer_gurl, Jesus is pretty clear about it. We're not supposed to judge other people, instead we're supposed to focus on the logs in our own eyes. If you're following the teachings of the old testament and ignoring the teachings of Jesus then you can't really be said to be a Christian.
Jesus said to judge righteous judgment in John 7:24, but we can only judge AFTER we take the logs out of our own eyes (Matt. 7:5), for if we judge hypocritically, we shall be judged for our hypocrisy. And we are NOT to judge the hearts of others, but their ACTIONS. We can NEVER determine if a person will ever be saved, and should not attempt such a judgment. But we can tell if they are living in a way, or bearing fruit in a way, that pleases God. (Matt. 7:16-20). We are to judge between what is wicked and righteous (2 Thess. 5:22). Of course, as I said before, we are to judge ourselves FIRST (Romans 2:1-4), and not judge between matters not pertaining to doctrine, but matters that pertain to God's word. All of our judgments should be in accordance with God's Word, not merely our own opinions. So, based on God's Word, what do I know about Brittney Spears's music? It often (perhaps not always) supports an immoral lifestyle that she herself holds. I also know that God loves her, sent His Son to die for her, and that if she turns to Him, He will give her joy that will make all the glamour of her life seem inconsequential.
I hope this helped. :)
I completely agree.
--If this is used to minister to people, I say awesome.
"The Passion Of The Christ" had quite its share of inaccuracies, and people started relationships with Jesus as a result of watching it.
"Harry Potter" centers around kids learning sorcery, something strictly not Biblical, and yet some have been encouraged in their faith and shared the Gospel with others using it.
So why should we assume God can't or won't use a show with Britney Spears to move people towards him?
It is a fine line between relevance and ethical compromise, but we have to let GOD, not judginess or paranoia or man-made 'churchy' rules guide us. I am not saying, 'let's do a cover of the story of Moses with Eminem next!', I am saying, in a nutshell, let's not put God in a box. Maybe Britney's hardcore fans wouldn't come to a show culminating in "He's got the whole world in His hands", and this is how God will reach some of them.
And while we are on the subject, I vote we remember to pray for not just the people making and seeing this show, but also Britney herself. That poor girl has had her heart pit through the ringer and she just needs us to love on her, and maybe that'll help her know Jesus loves her too.
Unfortunately, the statement "what brings people to Christ is them seeing something inside of us that they want in their life" is a lie. Look in God's Word, in Romans 10:
"How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?” So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ."
Be careful not to taint or add to the Gospel by couching it in personal experience! As GoodHero wrote, "The gospel of Jesus Christ's appeal comes from the drawing of the Holy Spirit." What people need to hear is the Good News itself, not its effect in our life, lest they be set up to fall away because of expectations of specific life changes that may or may not be met by God in this life. John Macarthur has preached about this; his messages are always worth a listen.
--@soccer_gurl, I think that I understand you. Jesus said, "let those without sin cast the first stone." But you're without sin, or righteous or otherwise without a log in your eye so you good to go in the casting stones department.
I think you're being sarcastic, because I know I am a only a sinner saved by grace. If I came off as sounding high and mighty, I truly am sorry, but I still stand by what the Scripture says--did you read the verses I put up there?--. If you want, you can substitute the word "discernment" for "judgment," because they mean the same thing. We need to be discerning about what we listen to, and what we watch, and who we let influence us.
I'm going to explain my side of the matter, and so please don't judge me (LOL, kidding). I have two issues with this production.
1) Brittney Spears's songs play a factor.
2) The church in general is getting to flashy with the Gospel message.
For number one, fans of Brittney KNOW her overall all message and what she supports, and so they may look at a production like this with a smirk,and I bet you many will not even watch it. Next, have you read the lyrics to the song titles Mr. Asay posted above? "Stronger" is more of a boastful declaration of independence. How will they use it to describe Jesus' life? Will it be sung to the Pharisees, or to the Jews who crucified Jesus, even though He loved them even though they were sinning grievously against Him? And "One More Time," is her famous "Baby, One More Time." Are you kidding me? Then, the last title he listed, "Crazy," talks specifically of a guy-girl relationship. How are they going to use these songs to narrate the story of the great Son of Man? Jesus' story is about unquenchable, true love that is purer than the love we humans can conjure up within our depraved selves. I even feel uncomfortable with films like "Passion of the Christ" because they get things wrong when it comes to Christ's story. He's just so wonderful, so perfect, and His story is so necessary.
2) The church in general is getting too flashy with the Gospel. The early church did not need a whole lot of lights and gimmicks and movies and musical productions, however well-intentioned. All they had were men and women--sinners--saved by grace whose lives were CHANGED by Christ. They suddenly began to love the unlovable and hold to righteousness that went above and beyond the depraved Roman Empire's way of living. People saw that they were different, that they were good--not by their own efforts, but because God made them so--and they wanted what they had. Today, it's as if the church no longer trusts God to bring forth the increase if we simply live as He would have us live, and so we resort to movies and music and other things that, while well-intentioned, greatly resemble the world. Now, I'm not slamming CCM or other things--although you know I'm not in favor of "The Gospel according to Spears"-- but I think that if we just lived, preached, and loved as we ought, and stuck to the SCRIPTURES, we would see more people come TRULY to Christ. Take a look at countries where Christianity is persecuted, or read the Book of Acts, or Galatians, or any book in the New Testament that records about the operations of the church. People are getting saved there, and it's not because we select a secular artist's songs just because she's popular---because of her lifestyle and song content, BTW---.
Sorry my comment was so lengthy, but I hope it helped. We clearly won't come eye to eye on this, but please don't misread my comment like you seem to have misread my other two. I think we can both agree that Ms. Spears is a lost sinner, like anyone else without Christ, and that we ought to pray for her and love her, even if we don't agree with her lifestyle. I would suggest you research more that Matt. 7:1 (taken out of context) and John 8: 1-11 (BTW, I am not guilty of adultery, as that passage talked about; I'm only fifteen and not married) for verses about judging. And, like I said, you can substitute the word "Discernment," because it means the same as judgment.. Please look up those verses I showed you. A line has to be drawn somewhere, and that doesn't come about unless we Judge, or Discern, ACCORDING TO the Scriptures.
Wow, I've, used a lot of characters, LOL. If I was ornery with my arguments, I am sorry, but please do look up those verses. Have a good day, Alice, and God bless you.
(Have we veered off-topic from this article or what?)
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