We spent almost a week at Greg's parents' house and just got back Monday night. While we were there we took the opportunity to go on a date. Okay, fine. We didn't really celebrate our anniversary, and were waiting for our trip when we would have built in babysitters (we don't have any in Mielec) to do something special to celebrate.
Greg looked in the newspaper for a suitable event for us to attend. He was delighted to find that The Magic Flute was playing in a theater in town that night. (he loves the music from it and he is very interested in Freemasonry, and aparently there are lots of references to it in the opera) He called to reserve some tickets for us but was not able to over the phone. Finally he decided to drive all the way into the city center to get the tickets. When he returned he said that they did have some tickets left, but before he bought them he saw the poster advertising the opera and that it was fairly pornographic. He learned that some of the actors played nude. Oh. Okay. We decided not to go. Well, "decided" is the wrong word, as we didn't really turn this over in our minds. Let's say rather: We didn't go.
Because it was just after Christmas there were no concerts or anything else we would really have preferred to go to, so we decided to try a movie. The newspaper only listed the titles in Polish so we really had no idea what they were. We decided to just go and look at the posters and decide that way. (Welcome to life without the Internet!) We were super lucky to arrive just as Four Christmases was starting and decided to watch it (not knowing anything at all about it beforehand).
I spent the movie alternating between cringing at the crude and laughing too loudly at the hilarious (and eating my chocolate covered cherries and strawberries). Greg reminded me about 4 times during the movie that we weren't in America and you don't really BURST out in very loud laughter here. I mentally reminded myself that you don't really do that, even in America. But I couldn't help myself. It was funny. Very. And crude, too. (I just looked at the reviews and see that we are in a very small or non-existent minority of people who found this movie to be funny. Whatever.) I'm not sure we would have watched it if I'd known it was so heavily sprinkled with vulgar jokes and references. (but we still both loved it)
So this all got me thinking about my personal views of what's appropriate to watch and what isn't. I remember being surprised when someone I thought I knew well was upset when a group I was watching a movie with decided to shut it off because of the sexuality/innuendo, proclaiming, "That is about love! What is wrong with love. You think this is bad to watch, about people who love each other? It's much better than watching people killing each other!" I remember thinking, "But are we choosing between the two?" (and BTW, I was a teenager, but I'm fairly sure this was nothing R rated, as we didn't watch those then, and I don't now, either)
After that I had a long think about it. Of course I knew that we were not watching people who love each other. Or if we were, it wasn't their love that we were feeling. It was a different L-word. Maybe the characters loved each other, but those scenes were not included to help us understand that they loved each other.
I hate violence in movies. I always look away. I often wonder if people even DO watch it. Why do you want to see those details? It's yucky. It doesn't help you understand the story much, either. Sometimes, maybe a little, but you really don't have to have graphic violence to understand the trauma and horrors of war.
That being said, I think that violence, while clearly evil, is so clearly evil that many of us will never be tempted to emulate the actions we see depicted in an action movie. Not too many of us will be tempted to think about comitting murder. On the other hand, seeing "love" shown on screen is quite different. I think far more people are prone to sins against virtue. It is something that is becoming more and more acceptable in our society, and beyond acceptable. Only the prudest and most old fashioned people today would think anything wrong with watching those things.
I believe that adultery referrs to relations outside of marriage. That's before, after or during marriage (fornication is a form of adultery). Anyone to whom you are not married. I also believe Christ when he says that whole "looking at a woman to lust after her/comitted adultery with her in his heart" thing. I don't understand how pornography is accepted in a Christian society. The same goes for nudity in films (much less things the naked people are doing).
I live in Europe. I think I can safely say that I saw more naked bodies in my first month here (on accident, of course) than I did in all my previous 24 years of life (remember, no rated R movies). It was shocking and disturbing. I felt pretty outraged. Now, it's fairly normal. I still get a little ruffled, and am surprised, but I know that when you go to an office or small business, it is very possible that there will be a picture of a naked woman on the wall. (and for some reason they are never regular naked women. They're women with unnatural bodies, usually). Recently a law was passed here that pornographic magazines have to be kept out of reach/view of children or have to be covered, but there are still contraceptive devices sold in all gas stations and most stores that are usually kept in plain view right near the cashier the packaging of which is covered in uncovered women. I also know that if you flip through channels after 11 pm you will almost surely see something pornographic.
I believe that what happened in the Garden of Eden really, actually happened. I believe that the commandment they recieved as the first people on earth to "multiply and replenish the earth" has not been revoked. I don't believe that people who choose to have more than a child or two are irresponsible. Well, of course, some of them are irresponsible, but just the act of having a large family does not make one irresponsible. I believe that God's commandment for Adam and Eve to "dress and to keep" the Garden carries over for us today. I'm not big on the whole global warming fanatacism (update: my apologies if I just inadvertently called you a fanatic), but I do believe that we are meant to be responsible in our relationship to the Earth we've been given for a home. (Oops, I got going on our early parents, but here's the part I meant to say, which relates to the subject of this post:)
I feel that when Adam and Eve ate of the fruit and were able to distinguish good from evil, it is very important to note that once their eyes were opened, the first thing they did was to clothe themselves. They recognized that in a place where good and evil exist side by side (before they ate of the fruit they only knew of the good) we must cover our bodies. I can only believe that it was because they had the desire from the beginning to choose good over evil, and they understood that nudity could somehow bring an evil influence.
I know I'm a major idealist (and a "prude" which is one of the ugliest words in our language; right up there with "puberty") but I can't help but think how less vivid people's imaginations would be if they never saw naked people. If a husband saw only his wife, and desired to keep his appetites in check, how likely is it that he would cheat on her? I'm probably pretty naive about this (and many other things) but I would be really curious to know how many men who don't view pornography, or even pay attention to lingerie adds, cheat on their wives compared to those for whom other women's bodies are commonly seen. Maybe it could be argued that those with more exposure would be less likely to be unfaithful. I would argue that they already were being unfaithful.
I certainly don't believe that the human body is evil. I think it's beautiful. This, however, is not a kind of beauty to be shared and "appreciated" by all. In order to be truly appreciated, I think this kind of God given beauty should be shared in His way. I think it makes people happier, marriages stronger and families closer.
Once we were with a couple we are very close to and on a TV in the restaurant we were in there was some fashion show going on. This, of course, means that here and there breasts could be seen through the sheer fabric of many of the, um, what shall we call them? shirts? Dresses? No -- let's use "creations," as someone surely created them, and it's not as controversial as calling it "clothing". Greg made some comment about how it would be nice if they would change the channel and the man we were with said, "Oh, come on! Don't tell me you don't want to see that!" Greg said something to the effect of, "It depends on your definition of 'want.' Does a part of me want to see it? Yes, I'm a man. But a better part of me wants to steer well clear of it." (okay, he didn't sound as preachy as I'm making it sound.)
Many say that there is no harm in it. I believe that there is, as it encourages our base desires, and passions that we are meant to bridle. It is also becoming more apparent that it is addicting and can cause great unhappiness and even 'ruin.' I wish people would take God at his word. He wants us to be happy and his commandments are not outdated, no matter how hard people in today's society try to convince us otherwise. Jesus wasn't "just saying that" when he mentions this subject in his Sermon on the Mount. He only talked about the important stuff there. Yes, he taught us to love, to serve, to pray, and to give, but he also taught us things that it is important for us NOT to do. Today many of these things are cast aside, and seen as nitpicking. I think picking and choosing what parts of that powerful sermon we consider to be important and throwing out the rest (and even laughing at those (prudes) who don't throw it out) is a real fault.
And that concludes my sermon, with a disclaimer that I know I have all my own ways that I don't follow Christ as well, but I'm trying! And I don't fool myself into believing that doing those things is okay, even if it might be considered "normal" by many others.
The End. Really, this time.