It must be nearly the summer, because Love Island started again on TV this week.
Now – I’m all for engaging with culture. There are a hundred different reasons why I think it’s important that Christians are involved in the culture around them – and primarily because it can be a great platform for gospel conversations.
But as with anything, there’s a line. We’ve been studying Daniel at The 7 recently, and what’s noticeable about Daniel himself is that as a young man in exile in Babylon, he has a line which he won’t cross. He’s happy to sit through the secular university course, and to take a new name, and even to learn the foreign language – but he won’t eat the food and drink from the King’s table. For him, that’s one step too far. He’s happy to be involved in Babylonian culture, but not immerse himself in it so fully that he loses his distinctiveness. As a result, chapter 1 v 8, “Daniel resolved not to defile himself”.
And so though I’m not going to say ‘We mustn’t watch Love Island’, it is important to think about what we’re doing before we immerse ourselves in such a pervasive piece of popular culture.
And so with that in mind, before you sit down to binge your way through this particular series of spray-tans and six-packs, here are four questions you might want to ask before watching (or watching any TV show for that matter!). Why not chat about them with a friend? (These have been taken straight from Dan Strange’s excellent new book ‘Plugged In’, which you can buy here.)
- Why does everyone else seem to think that this particular show is good or important? What does that reveal about what they think is important or praiseworthy?
- Why do I enjoy this, or think I would enjoy it? What does that reveal about what I think is important or praiseworthy?
- How does this compare to the Bible’s pattern? Does the Bible agree that these things are important or praiseworthy? Or are these messages coming from an alternative ‘big story’?
- Would watching this glorify God?
And then I love how Dan finishes this particular chapter in his book. He writes this:
“Finally, remember that if we decide we should not watch something, we are not completely disqualified from commenting on it as we try to engage non-Christian friends with the gospel through it. We can still read about it and around it. In fact, our direct disengagement could be a countercultural witness which engages people with the gospel”Daniel Strange, Plugged In, p.94
There we go – hopefully some helpful things to think about as you consider what to watch this summer!