Christians in the Entertainment Industry
How many times have we gone online to see what movies are in theatres, and seen either gory horror movies or ones aimed at five-year-olds? Do we not wish at that point that there were more movies out there with higher moral standards? Or perhaps we go to the theatre to see a play, and are shocked at the number of profane words. The media we want to watch may not have to be specifically Christian, but having more Christians in the industry could not hurt. Who says that they will not excel at a career in the entertainment industry? I propose that the standards that Christians are morally bound to keep do not necessarily negatively affect a career in media. It is in fact possible that holding such morals can enhance an actor’s performances. Christian morals can hinder a career in the media by entirely preventing the start of the career. Though there is Christian media, the entertainment industry is considered an almost entirely secular commerce. Christians may tend to shy away from a career in media simply because of all the scandalous stories. She’s getting her fifth divorce, he’s is in rehab for drug use, and yet another is pregnant with a baby that may or may not belong to her current boyfriend! Whether a job in the entertainment industry is the job someone wants becomes a very valid question. It is difficult for Christians to keep a pure reputation in such an environment. Is it morally acceptable for Christians to pursue a career in media? The first thing to realize is that it is not the acting itself that is morally wrong. I assert that everyone is already an actor of some sort, though not necessarily professional. For example, if a parent asks a child what he did in school that day, the child might launch into a detailed story about some incident that happened, setting himself up as the actor. The child becomes even more of an actor as he becomes more animated. If every person in this world has been an actor at some point, it stands to reason that acting is not inherently sinful, and therefore should be an acceptable career for anyone who wants it. It is the industrialization of the art that has recently attached a secular identification to it. If everyone has been an actor, this naturally includes Christians. Christians can be actors even more so than the child telling his parents about his day, because of how much we are acting each time we attend church. For both the theatre and the church, a text is central. The church has Scripture, and the theatre has script. In order to stay firmly rooted in Christian beliefs, the way that Christians interpret Scriptures should directly parallel the way that they interpret any text, including a script that is to be performed. This practice plus knowledge of the way that worship parallels a performance will help Christian actors keep a pure name for themselves. On one level of the comparison, Christian interpretation of Scripture happens within a community of believers for the most part, and in the same way, theatrical interpretation is also a communal endeavor. Each individual in a theatre company has a different role and function, yet each is a part of the communal process of interpretation. This is similar to Christian communal interpretation, which involves people in various functions as pastors, elders, deacons, and teachers. Shannon Craigo-Snell addresses this in her article, “Command Performance,” mentioning that interpretation within a community should not be shut off from the rest of the world. If a theatre company fails to address society as a whole, it will eventually fail (478). Craigo-Snell also states: “the same is true of a Christian community. To ignore the issues of the broader world, the challenges to interpretation, is to forfeit the role of interpreter” (479). Therefore both churches and theatres must eventually realize that they need to find balance between the internal community and external connection. Once each...
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