I want to be entertained. Not preached at. Not sermonized to (unless I'm in church where that's the point). Not shown a Prius and told I'm the devil if I drive a SUV. I want to be entertained. Seriously, if we preached in our Christian books as vehemently as Hollywood seems to be doing lately, leaving behind story in favor of doing a "higher work". we deceive ourselves. My calling is to write a STORY. Of course, my Christian values will be imbedded because that's who I am. But let me tell you this, it's not my calling (and for some of you it might be, but it is SOOO not my calling to preach at people!)
We meet friends for dinner and a movie. My boys get to go to "Night in the Museum with the dads, but me? I have to sit through "Happy Feet". First impressions: CUTE AS THE DICKENS until they start singing one of my favorite, albeit highly sexualized "Kiss" by Prince. Kids' movie people! I want to cover my daughter's ears. But the penguins -- they dance. The animation is fabulous. The story is darling. Happy Feet can't sing. Singing is how you get the girl. He can only dance so he must go on a journey to find his voice.
But midway through the story, something horrific (storytelling-wise) happens! He gets the girl and he REJECTS her!! Why you ask? Because there is fishing going on in the Antarctic and the Emperor Penguins will all die if us evil humans, who put cute little penguins in zoos, aren't stopped!!! Now, the filmmakers stop the animation at one point and actually put UN footage in to show that little Happy Feet is changing the world! And a fishing circle being carved out around Antarctica.
Can you imagine if I stopped my book and said, "COME ACCEPT JESUS RIGHT HERE AND RIGHT NOW!!! PUT THE SILVER FISH ON YOUR CAR AND YOU WILL BE SAVED." Instead of finishing my romance storyline? Would I not tick a few people off? For a very important reason, you're doing a bait and switch. I promised you some romance and you're getting my belief system crammed down your throat.
People are at the movies to watch dancing penguins, to be entertained, do we NEED a message? Must it come at the expense of penguins who can tap dance? It was Sunday, I already did my time. (No offense Pastor Dean, fabulous message on breathing the Name of God -- See, I was listening!!)
But it doesn't stop at the movies. I tape Oprah on Tivo. I can honestly say I haven't sat through an episode in eons. Oprah seems intent on changing the world, and you know, she's got more money than Moses, go for it, but must we be subjected to it? Every time Oprah does something nice, does it warrant a show and a trip? Newsflash: Most of us housewives doing the laundry are not tuning into Oprah to learn about Darfur, but we'll take another show on what jeans make our butts look smaller. And here's the really sad thing. Most of us will just turn off the "world is evil" shows because we're...we're tuning in to be entertained. We know the world is terrible, that there are monsters out there who seek to kill and destroy, that's why we want to be entertained!!
There's a time and place for news and sermons and information. If Oprah wants to use her hour to give it, go for it, but I'm choosing my hour too. And I vote with my TIVO. HELLO UGLY BETTY!!!
I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Ugly Betty! Now go forth and be entertained.