The following is my response to a friend who asked me why I recommended the MTV Video Music Awards for the past couple of years. He couldn't understand why he NEEDED to watch that “trash” when all he had to do was read the information on the web? He was also concerned about the fathers who struggle with porn subjecting their eyes to the skimpy outfits most of the performers wore.
Thank you for your interest and for taking the time to express your concern. Please let me try to respond.
I’ve been recommending that parents watch the MTV Video Music Awards (The VMAs) since 2003, to help parents learn and experience the culture that influences their children so deeply.
It’s more than just watching trash. You are right that there are many ways parents can learn which artist or program their kids watch and listen to, but there is no better way to experience the depravity of the entertainment culture that is teaching our children these values.
Sometimes I, too, am unable to watch the complete program and nearly every year I literally cry for our children and our nation. It breaks my heart and disturbs my soul to see the depths of depravity the entertainment industry teaches our children. To be honest, it usually takes me a full day or two of listening to worship music to keep me from becoming depressed by the “culture” that I just experienced.
Youth culture is not our culture! I meant what I said in my letter to parents, "we may live in the United States of America, but our children live in the United States of Entertainment.” I believe we live in different societies than our children - even if we live in the same house! The 2004 Super Bowl illustrates this dichotomy.
The Super Bowl committee wanted to attract the youth market so they invited MTV to produce the halftime show. What could go wrong? MTV brought a bigger audience, but that was also the year Janet Jackson had her “wardrobe malfunction” and exposed her breast on TV. The parents were shocked and offended, but the youth didn’t think it was a big deal. Why? This was the first time most parents were exposed (literally) to the culture that their children experience daily and have gotten used to seeing everyday. By the way, nearly every Super Bowl halftime show since has featured a MTV type of extravaganza, but parents no longer complain because we’ve slowly gotten used to it. And most of us haven’t even noticed the change.
(I sincerely believe that empty values have enveloped our whole society. And I believe I can prove through Scripture that America really is the “Whore of Babylon” that is prophesied in the “last days.” And I sincerely believe our nation is rapidly being entertained to death. But this is a digression from my response to you, so I will be writing a blog on this topic in a future newsletter.)
I don’t want parents to ever just accept the mind pollution that our nation has become addicted to. And a good way to actually shock them into reality is to “experience” this depraved value system by watching the VMAs. Why? Because our children are in a completely different society, with a different language, customs, and very different values. If parents are ever going to learn to communicate with their children, to reach their children with Truth of the Gospel, they MUST first fully understand this “foreign culture”.
For example, suppose you were to lead a team of men on a mission trip to Uganda. What would you do to prepare? First, you would bring in an expert on Uganda to help familiarize your team with Ugandan society. The idea is not just to help your team avoid social faux pas (which is definitely important!) but to help your team to understand their culture, customs, and values.
Understanding their society would give you a “heart” for the people, then when you see and understand Ugandan culture your heart would probably be broken and you would begin to see Ugandans in a different perspective and with a new and an unconditional love. When you “visit” another society with a humble heart and love, then those people will more likely listen to your message.
The same holds true for parents “visiting” their children’s culture in today’s society. You can hide your children for a while. Or you may say your children never watch nor have they ever watched MTV, but MTV is the society that tells them what is “cool” and socially acceptable if they watch MTV or not. In effect, MTV is writing the constitution for the society of the United States of Entertainment. And if the parent hasn’t taught them how to think biblically, who knows how they will think when the parent isn’t looking over their shoulder?
Of course, I believe Christian parents should always use caution. Of course, I believe parents should pray that God would open their hearts, eyes, and minds to the needs of their children. Of course parents should commit their heart and mind to the Lord, and ask for His wisdom and protection before watching the VMAs.
But I also believe that Christian parents can learn by experiencing the VMAs. Watch with a pen and notebook to take notes. One caveat. Some men who struggle with pornography may have a difficult time watching the VMAs and shouldn’t subject their mind to this or any type of activity outside of marriage that may be sexually stimulating.
I’m not above being tempted with sexual sin, but in the thirty plus years I have been studying this topic and the 20 years or so that I have been watching the VMAs I don’t see the performers as someone to be envied and desired. All I see is a generation that has bought into the LIE, dancing on the road to Hell and like a pied piper leading our children to join them. And that breaks my heart!
And that’s exactly why my ministry is dedicated to helping parents and leaders deal with the issue of entertainment from a biblical perspective. As you know, entertainment is a key weapon in the battle for our minds and for our families. We must get involved with our children and help them see “their world” from a biblical perspective. We can’t accomplish this from a distance.
I hope my emails, suggestions, or this letter doesn’t offend you. I write this in love. I never discount criticism and it always causes me to look inward. This time, I am very confident this is what God would have me do.
Your friend always,