Why Should Christians Watch Movies and TV Shows?
Watching movies and TV shows will clue you in to what a culture cares about, spark interesting conversations with other people, open you to the movements of God’s Spirit, and make you more hospitable.
Movies Help Us Understand What Our Culture Cares About
Movies and TV shows are the dominant storytelling methods of our time, the main way we ask “what happens when…” Those questions reveal what our culture and other cultures care about. Watching movies and TV shows is a way of listening to the questions a particular culture is asking in the broadest sense, on the thematic and philosophical level. Current events might resonate thematically with movies and TV shows, but it’s the themes that matter and the way the characters respond emotionally, not the events themselves. The movies and TV shows are like a testing ground for real life.
Watching Movies and TV Shows Prepares You To Talk To Other People About Things That Matter To Them
Because movies and TV shows are concerned with the questions that concern cultures, it is likely that your family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers are concerned about those things too. Watching movies prepares you to talk to other people about those questions, and talking to each other has the potential to effect real change in our relationships and our world. Movies and TV shows are a safe subject of conversation that can lead to weightier matters.
Watching Movies and TV Shows Positions You To Hear God Speaking To You
God’s Spirit often speaks to us through aesthetic experiences such as shared meals, the awesome beauty of nature, or a work of art. Those kinds of experiences go beyond the rational, awakening our intuitive natures, and the Spirit of God is a being beyond our rational capacities. Yes, even while you're watching TV, God might speak to you.
Certainly, we cannot command the Spirit of God to speak to us when and where we please. The Spirit moves as the Spirit wills. We can only be sensitive to the Spirit’s movements, like a boy scout feeling for the breeze with a spit-soaked finger. Detecting the Spirit is a matter of feeling more than it is a matter of right-thinking. Even “right-thinking” cannot guarantee God will speak to you. However, we can “wet our fingers and hold them in the air” to feel for the Spirit’s wind. Aesthetic experiences can be a great way to feel for the breeze.
God’s Spirit often speaks to us through aesthetic experiences such as shared meals, the awesome beauty of nature, or a work of art... Yes, even while you're watching TV, God might speak to you.
Watching Movies and TV Shows Is An Act of Hospitality
Hospitality understood most simply is the act of being friendly to strangers—not only to your friends and family—but to people you do not yet know. A work of artistry made by a person is a surrogate for that person. In the case of movies and TV shows, it is a surrogate for many persons. We should be hospitable to them.
When you sit down to watch a movie or TV show, you are welcoming-in a stranger. These are forms of entertainment, yes, but instead of being entertained by the movie, the viewer is the one doing the entertaining. To watch a movie or TV show is to entertain it and, by proxy, the people who made it. It is an act of hospitality, or at least it can be if it is done with openness, grace, and a self-sacrificial spirit.
If you want to learn more, consider: