Jonathan here. After my last post, I decided to take a meditation retreat in the Rocky Mountains where I learned, from my mentor, that although I cannot control the inanity of reality shows on TLC, I can control my reaction to them. Since my enjoyment of life directly correlates to the way I react to things, if I want to find peace, I must first seek peace with Honey Boo Boo, TLC, and minute long trailers that glorify ATV accidents, and know that only love can answer all my problems.
Or something like that.
Anyways, all that meditation gave me plenty of free time for my recent guilty pleasure: George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire which you know as Game of Thrones.
Since you don't have much time, and the series takes up a couple thousand pages, I'm going to condense the first book and a half into a few sentence fragments: A midget. A wall. War. The Others. Knights. Kings. And lots and lots of hookers.
Yes. Lots and lots of sex. Granted, the first book never gets too gratuitous, so I don't feel guilty when "the Martin" writes something to the effect of, "And then yonder boy went off to visit wenches," (NOT AN ACTUAL SENTENCE IN BOOK) because I don't view the mention of sex as sinful.
But the HBO drama. Good Lord. Wow.
The series sort of lulls you into complacency and then *BAM* girls start taking off their clothes and before you know it you're checking to see if you need to close the blinds behind your computer lest you get cited for breaking some sort of indecency ordinance.
In fact just this past Sunday I was having a conversation with a friend from church that went something like this:
"I'm currently reading Game of Thrones"
"Do you like the T.V. show?"
"Yea. I think it does a good job of eliminating minor characters and humanizing the more evil charictures in the book"
"Yea. I just wish it wasn't basically a porno"
So is Game of Thrones sinful?
I'm going to go out on a limb here, and maybe tick off some people in the process, and say yes. Yes it is
In my life, I've often struggled with the cognitive dissonance of good art versus my morality. In our daily lives, we'd like to believe that if something has artistic merit, then the artistry offsets any sinful complications. I struggle with this notion. I struggle with it a lot.
The major problem, to me, is that as American Christians we've all but ignored this difficult question. We like our ability to enjoy good art, and because we do, very few people (usually only fundamentalists) ask if watching X show is worth the risk.
Consequently, we'll also come up with reasons why watching X show or reading X book is worth it. Isn't this funny? As Christians, shouldn't we willingly ditch anything that has even a modicum of sinfulness, no matter how great its artistic merit?
I realize I'm raising all sorts of difficult questions on the nature of sin and what dictates whether something is sinful or not. Different people struggle with different things, but I personally don't need to see 15 pairs of breasts on a daily basis. I just don't. I'm as hetero as hetero can be and I plan on being married some day, but as a Non-Medical Professional Christian American Male (NMPCAM) that number shouldn't be that high.
Wait, Ben, how many people read this blog on a daily basis?
Anyways. Most of you probably pick up what I'm putting down. I'm also extremely hypocritical on this one, but I wanted to ask the question since it's a question that almost no one asks. Is good art worth the risk if it might cause us to stumble? Am I totally off base? Am I letting my right-wing, fanatic evangelical upbringing taint my viewpoint of reality and Jesus? Or am I trying to gain the whole world at the risk of losing my soul? Um. Leave your opinions in the comment section?
Jonathan Harrison has a bee in his kitchen and he can't get the darn thing out of the house. If you know anyone that wants a bee, please let him know by commenting on his blog that he hasn't updated since late July over at Dried Humor. Also read Libranding if you want to.
Update: Bee has been moved out of the house and is rather ticked but will eventually figure out how to get out of the gladware container with the stick under it.
Update to the update: Bee figured it out.