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A new perspective on how Christians make entertainment choices and engage with the hypersexualized media that pervades our culture.
I was compensated for my time in writing this post. As always, all opinions are my own.
How Christians should engage with culture is not a new topic. Jesus talked about it, Paul wrote about it in his letters in the New Testament, probably every church leader since then has dealt with it. And if you’re a parent, it can consume you.
How do we equip our children to handle the hypersexualized media that pervades our culture?
This has been a topic of discussion in our home since our kids were young, and hasn’t stopped now that our boys are 21 and 19. In fact it’s even more relevant now, as we want to prepare them to lead homes of their own one day.
In all of the years that my husband and I have delved into this issue, the goal of all of the material we’ve seen has been the same: personal purity. And that is a noble and God-pleasing goal.
But it’s not the only goal.
Personal purity is vital to the Christian life. But it’s not the only factor we should consider when making our entertainment choices.
I’m always interested in new resources on this topic, so when I saw the new course Personal Purity Isn’t Enough: The Long-Forgotten Secret to Making Scriptural Entertainment Choices I wanted to check it out immeditately.
Right in the introduction, creator Cap Stewart tells us we’re in for a paradigm shift.
And he’s not kidding. As I proceeded through the course, I found myself thinking more than once, “I’ve never thought of that before!”
The basic premise is that in this area we have given all of our focus to fulfilling the first half of the greatest commandment: to love God with all of our heart, soul, and mind; while neglecting the second half: to love our neighbor as ourselves.
In other words, if watching sexualized content is harmful to the viewer…could it also be harmful to the performer? And if so, should that affect my entertainment choices?
He presents this new paradigm, that our choices should at least in part be made with the actor/actresses experience in mind, and then provides much evidence to show that filming exploitive scenes can indeed be detrimental to the performer.
In fact, the descriptions many give are startling and disturbing. (Keep in mind, these are mainstream actors describing the filming of scenes from mainstream movies and shows.)
They use words like terrified, exposed, mortifying, humiliating, and traumatic. Other common descriptions include not only crying, but sobbing uncontrollably, vomiting, worrying about what their parents will think, and having to drink or take medication to be able to film the scene.
While we may be shocked by some of these descriptions, it is in hearing accounts like these that we are convicted. Being disturbed is not the worst thing in the world if it causes us to evaluate our choices.
A course about movies by someone who clearly loves cinema
One of the first things that stood out to me about Personal Purity Isn’t Enough is that the creator/instructor, Cap Stewart, clearly loves cinema. This isn’t some stodgy old church marme shaking her finger at the youngin’s about the evils of Hollywood. Or, to use more modern slang, this isn’t Karen.
Far from coming across as judgy or condemning, Mr. Stewart is respectful and reasoned. He welcomes and addresses objections about his perspective, using them to further explore the theory himself.
As a homeschooler, this aspect in and of itself makes this course a winner. It’s a primo example of logically examining a topic and having respectful discussion/debate on controversial issues. Although the course doesn’t include actual debate, the instructor models effective thought process and methods of reasoning.
Whether or not you come away agreeing completely with every assertion, when you enroll in this course you will most definitely be challenged to assess your beliefs and examine some new questions.
Keep reading to find out how to get a 40% discount on the course!
An online course for Christian teens and adults
I went through the entire course myself and then pulled clips to share with my husband and boys to get their opinions on it. I’m anxious to tell you what they thought, but before I do, let me lay out the course a bit for you.
There are 10 lessons making up Personal Purity Isn’t Enough, each being a mix of video, audio and text.
Each lesson begins with a video introduction. This will briefly summarize the previous lesson while setting up the new lesson.
The introduction videos are followed by a lengthier audio file that has the feel of listening to a podcast. There is a transcript available for each lesson, if you’d like to read along as well.
Interesting note: When I was sharing the course with my family, my husband commented that he would have preferred the audio portions to be video. Both of our boys couldn’t express their disagreement fast, or vehemently, enough. They loved the podcast vibe and kindly suggested that there was a generational difference in preference and that the course was, perhaps, aimed at a younger demographic.
Questions for Discussion/Meditation are included with each lesson next. These are all Bible based and rich with thought-provoking possibility.
It’s in this section that I really got to thinking about all of the contexts that this course would be useful.
- Personal Study
- Family Devotions
- Small Groups
- Bible Studies
- Homeschool Study Groups
- Men’s Groups
- Women’s Bible Study
- Youth Classes (older teens)
- Young Adult Groups
- Accountability Groups
Finally, each lesson concludes with another short video about a suggested movie to watch that illustrates the theme of the lesson.
I’ve never loved Casablanca (it’s a solid okay in my book) but after watching the video discussing it, I’m intrigued to watch it again with new eyes. The perspective on the characters that Mr. Stewart presented made me re-think my opinion of the entire movie.
This section really impressed my 19 year old son, also. As we went through the lessons, he was anxious to find out what the suggested movie was for each one and commented at the end that he really appreciated the mix of classic and newer choices.
Sitting down with the fam to talk about sex in cinema
My kids are pretty used to awkward conversations. They’re also pretty used to this topic. We have always been open about our worldview on the impact of media and have had ongoing family discussions about boundaries.
Having said that, I realize that the course material may be sensitive to some.
I felt that the instructor handled the topic beautifully. He was direct without being crass. Sensitive without avoiding important discussions.
My whole family agreed with the course description that it is best suited for older teens and adults due to the nature of the topic.
What do teens and young adults think of Personal Purity Isn’t Enough: The Long-Forgotten Secret to Making Scriptural Entertainment Choices ?
Both of my sons gave the course a big thumbs up. (My husband and I loved it as well, but I was pretty sure that would be the case.)
Some things my boys especially liked:
- Cap Stewart’s speaking style was easy to listen to, clear, and engaging.
- He gave multiple examples to make his points.
- Important themes were emphasized and repeated so that you remembered them.
- The focus of the course is on inward change instead of “let’s boycott Hollywood.”
- Discussing gray areas that may call for different decisions for each of us, versus clear black and white issues that we must be willing to make difficult decisions, even sacrifice, for.
- He was factual, logical, and provided lots of evidence.
Anything that gets my fellas talking is a hit in my book
One of the sections of the course that provided some great discussion for our family was the area where he digs into some of the objections he faces when presenting this new perspective.
The question of consent especially got us talking.
Actors and actresses agree to do whatever ends up on screen, after all, don’t they? Why should we feel sorry for them or change our behavior based on their experiences, then?
All of us agreed that he provided some challenging evidence to cause us to rethink our original stance on the issue.
As we finished up our discussion of the course, I think the most striking conclusion we were left with was this:
Those in the industry clearly see sex in cinema for what it is. The fact that it doesn’t seem to change their lives in any way is not the heart of this issue. As Christians, we are answerable for our behavior whether we choose to acknowledge what is going on or not.
Get it at a discount!
This course is well done and the content is rich. I encourage you to check it out. There are pricing plans available for a variety of group sizes.
And from now through December 25, 2020 my readers can get a 40% discount on the $49 individual course by using the coupon code Homeschool
That makes the course just $29 ($20 dollars off).
Click here to find out more ==> Personal Purity Isn’t Enough: The Long-Forgotten Secret to Making Scriptural Entertainment Choices