Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Ignorance is Bliss?

What do you do when you realize that the music you've been singing out loud in the shower has some questionable lyrics?  How about when your coworker forwards you an email that says you should never buy from this not-so-short list of companies who support Planned Parenthood?  Or maybe your pastor mentions in his homily how we really shouldn't be watching some of the shows on tv because of the lies and propaganda they push.  What if you find out that the ingredients in your favorite dessert are cancer causing, or hear that the shampoo you use is terrible for the environment?

I've always maintained the staunch position of Don't Ask, Don't Tell when it comes to bad news.  If I don't ask what's going on in the world, then don't tell me.  Phil is my phil-ter when it comes to what I need to know to be a semi-educated adult in our society.  He lets me know what politics I should be concerned about and what is going on in the world. He does not let me know about the crazy man in the town next to ours that raped a five year old in the public library (terribly true story) because I can't handle news like that.  I know bad things happen but I want to know as little detail as possible so that I can sleep at night.

This ignorance is bliss policy card I hold comes even more into play when there's a morality element involved.  For instance, I've been on an Adam Levine kick lately.  His songs are so catchy and great to sing along to in the car, plus he's easy on the eyes and seems nice on tv. 
But when I found myself singing along to his newest song and realized that I am glorifying a man having a one night stand with a woman who's mean to him, I realize I should not be listening to this.  Sure, just singing a song doesn't make me go out and have a one night stand, but maybe over time the bouncing beat will make that situation seem a little less sinful and a little more fun? 

And don't even get me started on the tv shows available right now.  Where have the days of Full House and Family Matters gone?  It seems every show has the token gay couple, unmarried parents, alcoholic Aunt, cheating Mom, absentee Dad, violent Uncle.  Look, I understand that art imitates life, but should I be supporting and glorifying art that imitates lifestyles I do not agree with?  Just because you call it "normal" doesn't mean it's right. 
I love watching shows where the characters have vices and temptations that they fight to overcome in order to be better.  What I don't like is shows that portray these immoral acts as good.  Whatever happened to good overcoming evil instead of just showing evil and calling it good?

When I was a freshman at good old Steubie U, I remember a sign in the common room (the only place you could watch tv back then) that read "Would Mary Watch This?"  It's a spin on the whole WWJD mentality.  It used to drive me bonkers because Mary didn't even have a tv ;)  And it wasn't the only reminder.  When I was getting dressed I would pass by the mirror in the hallway with a sign that read "Would Mary Wear This?" and the rebellious 18 year-old in me would think "Um, no, Mary would not wear pants and a button down shirt because they didn't even have those clothes available, but it doesn't make what I'm wearing inappropriate!" 
But now I see that it means would Mary (insert any idol/mentor/hero) wear that if she were alive today?  Would she watch this show if she were sitting on the couch next to me now?  See how much smarter I've become since I got those degrees? Ha! 

Now that I'm a Momma Bear, whenever my children are around I am suddenly aware of all of the  objectionable music, inappropriate shows and unhealthy foods that surround them.  I would never want them to be exposed to immoral ideas presented as normal, acceptable, or even good.  I don't let them eat sweets all day, I make sure they exercise and brush their teeth and say their prayers. 
I want to protect them (body and soul) until they are wise enough to make their own educated decisions. 

And it finally dawns on me...Mary (our Heavenly Momma Bear) wants to protect my body and soul as much as I want to protect my children. 
If I won't let my kids watch/listen/eat/play with something, why should I?  I can't fall back on being ignorant to things that are detrimental to my soul.  I can't knowingly support sinful ways while claiming Heaven is my goal.  While ignorance may be blissful in this life, faithful stewardship promises eternal bliss in the next.


  1. I've been thinking this same way. We bought some DVD's of Leave it to Beaver and The Cosby Show. We watch them as a family and the kids love it. My husband recently bought me the new Maroon 5 CD for my birthday. I just love Adam Levine too!

  2. I have had the exact same dilemma in the last few days with Adam Levine and Maroon 5!! The songs are so catchy and fun to sing to, but when I listen to the lyrics or look them up, their message saddens me (or the music videos for that matter) and I realize that I personally should not attach myself to the song (downloading it on iTunes, watching it on youtube) - I have just noticed a negative trend in my personal life, that when I allow myself to listen to or watch things that are immoral, I notice a shift in my attitude towards those immoral things that is for the worse, unfortunately. I become somewhat desensitized. Unfortunately, evil knows how to tempt us and get to us through things that seem pleasurable!!

  3. We have been loving that song Payphone by Maroon 5 so I decided to check out the video on YouTube. Completely different lyrics in that version. Every other word is a curse word. When I was a kid I wasn't allowed to watch Gilligan's Island b/c my parent's didn't like the way Ginger dressed. How funny compared to what's on TV today! It's a struggle for me that's for sure b/c we are big TV people here.

  4. This is a really good post and super challenging. It is something I go back and forth with all.the.time. BUT, that being said, I know what is right. The example I give when I speak to teens about this is when I first started in Ministry. I was listening to the 'RENT' soundtrack a lot and had mentioned to a co-worker that I was excited to go see the show. Well, a teen overheard me and said, 'Miss Buckley, if you are getting tickets, would you mind ordering a couple more for me and a friend. We were planning on going anyway, and now we can sit together'. (clearly, I was still figuring out appropriate boundaries). Anyway, I had a HUGE revelation. There was NO WAY I would go see that show, sitting next to a teen. Now, I at least try to model my life in a way that would be consistent across the board. What is amazing is the amount of people, however, that justify listening to things/watching things/joking about things that they would NEVER do in front of their children or those connected to their ministries. When I have brought up the topic, some people seem to disagree with me (it is okay to behave one way in front of some people/ and another in front of others). Very interesting and challenging stuff.

  5. I was nodding my head all the way through this post! So many of these things have been on my mind lately. We have switched to klove radio in the car and house now. I know that we may have to correct a few of the things picked up on klove (once saved always saved) but for the most part it's better than pop radio. It's hard though, just going out in public I want to put blinders and head phones on my girls to protect them!
    oh and ps: Eric is my phil-ter too, for the same reason!

  6. the music thing has been an issues here for awhile since my eldest loves pop music and always has...actually all the girls love to sing and dance. But so many of the songs are inappropriate. there are a few that i draw the line on and turn the station, then there are some that i say this is a good sing but it would be better without these particular words...then maybe 1% of pop is totally fine. Its terrible since when I was younger I remember listening and loving music and it was not this bad. Now the songs are just trash and about horrible depressing things if you listen. Music used to be more fun and hopeful and just about dancing.

    full house and family matters is on early in the morning here before we leave on nick i think. its also on at 8pm i think?? on nick at nite?? my kids love those shows. we actually talked about it yesterday that how those shows were better since there wasn't any bad stuff in it.

    years ago scott hahn was asked if he let his kids watch and listen to modern music and he said he did in moderation. In his opinion he thought it was better to embrace it and discuss why it was wrong instead of not knowing what is going on out there in the world.

    although, in terms of myself, I don't watch hardly any prime time tv since it makes me too uncomfortable with the kids around...i just don't understand how some parents can watch "snookie" or whatever her name is from jersey shore in front of their kids...lol. I just can't do it.

  7. I'm the biggest hypocrite about this. When it's something I don't like (which covers the majority of current music of any genre and 99% of TV/movies), I'm all "garbage in/garbage out, you need to feed your soul with even more care than you do your body, and all that junk is poisoning your soul."

    Then Walking Dead comes on, or that horrible Ke$ha song about brushing your teeth with a bottle of whisky or whatever, and I'm all, "Hey, I can't engage the secular world if I keep myself in a pop culture bubble! Wheeeeeeeee!!!!!"

    I agree with you on the constant stream of current events. Firstly, because something like learning about a child being raped is already we already know is bad and you can find other common ground with people than such senseless, horrifying misery. And secondly, I really think that non-religious people have replaced God with politics, and all this breathless 24/7 consumption of it isn't about being an intelligent member of the culture, it's being a religious zealot.

    (but Walking Dead is a really good show)

  8. I am a total nerd when it comes to this stuff. About 98% of the time, I only listed to Christian music. My ipod is loaded with pop music, but all of it is music I would not mind my kids listening to. I do not listen to the radio or even know what is popular right now. I know, I am a nerd and I am ok with that.

    We do not have cable, so on a good day we may get 2 channels, so even watching questionable shows is a challenge. I have done it and found
    The New Normal" hilarious in a disturbing way. But, I have not watched it since. Our house is small and the boys can hear the TV from their room . . . our rule is that if we worry about the boys hearing it and have to turn the volume down to a whisper, then we probably should not be watching it.

    I think it is so important that we know the pop culture at large. That we know what is popular and what most people in America "live on", but I do think that it can affect us negatively if we engaged it. I get affected by music and its messages, so I am very caerful about what I allow myself to hear.

  9. I loved, loved, loved, the first season of Glee. Loved it! And mostly I loved the music and even, I will admit, the soap opera plots. And I watched it even though one of the main characters was pregnant and in high school (because hey - that happens). But then the show got popular and everyone was watching it and all of a sudden everyone was having sex even though this was supposed to be about high school kids. I had to stop watching it because it was just too filthy.

    The devil doesn't need much wiggle room to get into your heart and take up residence.

  10. So, you acknowledged this, but did not say what you were going to do....

    I feel the same way...but am conflicted.
    We need balance. I have a friend who won't watch things her kids can't watch...so no PG-13's....

    I listened to only Christian music for years, but this past year or 2 have started listening to other stuff, mostly for good dancing music, or good walking music to put on my i-pod....like I admit I like Lady Gaga...but don't want my kids listening. I"d rather my kids listen to Crystal Gayle, but let's face it, even some of her songs, "Talking in your sleep" well, if we listen to the lyrics, really listen they are not so good. Hey, I used to listen to Madonna...not but didn't really listen, I just liked the beat.

    Balance...Balance is the key, right?

    How are WE effected by what WE listen to? Or what WE watch? Let's face it, Christian music doesn't have that much that is good to dance to...there's some, like Toby Mac and a few others, but not as much as the pop music out there. I recently bought a Kids Bop CD for the girls, because my girls love to dance and sing....All the popular pop songs, the words are changed to be good...kind of funny. But to hear some of the real lyrics come out of my girls mouths...well, it causes pause that's for sure. Like "Glad You Came" by I think The Wanted... something about turning out the lights and looking well on me....not good coming out of the mouths of babes...but I sure like to dance and walk to that song!!!

    Is it the devil tricking us into thinking evil is good?

    I remember going to a double feature with my husband many years ago, before kiddos, we sat down and in front of us were 2 priests (very liberal priests in our diocese, but that's beside the point) I caught myself judging them for laughing (loudly) at not wholesome parts (I think the movie was In and Out) Then, I went home and prayed about it and realized that they are human, like me. I was there too. Who was I to judge them? Why was it ok in my mind to see a movie like that and not ok for them to?

    We've all seen "Friends" and I sure wouldn't want my kids to see that show....

    I gave up TV for about 7years...before I married Tom and until 9-11, when we decided we should keep up on the "news"--yeah, right....hardly watch the news. Boy was I shocked at how much TV had changed in that 7 years!!

    Great topic!!

  11. Thank you for writing this, Colleen. This is something I am really struggling with. My husband and I got rid of cable/dish almost a year ago and our lives have greatly improved because of it. But some of my trashy shows are still online and it's not something that is easy to let go!

    It's so encouraging to hear other moms struggling with this and striving to improve! I really loved your line,

    "I love watching shows where the characters have vices and temptations that they fight to overcome in order to be better. What I don't like is shows that portray these immoral acts as good. Whatever happened to good overcoming evil instead of just showing evil and calling it good?"

    I think this is a very important distinction to make. When I watch old movies, I have often noticed that the negative morals and character traits were portrayed as just that- negative! Whereas now we live in an age or moral relativity where nothing can ever be considered wrong or better or worse than anything else.

  12. Kathleen couldnt watch Gilligans Island...well I couldn't watch "The Facts of Life". That is hilarious.
    I love this post and will look forward to the day you have teens and can give my insight on how the culture can and will form them.

  13. Excellent! Many people justify the beat, lyric, sight, magazine, etc. because our society says it's okay. You seem to have such a RIGHT view of this, not only for your children, but for yourself as well.

  14. Beautiful and well put! We stopped getting cable almost 4 years ago, and I'm so glad we made that choice! We are making an effort not to let society choose what comes into our home. It is almost hard to believe some of the shows that are on now that people have just gotten used to.
    I can't watch the news either. I'd never sleep a wink if I did.
    XO You are an awesome Mommy!

  15. I've been thinking a LOT about these very things. I don't watch a lot of TV. Actually . . . I don't watch any TV. Typically if the TV is on, we're watching a movie. I could easily easily get rid of cable. HOWEVER, the books available to read, the songs that come on the radio . . .I've got to be careful. I remember Beth Moore saying one time that even Christian Romance books can be questionable, because if it sets you up to believe that men are really that romantic and wonderful, you could have a letdown in your own life :) And I'm SO with you. Sometimes Jeremy will want to tell me a story, and I always have to ask if I will be able to handle it . . . because most times I can't. I just like to be blissfully unaware.

  16. This hit home for me. Thanks for the reminder!

  17. Fantastic post! I am so tired of the "because I'm old enough to know the difference between what is right and wrong" argument that justifies watching/listening/reading whatever happens to be popular at the time. It just isn't true. The more we immerse ourselves into something, the more we become it. Good for you for recognizing that!

    We have a little picture of Jesus on our television...would Jesus watch this with you? Same idea as your college days :-)


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