Thursday, December 13, 2007

The Question to Ask

If we are ready to condemn this one film as "anti-Christian," we should also be asking, "What in my life is 'pro-Christian'? What else, besides my viewing habits, needs to change to reflect the light of Christ in my life?" (Fr. Mark Leondis, HT Dixie)
I've asked the question enough times, especially when I was a child, "What's wrong with this?" Can't this be ok?" As an adult--a mature Christian in theory--I sometimes catch myself rationalizing instead of asking. And I hear the question often enough, and more often implied, "What's wrong with that? Are you suggesting a Christian cannot do such-and-such?"

To be sure, we have our "Christian Freedom" and all. Christ has set us free; we can be slaves no longer (Rom. 6:6). But we easily abuse this freedom as an excuse to dabble in what is harmful to us. Fr. Mark is right. Instead of asking, "Is this sin?" or "Can't I do this?" or "What's wrong with this?" the question that will help us most is, "What can I do to help my faith? Is this something that will make me more Christ-like in thought, word, and deed? Will this help my neighbor? Will this give me Christian, godly joy, or worldly, sensual joy?"

Fr. Jonathan Tobias, in writing about Second Life and the gaming culture, put it this way:
One should not begin his ethical thinking with the question, "What is wrong with my having a libertine MySpace page, or shooting Nazis in Wolfenstein?" Instead, he should begin with the question, "What is right with it? Does it deepen my love for God and my fellow man? Does it help me control my passions, and does it open my heart more to receiving grace?" (full text here)
This is the strongest medicine to heal our diseased souls. But it is also the hardest question to ask when you feel like shooting some pixelated Nazis or ogling women. It is the hardest question to ask when you are bored and ready for some Bruce Willis or Jason Bourne. Everything in us arises and says, "I'm too tired. I can't think. I need something mindless." This should be our first clue that sin is having its way.


  1. Doorman-Priest said...

    To borrow a phrase from the gay debate, if you came out as a Christian, would anyone notice?

    If Christian discipleship was illegal, would there be enough evidence to convict you?