Monday, August 26, 2013

Why I Didn't Watch The VMA's Last Night. . . .

Every year at this time I stay up really, really late. . . and I get up really, really early. That's the way it's been now since 1984. That's because I stay up late to watch the annual MTV Video Music Awards. . . and I get up early the next morning to respond. Not this year. And in case you think I'm turning my back on fulfilling my calling and role as a culture-watcher. . . don't worry. I'll be carefully watching the VMA's today. I just couldn't bring myself to do it last night. And there's good reason. . . .

I wanted to sleep last night. .  .
and this wasn't going to help!
Over the years I've been asked regularly by cautious Christians about the best practices that culture-watchers should adopt. Questions like "how far is too far?" and "should I really expose myself to that sort of stuff?" I worked hard to answer many of these questions and even some objections to culture-watching in my book Engaging the Soul of Youth Culture. But what drove me last night to keep the TV off was a number of factors. Yes, I am adamant about the fact that the MTV VMA's offer one of the most concentrated windows into the world of today's youth culture. In fact, paying attention to who and what our kids are paying attention to gives us tremendous insights into just what we need to be paying attention to in our kids' lives. Still, I didn't watch. Why?

 First, yesterday I had experienced a refreshing Sabbath. It had been a good day of worship, coming apart from the normal activities of the week, and experiencing some rest. I didn't want to ruin that.

Second, I was alone. My wife is gone for a few days tending to a family member. I benefit from being able to process what I watch with her. Watching the VMA's typically makes my mind spin, and last night I didn't want to have to do that alone.

And finally, I always tell people to exercise great caution in knowing where their "line" is. In other words, don't go where you can't go at a time when you know you can't go there. Last night, I couldn't go there. . . basically because I wanted to be able to sleep.

So this morning, rather than blogging on what I saw when I watched last night's VMAs, I thought it would be more helpful to blog about why I didn't watch last night's VMAs. I want to encourage you all to be sensitive to the rhythm and flow of your own life, then tune in or tune out culture accordingly.

Today, I'm ready to watch. . .  and tomorrow I'll blog on what I see.


Anonymous said...

Good luck. This year was really disturbing. it takes a lot for me to say that.

Ron said...

I think you will be rightly horrified.

Maurie said...

Walt, I am one of those people with whom you had that conversation about the line. Over the years, I have appreciated your faithfulness to your three callings--to know where youth are today so you could help parents know where their kids are, to be a faithful husband, and to be a Christ-follower. Your decision as to when you can watch MTV Awards is a great example. I will continue to pray for you as your vocation-calling must, at times, make the second callings more challenging. May the Lord and the youth who watch you continue to find you faithful.