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June 05, 2008

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La Shawn

But if we're a people set apart, there should be something distinctively different about our lives--even down to the movies we watch and recommend.

Indeed!

I also have a problem with CT recommending movies like this. I've written for CT before and aspire to write a cover story for the magazine, but a little discernment is in order...

Melissa

Thanks Carolyn for this. It is so easy to fall into the world's pattern. Our culture keeps telling us how harmless it is to pursue sex outside of marriage with our eyes and hearts. I can personally attest to the fact that this can be so destructive and I think you are right when you say that this permissive attitude and way of living is a part of what keeps many people single. A few years before I met my husband, I started to buy in to this permissive attitude. I slowly started becoming more and more permissive of shows I watched. This then transfered to permissiveness in clothing I chose to wear and where I allowed my thoughts to go. It made it very hard to enter a marriage "wholly devoted" when the time came. The Lord has been so good to really change my heart and values since then. But we must be so careful and so on guard, whether married or unmarried. Our significance doesn't come from how sexual we are, but from Christ's great love for us in sending His Son. We are always precious to Him! It is so easy to become (as it would seem) slowly and discreetly deceived. Thanks again for addressing this issue. I pray it will be a help to many.

Christina Ethridge

I read your post and then read Camerin's review of the movie.

First and foremost - I was shocked and just a little appalled that this movie was even reviewed on CT and disgusted that the review itself suggests that it's ok to see because it grapples with some issues that we all go through.

I am by no means prude or conservative when it comes to sex within marriage. Sex should be celebrated and thoroughly and repeatedly enjoyed!

I am however, very cognizant of the fact that a movie that condones sex outside of marriage (in fact, it celebrates it), condones activities deplorable to the Lord (lying, hedonistic sexual activities, swearing, over-indulgence, etc.) is a movie we should be turning our backs on. In no way should we be supporting this movie.

I was a brief fan of SATC during the HBO reign. While watching it, I was reminded during every episode that the lives they were living in the movie were poor replica's of happiness and contentment. The one-night stands, excessive drinking, explicit language, hedonistic sexual acts - all lead to the fact that this was not a show pleasing to the Lord and were he sitting next to me - I wouldn't begin to watch this show.

If Camerin wants something that acknowledge's women's sexuality, she should be reading the Song of Solomon and leaning heavily on the Lord for guidance and discernment. Sexuality is to be enjoyed in a marital relationship, not to be shared with millions on screen in sinful relationships. Camerin's review is an attempt to justify behavior that is unacceptable to the Lord.

As you said: 3 I will set before my eyes no vile thing. The deeds of faithless men I hate; they will not cling to me.

Bet

A kind and reasonable reponse, Carolyn. I agree with you. Thanks for tackling this issue. Even though we might like to ignore such films, we're hearing so much about SATC in the media this week that it is good to discuss from a biblical perspective.

KS

Brava, Carolyn! : ) It's not just that this movie glorifies sexual immorality and materialism, it's also tasteless. Read Roger Ebert's review for a laugh. My churchgoing sister saw the movie on the opening weekend, which makes me sad. I take exception to a lot of the reviews in CT.

Chelsea Bass

Thanks for writing this, Carolyn. I really struggle with this show. I have watched the watered-down version on TV, and my college roommates and I used to watch the DVDs of the original. As a new Christian, I guess I found it honest and refreshing. After I became a Christian, no one talked about sex, desire, relationships, and raw emotions with what I thought was a real openness. Why was it so easy to be open with my non-Christian friends, and so hard to do the same with my Christian ones? Sexual struggles and relationship issues don't stop when you become a Christian (or get married for that matter).
I think, once we recognize our sin for what it is, it becomes much more difficult to talk about it. Now, I've developed stronger relationships and have learned that if I'm real, and open, they will be too. We have to fight our sinful flesh that tells us to guard our true selves and pass judgment. Our accountability doesn't work unless we're honest.
I think one of the main reasons this show and movie ring true in the hearts of women is that we long for this type of friendship, for better or worse. I believe that in real life, this can only be found in the Bride of Christ. We know what it is to experience to grace and forgiveness in a way the world does not. Therefore, we can be liberal in giving grace and understanding to our fellow sinners and sisters in Christ.

a sister

Very good post. I've never even been able to sit through a whole S&tC episode - even for the cultural experience. I have other media I consume that I probably shouldn't but that show just strikes me as extraordinarily vapid...

Jessica

I just recently watched Juno, 27 Dresses, and The Jane Austen Book Club. I thought the movies would not be appropriate, but because I wonder if I'm sometimes too old-fashioned or a 'prude' with my movie choices, I decided to watch them and see. Some parts were, yes, entertaining and even truthful but I am so bothered by their casual view of sex. Nearly every romantic movie involves unmarried people sleeping together and relationships that are initiated with sex and acting like it's nothing. What lies! Sex is an incredibly binding and spiritual act and to see it treated so lightly--I just cannot rejoice in a movie like that! I want to watch things that are truthful, refreshing, and pure to my soul.

David A. Porter

Very well said!

diana

I have read both the CT review on SATC, and your comments. I appreciate your viewpoint, and you do bring up some valid concerns, but I also strongly feel I must defend CT for recommending the film.

I cannot emphasize how important I feel it is for Christians to engage with culture. We need to be able to intelligently dialogue with the world around us, so we can have more opportunities to present the gospel.

Films represent our culture and what is going on in it. Good films are about truth. Good films teach you something. As Camerin notes, SATC accurately portrays the struggle of single women in our culture : "Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte, and Miranda, however, show how challenging it really can be for intelligent, accomplished, and admittedly neurotic women to find lasting love. They, unlike many Christians, don't insult my intelligence. Instead they speak to the complexities of relationships in a postmodern age—addressing baby lust, the mommy wars, sexual temptation, dating outside your "class," commitment-phobia, the reluctant desire to be rescued by a man, and the simultaneous fear that you'll lose your own hard-won identity in the process".

We are often guilty as Christians for not honestly dialoguing with one another about the struggles of single womanhood. It's not as easy as it seems, or people perceive it to be; it's hard. This is why SATC is able to garner three out of four stars: even though "materialism and hedonism abound, so does a messy wrestling with complex new realities of life that I wish I saw more of in Christian circles."

That said, I will not be going to see this film. I have seen bits of SATC (the show) before, and have felt sullied. And before reading Camerin's review, I had no intention of seeing the SATC film either. However, her review has caused me to engage with the film, instead of previously blithely dismissing it. And because of her review, and your post, it has caused me to dialogue about the film with others, which in turn has led me to think more deeply about relevant cultural and spiritual issues. In other words, it has challenged and deepened my faith. It has also encouraged me to be more real about who I am and who others are, so I can more honestly dialogue with God and others about my struggles.

This is why I'm thankful for CT and for reviewers like Camerin who aren't afraid to engage with the messiness of our culture through films. Camerin went out there and watched the film for me (not that this qualifies me to have a more in-depth conversation about the film than someone who has actually seen it) ; so I feel more ready to dialogue with others about it. The reality is, the film is doing extremely well at the box office, and some of us will go and see it. Now if it comes up in conversation, with my Christian or non-Christian friends, I feel a lot more prepared to dialogue about it, and hopefully have an opportunity to present the gospel.


Rachael

Thanks so much for this gracious response to a heartbreaking situation. To be honest, I wonder how much responsiblity the church as a whole should take in letting organizations, youth groups and individuals "drink the Kool Aid" without A. calling it out as poison of the worst kind and B. offering and continually promoting a truthful, celebratory, biblical worldview of sexuality from childhood through adolescence, singlehood, marriage and old age. As someone who got married later than some, I often wonder where voices like yours were when I was single and so in need of good counsel and encouragement. And now, after nearly a decade of marriage and with young girls to train, there are so many issues that I wish were talked about from a more positive perspective. When the only supposed approach is SATC (the TBS version so we can all feel more justified in ingesting it), and then we come to our senses and realize we need to "just say no" to that too, it is so hard!! Praying for all my sisters and their daughters that God would help us find a way back to Him in this.

Angela

Right on!

thanks for this perspective!

In Christ,

angela

Sandy

Thank you Carolyn, for addressing this. Well put my friend.

Sandy

Ruth

Carolyn,

Thanks for the post. I applaud your willingness to speak out on this. It's so easy to get pulled in - especially with all the hype there is with this film. I'm reminded that God calls us to holiness (1 Peter 1:16)

xx Ruth

Shannon

Thank you for a great display of kindness towards a friend, Carolyn. On the internet, and as women, it is easy to dig our claws and create the holier-than-thou image.

Although I am now married, I remember growing up in the church where it was treated as if men were the only ones struggling with sexual desire - and even then the answer was "don't do it!" There was no deeper understanding of sexuality. Sure, it was a great thing if you were married, but don't even think about it before then.

Needless to say that didn't help and there weren't a lot of great role models around either. I understand Camerin's desire to have someone talk about sexuality and the woman. And to feel empowered as a woman. Although I was never a SATC girl, I have shows that I've watched where the women were engaged in relationships that were far less than even not hitting the mark of holy. They seemed powerful and confident. Sure of themselves.

We're a different breed from our mothers, I think (I'm 25). What we look for in our female role models is something a little more bold. We think we'll find it in the women on TV. I know we'll find them in our Bibles (Esther, Ruth, Deborah).

I guess I just wanted to defend Camerin to the people commenting here. It's easy to be appalled. It's easy to take a stab at. It's not so easy to try to walk a mile in her shoes and see that everyone makes less than holy choices every day for reasons far more complicated than just our physical desires.

Thanks Carolyn for being kind.

Kaci

I totally agree and am baffled as to why so many of my Christian girl friends are so caught up in this wave of adoration for SATC.

Libby

Hi Carolyn,

Thank you for a wonderful and God honoring post. The bible is very clear on what we, as christians, should not be watching or "setting before our eyes". Clearly, SATC is a product of a lost and dying world and it's themes and subject matter violate God's law on many levels. Sure, I'm single and struggle with lonliness and the desire for physical affection, but that does not give me carte blanche to watch something that I would not watch with Jesus sitting there in the room with me (which, in fact, He is).

I have seen Christianity Today become more and more liberal in their publications and this saddens me. I believe it is a symptom of the much greater problem of worldliness and sin creeping into the Church. Paul did not "engage" the culture, but cried out to the culture to repent of it's wickedness and be saved.

Libby Guidry

Ronnica

Thank you for this post. I never have been a fan of SATC and had no intentions of going to see the movie, but hadn't realized how bad it was until I read this and the original review that tries to play down how bad it was (which just made me realize that I should NEVER see it). It's amazing to me how many Christians don't see what the big deal is with allowing themselves to partake of such wickedness and filth.

Leslie

Amen, Amen, and Amen! Well said, Carolyn!

Angela

Wow! I agree with the points you brought up, Carolyn. I am also SHOCKED that Christianity Today, a magazine I subscribe to and consult regularly, would give any "stars" to a movie such as Sex In The City. I guess I have not used as much discernment with this publication as I should.

I've honestly had to struggle with deciding not to see this movie. Several of my girlfriends - women that authentically love our Lord - were ecstatic at the idea of the TV show being made into a movie. So much so that they bought tickets in advance for the 12am showing when it opened. I've only watched the "watered down" version on broadcast TV. Though I enjoy enduring stories, I cannot justify exposing my mind/spirit/heart to this show anymore. I recently sat with a friend who owns the entire series on DVD and watched one episode, the series finale. At the end, my friend was teary eyed and so enthusiastic about seeing the movie, while I sat in shock and honestly, shame. I was ashamed that I allowed the soft porn to not only enter my mind, but that I also condoned it by not speaking up about it with my friend.

This is a real problem with our culture and one has to wonder how much worse this problem will get...

Lisa

Thanks for the post, although i do feel that perhaps you have ignored some other areas from the film writing off some of the crucial messages it gives.
I feel too many people take Sex and the City at face value....and don't notice that actually there are a lot of underlining morals.
I saw the film last weekend, and the only message i took away with me was that of forgiveness....which had made a huge impression on me especially since i was leading worship the next morning on the topic of 'forgive and be forgiven'.

I do agree that the showing of casual sex is not best for single christians....but as a single teenage Christian it did not create that impression to me.

Thank you for your article, it cirtainly made me challenge my own thoughts.

Nicky

Hi Carolyn
I'm a new reader of your blog and I wanted to thank you for your frank opinions which are so often backed up by scripture in context. I am a young single woman who has commited herself to waiting on God for the right man, and like you you said, the wait is long. But the more concious I become of what I am watching the more I realise how immune to sin society has become because of the (possibly) thousands of references to sexual sin, swearing, lying, cheating and death that we encounter in the hours of TV we watch. And having those images in my mind is not something I want to deal with later and have to repent for exposing myself to.

Thanks again for being an open, honest voice speaking to the women of God living in the 21st century!

Regards
Nicky Dorrington

Lydia

Amen sister!

"For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness" I Thess 4:7

Les Prouty

Carolyn, thanks for your comments. We surely need mor of us to speak up about the hedonistic inroads already made into our evangelical world. Your comments were straightforward and seasoned with grace.

Jan

I never did watch Sex in the City when it was on TV & now there is a new TV series/Swing Time about wife/husband swapping (sexually) in the 70's - when will this ever stop - it just gets worse every year. Desperate housewives started some of this yuk & is so like the world & everyone just thinks it's funny - till it happens to them. :( Then there are the Soap Operas that are soft porn too.

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