Actor and director, Tim Reid, spoke at an event at my job recently on the evolution of the entertainment industry. It was the most intriguing talk I’ve probably ever heard, outside of a church sermon.
Most of us look at entertainment as a mindless way to relax, enjoy ourselves, and spend time with family. We get a good laugh from sitcoms and are drawn in to dramas as if they were real. We connect with characters and immerse ourselves in their stories.
What we often don’t realize is all art is propaganda. All entertainment pushes a message to shape our mindset and determine our behavior. As Reid put it, he realized he wasn’t in the entertainment business, but the propaganda business. The propaganda of entertainment often portrays a perception that’s contrary to reality. This becomes a problem when we accept those perceptions, instead of challenging them with reality. Reid believes his purpose is to show the reality of people and communities he’s passionate about. We can’t allow entertainment via media, Hollywood, or hip-hop to tell us who we are and how to act, nor can we allow these venues to shape our opinions of others.
So what about the Christian community? How are we portrayed? What perception is shown? Many times the news media portrays Christian leaders as greedy preachers taking advantage of their naive congregations. They make Christian businessman and reality stars seem bigoted and hateful. TV and film shows Christians as hypocritical, narrow-minded, and antiquated. This is Hollywood’s perspective. This is what the media wants people to believe so they act a certain way toward Christians.
But the reality is much different. The reality is what I live every day… not just myself, but those around me and those I’m connected to beyond my inner circle. The reality is that Christians are loving and compassionate. No, not everyone is perfect, but we’re pursuing a purity that pushes us to live our lives as Christ tells us. We’re helping our communities and sharing a message of hope that is for everyone.
Like Reid, I want to show the reality of something I’m passionate about – Jesus Christ.