Thursday, March 8, 2007

Meat or Vegetables?

... "One man's faith allows him to eat everything," the apostle Paul said in Romans 14:2, "but another man, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables." The responsibility lies with the diners to attend to their conscience, know their weaknesses and steer clear of damaging choices.

Similarly, each of us must be sensitive to our fellow diners. In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus says, "Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to sin! Such things must come, but woe to the man through whom they come!" (18:7) Sadly, there are some little ones and weaker brothers who fancy themselves to be the strong ones, readily denouncing rather than just cautioning those interested in meat. Imagine a child lecturing an adult about matters requiring maturity and you might understand why some moviegoers roll their eyes when self-righteous Christians confront them on what they choose to watch. Their selections may be complicated and even dangerous, but that does not always mean that the viewers are spiritually ignorant or rebellious.

It's a challenge for me as a film critic to help weaker brothers avoid films that might pose a threat to them. I need to be extremely cautious, taking care to educate readers about what dangers they might encounter. But it would be an equally damaging response if I were to condemn all films that contain potentially offensive elements or to burden my examination and appreciation with catalogues of things that could trouble someone else.

If your friend has a peanut allergy, don't serve him or her a peanut butter sandwich. At the same time, don't protest stores that sell peanut butter. If we decide that the best way to avoid being a stumbling block is to insist on abstinence from anything that could possibly be a temptation, we bind up the body, confining everyone to the limitations of the weaker brothers. The goal should be growth and strength, not mere safety.
Through a Screen Darkly by Jeffrey Overstreet
Indeed yes. I couldn't have said it better myself. Which is why I posted this excerpt.

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