As Neil Postman famously said, we are “amusing ourselves to death” in the Western world. That is true and yet that doesn’t mean a Christian’s life must be void of entertainment. Entertainment, in and of itself, is not evil. Good entertainment can provide rest, delight, and pleasure; and there is nothing wrong with this. You don’t have to turn your gardening sheers into hair clippers, hawk your television set for a new commentary set, or only cook for utilitarian purposes. However, if I can restate Postman’s famous line in more gripping terms, we don’t want to amuse ourselves unto death. Therefore, I would propose these ten governing principles for our approach to entertainment as Christians:
- Nothing should be more pleasurable to my soul than a view of Christ (John 1:14; Eph. 1:18; 1 John 3:1-3; 1 Cor. 13:12-13; 2 Peter 1:16-18). Therefore, Christ will be the realm and object in which I find my greatest rest, delight, and pleasure.
- There should be no rest, delight, or pleasure in anything that would obstruct or obscure this view. Therefore, all entertainment that would obstruct or obscure my view of Christ is no entertainment to me.
- Anything I have previously found rest, delight, or pleasure in and now find obscures my view of Christ should be thrown off immediately. Therefore, I will continually analyze my entertainment choices to determine if they are still appropriate or should be discarded.
- This culture’s influential consistent message that fun and enjoyment are worthy chief ends is a hopeless quest. Therefore, I will guard my soul, heart, and mind from this persistent cry.
- There is only one chief end (1 Cor. 10:31) worthy of my pursuit. Therefore, I must be able to say truthfully that the entertainment choices I have made can and are being done to the glory of God.
- I am not my own, I have been bought with a price and must glorify God in my body (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). Therefore, I will not look like the world in my entertainment choices.
- I am a complex being including body and soul. Therefore, I need to take time for recreation, enjoyment, rest, etc. for the sake of my body or my soul will suffer. Likewise, I must take time for my soul or my body will suffer.
- I have been given limited time in this life. Therefore, I will not lose one moment, but use all that has been given to me in a profitable way.
- Godliness is not equal to moroseness. Therefore, I will find things that give me rest, delight my soul, fill my mind with pleasure, and put a smile on my face.
- All good gifts come from above. Therefore, I will rest in good things, delight in good things, and find pleasure in good things without any sense of guilt.
As Christians, we don’t have to abandon entertainment. We don’t have to limit our television watching to documentaries, disguise our vacation with a convenient trip to see relatives on the way, or push our fiction books to the back corner of the shelf. We just have to be wise in what we choose to entertain ourselves with and how we approach that entertainment. And then we can laugh, fantasize, and play to the glory of God and our enjoyment. Enjoy Mickey Mouse with your kids. Take in a ball game with your spouse. Have a few friends over to enjoy some good food. Laugh, smile, rest, delight, find pleasure–it’s o.k. for a Christian. Actually, it’s more than o.k.–it is good and right.