An advertisement for a trip to Yellowstone National Park

By John Pierce

My daughters and I caught the movie Trouble with the Curve on Saturday — the day after attending the big celebration of Chipper Jones’ baseball career exclusively with the Atlanta Braves.

I noted how Clint Eastwood’s character in the film might be somewhat familiar to them: a grumpy old man who taught his daughter to love baseball. They nodded in more agreement than I’d hoped.

Later, Abigail, the younger, said I wasn’t always grumpy — but she had been watching family videos from back when I had “a lot more hair and it was all the same color.”

She and I were seeing the movie for the second time. But we wanted Meredith, willing to miss her first home football game since enrolling at the University of Georgia last year in order to say goodbye to the switch-hitting third baseman, to see it with us.

Not only was the film about baseball and a father-daughter relationship, it was set in some places that are very familiar to us. Meredith pointed out the outdoor seating along College Avenue in Athens, Ga., where she gathers each Tuesday and Thursday. She said she’d take me to the restaurant sometime where the clogging scene was filmed. Then there were baseball stadiums in Macon and Atlanta that we frequent, or have in the past.

By today’s low standards, the film was rather mild — although with courser language than necessary, which got us talking about such matters. Then Meredith made a comment that set my mind on course for a couple of days.

As a movie buff, she often reads various reviews when new films are coming out. But she added that she sometimes looks at “Christian reviews” aimed at guiding parents. She finds them entertaining in their alarmism.

Harry Potter got a bad rap for being shown in the bathtub, she said with a laugh. I don’t recall the other “offensives” she mentioned. I was already going down the mental road of thinking about the larger affects of Christian alarmists.

There are legitimate concerns about what media our children are exposed to — especially in what volume and at what age. And some things being churned out are not appropriate for anyone who seeks to live in a constructive way. But some Christians do seem to specialize in overreaction. 

The removal of the movie, The Blind Side, from the shelves of LifeWay Stores — after a preacher in Florida made that his great crusade for Southern Baptists last year — is just one example. It didn’t fit in his tidy little “Christian world,” therefore it shouldn’t fit in anyone else’s.

The alternative to overreaction is not simply to never challenge the values of a culture that is often in conflict with those things so many people of faith (various faiths) value. It just seems that, in a world filled with so much injustice, abuse and pain, we would choose our battles more carefully.

Standing up to what offends our sensitivities can sometime reveal our self-centeredness more than our concern for those who suffer and have little power of their own.

 

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