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Truth, Love & Elizabeth Taylor

"I was 10 years old when I first came to MGM, and I spent the next 18 years of my life behind the walls of that studio," she said. "[I was] a young girl growing up in that strange place, where it's hard to recall what was real and what wasn't." (Elizabeth Taylor)

That’s a telling statement, don’t you think? It points out the challenge of discerning between appearance and reality that everyone faces, but especially our young people. Our culture (particularly the burgeoning entertainment sector of it), barrages us daily with its version of truth through programming that routinely:

. . . glamorizes the abnormal while stigmatizing the normal, (mom, dad & the kids take the biggest hit here with Christianity a close second),

. . . worships external beauty and youth. Accordingly, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons reports that over ten billion dollars was spent on cosmetic surgery last year with breast augmentation continuing to be the leading procedure. Facelifts were up nine percent. Ninety-one percent of the procedures were done on women.

. . . portrays kids as way smarter than their parents (who somehow just managed to luck their way into jobs that provide support for their needy geniuses),

. . . assures us that any problem can be resolved in thirty minutes. This conveys the message that you shouldn’t worry about the consequences of your behavior, no matter how risky it is. Just do it and during the commercial break you can figure some way out,

. . . chooses people for their entertainment value to perform scripted activities that will then be edited for our viewing pleasure and packages it as "reality" tv. (You have to appreciate the irony of this).

As with most things, there is a remnant of good amidst the destructiveness. But what oozes from the dominant element of the entertainment industry has a warped set of values that produces a dysfunctional lifestyle. Two thoughts from John’s first letter come to mind. The first is where he challenges us to be discerning by reminding us, "For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever," (2:16-17). In our culture of transient "truths," we need to lock in on the transcendent values of the kingdom of God and see the fake, phony & pseudo for what it is. 

But there's more. John also writes, "let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth," (3:18). Just as knowledge without love is incomplete (1 Corinthians 8:1-3), so is love without action. Locking into the values of the kingdom means allowing our lives to shaped and molded so that love of the truth culminates in true love for others. This is being salt and light, grace and truth, and the word becoming flesh.  This will draw us to the heart of Jesus, which is where we need to be and what the world needs to see.
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