The Importance of Reflection

Last night, my wife and I watched Sex and the City 2.  Now, I’m not a fan of “chick flicks” so you can imagine the serving mood I was in.  You see, I don’t care for movies like this, and she knows that.  But that’s not the point.  I watch things like this, admittedly not enough, because I love her more than anything in this world and I want to spend time with her (…and she selflessly watches all the movies that I like).

Something unexpected happened as a result of watching the movie.  I learned something.  I never thought Carrie Bradshaw and her crew would teach me something, but that’s how it work sometimes I suppose.  This movie gives insight into all of the things we are up against in this world, especially as Christians.  Now, I enjoyed watching this movie with my wife, don’t get me wrong.  I didn’t watch it so I could go on a self-righteous rant, either.  We see and read the things we do for a reason – nothing is irrelevant in life.  We must be willing to reflect on the things we do end up spending our time on.

The movie begins with all of the girls attending a wedding for their two gay friends in New York city.  To the movie’s credit, it showed some glimpses into the challenges of being a parent in the scenes during the rehearsal.  From there, Samantha is offered the opportunity to go to Abu Dhabi to meet with a hotel owner about a PR campaign, and she is invited to being her 3 best friends with her.  Everything, from the plane to the cars to the hotel was extravagant.  The plot from there on included one character fighting back thoughts in her mind of a husband cheating on her with a nanny while she was gone; one character contemplating what it means to be married and thinking about taking 2 days a week off from her marriage; and another character consumed with finding her sex drive after her hormone pills were taken by customs agents upon arrival in the Middle East.

What do we make of all this?  Perhaps, like most people that consume entertainment, the answer is nothing.  That would be the most dangerous answer.  We must be reflective of what we consume.  How else are we to be guarded against the Evil One?  We need to be grounded in an understanding of the Bible at the very least, so we can understand and discern what is being fed to us.  James Emery White writes about this in his book A Mind for God,

“…the starting point of our education is biblical literacy….But we are always one generation away from biblical illiteracy.  Learning the Bible is an ongoing challenge that lies in the vanguard of our commitment to education.  We simply must become students of the Scriptures, sitting under teachers devoted to the Scriptures and forming a deep understanding of God’s Word.”

For example, in the movie there are scenes where Carrie, the main character, and her husband talk about taking 2 days off from their marriage a week and doing the things they want to do.  They say they have the luxury of no kids, so they can make their marriage whatever they want.  For my wife and I, this is not hard to process.  “Of course, that would never work,” we say.  But we have a vision of marriage that is rooted in the Bible, one where we are fully devoted to each other and would never dream of such nonsense.  What about the people who don’t share those views?  Or maybe you would be one of those people who might actually share our views, but since you did not take the time to think about anything you saw, you took everything in by osmosis.  I am beginning to be more and more convinced that people, adults as well as children, will absorb information and slowly emulate that information without reflection. Thinking and reflecting are essential to creating a Christian worldview.  Without them, you will be assimilated into the world.  And as James says in chapter 4,

You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.

We must be more prepared to handle the subtle worldly challenges we face on a day-to-day basis.

This is best summed up in another quote from James White’s A Mind for God,

“To reflect means to give thought to something to such a degree that it brings some kind of realization – an aha moment.  It takes an idea and lives with it until it is burned deep within.  It takes a question and, like Jacob wrestling with the angel, does not let it go until some form of answer emerges.  Christian reflection takes what is read, taught, suggested and announced, and brings it into confrontation with a biblical worldview.  It is thinking Christianly.”

Sources:

A Mind for God, InterVarsity Press, James Emery White

Sex and the City 2, directed by Michael Patrick King

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