Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Catalyst Blogging

I'll be doing my best to blog my trip to California for Origins and Catalyst West Coast this week! Check back for daily updates and musings (as long as the hotel Wi-Fi works).


  1. As a youth pastor who occasionally reads through your blog, I must say I am somewhat confused and saddened on your stance towards movies that are completely inappropriate for Christian youth. For example, you speak about the Dark knight(a pg-13 movie) with your YG. So you advocate that junior highers attend a PG-13 movie? You also review movies that have sexual content, nudity, graphic violence. Do you do this because you figure none of that stuff can corrupt you or the youth you lead? Do You tell your wife and yourself that nudity and sexual content doesn't affect you? You're a guy of course it effects you. If you advocate a movie that is inappropriate then how do you tell your teens to not go to this movie or to remain pure in an unpure society. When you consistently dabble with things of Satan as a leader you are making yourself a BIG target to the enemy. Or maybe he already thinks your harmless because of your need to let others know that somehow you are culturally relevant because you have seen the latest spew from Hollywood. If he doesn't attack you he WILL attack youth who think your choice in movies is ok for them.
    Steve Masin

  2. @Steve, if you've read my blog for awhile, you'll know that I advocate using wisdom, discernment, self-control, and a desire to seek out the truth and beauty of God when watching films. I've never advocated on this blog that a junior higher attend a PG-13 movie, or any movie for that matter. I have advocated to the students I minister with to be obedient to their parents by following their rules for watching movies. I would much rather speak about The Dark Knight and help junior high students navigate the cultural messages they're receiving through a Biblical framework rather than have them avoid or condemn culture.

    I don't pretend like sexual content and nudity doesn't affect me. It does, which is why I'm careful about the films I watch and I openly dialogue with my wife about any content that may come up. I'm not going to live the ostrich lifestyle you advocate by sticking my head in the sand and avoid talking about difficult issues with students or with my wife. I'm not seeking to be culturally relevant; I'm simply trying to help students use wisdom and discernment in their lives. I seek a balance between testing everything and holding onto the good (1 Thess 5) and remaining unstained by the world (James 1). As for Satan, I'm well aware of his schemes, which is why I talked about The Dark Knight in the first place with students and addressed the existence of Satan in our world. Please be careful in the future when accusing me or any other leader of being used by Satan in students' lives.

  3. I see "do as I say not as I do, until you have wisdom and discernment..." Of course you realize that junior highers usually lack those things so expecting that of them when it comes to things you promote seems a bit naive.
    Your response is what I figured it would be defending what you do instead of thinking maybe you should do something different. You accused me of two specific things that no where showed up in my post. You accused me of putting my head in the sand. Because I question you about your promotion of movies doesn't mean I don't watch movies. I choose to be careful in sharing things with others because I don't want to make someone unkowingly stumble. Your promotion of movies for example assumes that junior highers and the parents who parent them are doing great and don't struggle with things of the world.
    You also accuse me of saying you are being used by satan. Sorry no such thing. If anything I think you are being naive again in thinking you can simply put out your opinion on a movie and then expect teens and such to use discernment and listen to mommy and daddy. You are a role model and as such they will listen to you more than their parents. So I guess if you can watch a movie and look over and say "Jesus, this is a great movie and i'm not sorry about the nudity and language, I'm glad you're here with me..." then we have nothing further to discuss. I suppose I could start a blog about great beers or bars and also blog about how Christ helps me minister to teens and that would be okay based on your thinking. I guess I don't think it would be.


  4. @Steve, can you give me a specific example of movies I've promoted to junior high students on my blog? I can't find any. On the contrary, I've talked numerous times about why some films are inappropriate and ungodly in their content. Dialoguing about movies does not equal promotion of every film. As a role model, I'd like to be authentic and honest about my lifestyle, including the films I see. I don't say that every film I watch is worthwhile and am quite honest about mistakes I've made in watching some movies.

    Numerous people in my life, including junior high parents, have thanked me for writing about movies, encouraging them to see some they might have missed and helping them avoid films that aren't appropriate. I know junior highers also will read my blog, but I've never had an experience where anyone has been drawn into sin because of it. If anything, the "Jesus Goes to the Movies" series was a wonderful time to encourage students to obey their parents and think critically about the messages they are taking in from media. Thank you for your thoughts, but I feel you've misjudged me. Perhaps I am naive at times, but I'm not unthinking or promoting sinful behavior.

  5. Steve I love your idea about a blog that talks about beer and bars! I love both! I wasn't originally going to comment on this conversation, but after your second lengthy response I felt it necessary. As a young man from the northwest who is also in youth ministry I find it disconcerting that you would so blatantly attack a fellow youth pastor. Do you know Joel personally? Have you ever hung out with him or visited his youth group? Do you know the parents and church environment he works in? To go around making claims and comments about another mans ministry without knowing anything about it is in my opinion unbiblical. We are called to encourage and love, but at the same time hold accountable. If this is your attempt to hold Joel accountable, I honestly don't understand it. Why would you think it’s even your job to hold him accountable in the first place? You don't know him, you don’t know his ministry, and you’re not his mentor.

    Out of all the people in this world that should be bold enough to make comments such as yours it would be the parents of the teens in his youth group. After all, outside of God, they are the number one authority figure. As long as Joel is sensitive to the spirit and respectful of the parents and leader over him, I think Joel should minister as he pleases. Perhaps you should spend more time worrying about your own students and making disciples out of them, then trying to offer advice to another youth pastor when it’s not your place.

    If nothing else hear this. Youth ministry is an incredibly difficult ordeal, and you should know that. What benefit is it for the kingdom of God to tear down fellow youth workers? If we as youth pastors and youth workers did a better job loving each other and building each other up, how much more would we be motivated and excited to love on kids? Maybe Joel’s style doesn’t work for you, who cares. He is doing his best to help his kids get through a difficult time in their lives. As I said in the beginning, I both drink beer and go to bars, and I have no intention of hiding that from my high school students. Just like you said we are role models. I would much rather they hear about movies and drinking from us than from their friends.