I enjoy watching the occasional episode of AGT on my day off on Hulu. Last season was incredible with the Silhouettes and Team Illuminate. I was rooting for those two acts. Not only is it fun to watch for the serious competition, but the show is fun to watch because of all of the failed auditions and wacky participants. After all, anyone and everyone is allowed to audition! That brings in a lot of entertainment.
Unfortunately, it also brings in a lot of things you may not want to see. Last season featured an act from a male pole dancer who danced in high heels. I found myself fast forwarding through his acts quite quickly. The only judge who seemed to agree with me that this was distasteful and the opposite of entertaining was Piers Morgan. That man has class and on many occasions he fought to remove acts that were distasteful and classless. In many ways, he held the gates and protected the show from being overrun with poor content. Alas, Piers Morgan is leaving the show. And he has a replacement: Howard Stern.
I'll admit, I don't have all of the facts on Howard Stern. I don't know much about his personal life, ethical views, or even what he has been up to lately. What I do know, however, is enough for me to shudder at what will happen to this show over the next few seasons. Howard Stern is a man who has built much of his fame on things that are obscene, vulgar, crude, and downright pornographic. Everything I've ever seen of him is overtly sexual and extremely inappropriate.
Is it possible for him to behave himself? I would guess the answer is yes. I truly hope that he surprises us all by being an upstanding gentlemen on America's Got Talent. But my honest expectation is that he is going to support, encourage, and vote for all things crude, obscene, and inappropriate. With Piers Morgan gone, the show is already at risk for having lower standards in terms of class and dignity. With Howard Stern joining the team, we may just see the depths to which American censors will allow a prime time show to sink.
Whatever is Pure
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things.-- Philippians 4:8
The Bible tells us to get our minds focused on things that are good, right, true, noble, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy. That is a very lofty set of words and a very high standard for what we should spend our time thinking about. If you're at all like me, it is hard to keep your thoughts on such godly things 100% of the time. Let me ask a loaded question. Does the media you view, read, and listen to help you or hinder you when it comes to keeping your mind on godly things?
Let's face it. Television, movies, billboards, and radio are filled with sexual content, gossip stories, and less than noble behavior. So, do we cut it all out and throw away our TV's? Can we only watch some of it? Is there a maximum quota of sinful media that we can watch per day and still have good thoughts? I don't think there is a clear cut answer for everyone.
One thing that we as Christians have to do is guard what input we accept. We need to keep our minds and hearts dwelling on things that fit that godly list in Philippians 4:8. Sometimes, we will need to turn off certain television shows in order to do that. Each of us will have our own limits and our own level of sensitivity in this matter. The real trick to doing this right is honestly and prayerfully evaluating your life out of a desire to please God. Too often we approach this question wondering what everyone else says is appropriate and doing that. Too often we come at this with the desire of getting as close to the limit as possible. Instead, spend sincere time thinking and praying about the things you watch and listen to and ask God to help you decide how those things are affecting your thoughts, attitudes, words, and deeds. Use Philippians 4:8 as a guideline.
A Warning for Next Season
So what's in store for America's Got Talent next season? I honestly don't know. I sincerely hope Howard Stern surprises me and keeps his raunchiness in check. But here is what I recommend to everyone. If you're going to watch that show, watch it with discernment. I think Howard Stern's presence is going to lower the moral standard a great deal. If it does, you and I may need to find a new show to watch.
Parents, if your kids watch these kinds of shows, be warned! Have a talk with your kids about discernment and media. Help them to process this stuff and to prayerfully consider the shows they watch. Talk to them about keeping their minds and thoughts on godly things and help them to discuss and pray through how the things they read, listen to, and watch affect them.
PS: Don't forget to vote for next Thursday's topic at the top right!