Right as Quentin Tarantino won for best original screenplay, my twitter received 4 to 5 arrrrggghhh texts from other Christians. “How dare this man win for making movies about violence,” the collective screamed. I asked in return which was worse the fake violence in a Tarantino film or the real violence on our streets. I was met with the social networking equivalent of being called crazy.
This is a real question because many of those who tweeted their disgust have also tweeted their disregard for gun control. I responded with apologies for the rant; but asked isn’t being against gun violence in movies but for more guns on the streets a misplaced argument? The equivalent I tried to draw was this: would this not like being against porn; but for relaxing laws about rape. Maybe I’m wrong, here; but I side with Anselm on this one. That which is imaginary is less than that which is real (he was making an argument about God but the idea plays here).
Sure, we need to evaluate the place of violence in the media (I have argued that here). And yes I have not seen Django Unchained because in the aftermath of Newton I have found myself with less appetite for violence (pretend or otherwise). But if we are so sure that this fake violence is bad; why can we not bring that concern into reality. In today’s NY Times Alex Kotlowicz wrote a fantastic piece entitled The Price of Public Violence. He argued that violence in the public square is exponentially harmful to the moral and morality of a city. Perhaps I reacted this way because I had this article on the brain (I had been reading the Sunday Times as I watched the show). If you all can agree with me that fake violence is bad; why so little thought or care for the real violence that is occurring right now on streets across the nation? Why scoff and make snide remarks about people and not guns killing people (because if I’m right both are needed to shoot your girlfriend while she takes a late night bathroom break)?
Perhaps it’s easy to get mad at Tarantino because he’s not one of us. Perhaps it’s easy to complain about Hollywood because none of us Evangelicals live there, or work there (at least according to public perception; but good men like Zachery Levi are there). Those people out there make comforting and inviting targets; but perhaps we might take a page from Christ’s book and learn to take the logs out of our own eyes before condemning the twigs in other’s eyes. Maybe we ought to think not just about burning our DVD collections; but melting down the guns that endanger our homes and the lives of our loved ones (point backstopped here). Maybe before sending out the snide tweet, we might consider in what ways we can change and grow.
I am truly sorry for the rant; however, this is what is driving me crazy about the church in America right now. It is our inconsistency. It is our complaining about how ‘liberal’ Christians are controlled by the culture while we’re the good heroic few standing against the tide of apostasy even as our views have less to do with scripture and more to do with what Fox News , our family, or our regional heritage has to say. It’s people calling Rachel Held Evans a disgrace who is destroying scripture because she does not agree with our Victorian marriage ideals. It’s throwing out the liberals kill babies line every chance we get; and then sitting around the table at the ‘love feast’ complaining that Obama is not killing enough Arabs to prove he is manly and loves Israel so so much. I wish for a second we could listen to ourselves and realize just how messed up we are. I wish that we had a season in the life of the church in which we would honestly reflect on the true natures of our depravity and prepare our hearts to be changed by the God of love. I wish we would take our lives as seriously and consider them as rigorously as we claim to have done (and fault others for not doing).