The Key to Changing Your World
By David Outten, Production Editor
God made mankind to thrive on appreciation. Feelings of rejection can be demoralizing.
This simple obvious truth can be applied to change the world. It can certainly be applied to change your personal world.
My wife makes a broccoli casserole that I love. I have it for my birthdays in lieu of a birthday cake. One reason my wife makes it is because she knows how much I appreciate it and how much I appreciate her for making it. I tell her so. I thank her. I compliment her. I look forward to more broccoli casseroles.
The Movieguide® Faith & Values Awards applies this same principle. If you want more movies and television programs that honor God, avoid foul language, sexual promiscuity, nudity, and graphic violence, then honor the ones you appreciate. Honor the best young scriptwriters writing scripts that glorify God. Celebrate the good.
At Movieguide®, we’ve received many letters of thanks from writers, producers, directors, and executives who’ve told us how inspiring it is to be truly appreciated and honored for good work not often honored elsewhere. They literally say they want to make more good movies as a result.
Because Sir John Templeton understood this principle, he sponsored the Epiphany Prize, which is still given by the John Templeton Foundation at the Movieguide® Awards. The Foundation also sponsors the Kairos Prize for spiritually uplifting screenplays. Equally important are those who sponsor tables, buy seats or give donations to make the event possible. The effect is more good movies, television, and scripts.
The event has grown from a modest lunch to a gala event telecast on the Hallmark Movie Channel and syndicated throughout the world afterwards. As more and more people become aware of the event, and get to see it, the impact will be greater and greater.
Your Role in Changing the World
If you’d like to see less vulgarity, less promiscuity, and more righteousness, you need to appreciate the good in the world and reject the bad. Your television remote and your movie ticket purchases speak loudly to Hollywood about what you want more of. If you continue to watch movies and programs with vulgarity and promiscuity, Hollywood will register your vote as appreciating vulgarity and promiscuity.
One of the great myths of the entertainment industry is that sex sells. It is often included because producers really think people want it. Some do, but the majority of people don’t. Movieguide® meticulously measures the level of sexual content in movies and reports, year-after-year, that movies without sex do better at the box office. At Movieguide we’d love to have the resources to do the same thorough analysis on television, but think about it, among the first programs to get cancelled last year was THE PLAYBOY CLUB. If large audiences really were clamoring for more sex on television, THE PLAYBOY CLUB would have earned top ratings.
The speed at which television will be transformed into wholesome viewing will be in direct relation to the choices made by viewers. The problem is not that the majority of viewers love vulgarity, promiscuity, and violence. It’s that they tolerate it. They cast their votes in favor of it because they like something about the rest of the program that contains it.
I have long loved Sherlock Holmes in short stories, movies and programs. I began watching the new program ELEMENTARY. I enjoyed some of the astounding power of observation written into the story but at one point Holmes “observes” that Watson (a women in this version) needs to have sex with her boyfriend. I was appalled. I have not watched the program since. It would have been easy to overlook this and say to friends and family, “I wish they wouldn’t include that trash in a Holmes program. It’s so unnecessary.” But, complaints to friends and family don’t cancel out my vote in favor of the show. If I continue watching the show I’m voting for it, complete with its promiscuity.
The Power of the Pen
From it’s inception, Movieguide® has included (with every review) the contact information of the top executives responsible for each movie. The only way they will know you like Holmes but not promiscuity is for you to write them and say so.
When someone takes the time to actually write a letter, and mail it, executives know there are probably many people who agree but who will not make the effort to write.
When writing, be sure to apply the principle of appreciation. Do not be ugly. Do not propose they spend eternity in Hell. Even when being critical, be so in a constructive manner. Nasty letters actually feed resolve. The executive will tell his friends, “You should see the nasty hate mail I got. I’ll show those creeps what I think of them.”
Don’t just write when you’ve been offended. Write when you’ve been pleased. When something honors God and inspires you, thank the producer and tell them you look forward to more.
The Ultimate Appreciation
God made us in his image and likeness. We love to be appreciated because He loves to be appreciated.
To appreciate God should be easier than breathing. You would not be breathing without God. You’d be lost in sin and headed for Hell were it not for God’s grace. Jesus died on a cross for our forgiveness. We should appreciate that with all our being.
Christianity transformed the Western World and led to the creation of the United States. The lifestyle of Americans differs from the lifestyle of the poor in Calcutta because of God’s grace. Our money and coinage still reads “In God We Trust.” Millions of Americans attend “worship” services, but true appreciation goes deeper.
In the book of Acts, Paul spoke about what God said of King David, “I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart;he will do everything I want him to do.”
To be a man after God’s own heart is to desire what God desires – to stand ready to do all God would have you do. This is the ultimate in appreciating God. It is also the key to being appreciated and blessed by God. God can do astounding things trough those who truly appreciate Him.
If you’re concerned about the moral decline in the United States, appreciate God more. If you’d like to see the media transformed from spreading filth to promoting righteousness, appreciate God. If you want the United States to be that city on the hill showing the world how righteousness leads to blessing, appreciate God.
Many Americans concerned about our culture love to quote 2 Chronicles 7:14, “If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.”
To humble oneself, pray and seek God’s face is the ultimate sign of appreciation. To turn from your wicked ways is the outward evidence of your having humbled yourself and become a man or woman after God’s own heart.
God will hear from heaven, forgive our sins and heal our land if we truly appreciate Him in our thoughts and actions. The entertainment industry will be transformed when we select programs and buy movie tickets with a heart humbled before God. Imagine executives in Hollywood saying to each other, “The only thing the majority of Americans will watch is things that honor God.”
By letting God select your entertainment, you are asking God to heal your land. You are asking for less vulgarity, less violence, less promiscuity, stronger families and greater prosperity. When you write to entertainment executives or watch and support the Movieguide® Awards you are telling Hollywood you appreciate movies and programs that honor God. You are being used of God to heal our land. If you watch and support what God opposes, it’s not God who’s using you. The result will be continued moral decline.
I have children and grandchildren. I’m deeply concerned about the culture we’ll leave them. I pray that we will humble ourselves before God, turn from our wicked movies and programs, and see God redeem the media. I know in my heart the media can become a powerful tool for good. I believe it’s God’s desire to transform the media and, if we appreciate Him properly, we can be used in His work of transformation.