What Are They Watching?

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Can it possibly be true? Is it really July 1? In December, I left The Dick Staub Show after producing and hosting the live radio show fifteen hours per week for fifteen years. I began this year unemployed and with only one clear path: “write the book and make it good.” I figured that would take until March 31 and then I’d get my next instructions. It is now July, the book isn’t finished, no clear direction as to what is next, and I’ve never been more at peace.

My NT reading today was in Matthew where Jesus called Peter and Simon to follow him and they “straightway left their nets, and followed him (KJV)” From the start following Jesus has never been boring nor the income secure. Is it a sign of our disobedience that so few of us wake up each day called to serve God without a paycheck?

I’m in Burbank as I write this. Yesterday I was a “fly on the wall” at a strategic planning session for the LA Film Studies Program by the Council of Christian Colleges.

For those who know me, the image of a fly on the wall is amusing by virtue of the breakdown in metaphor flies are small and quiet except for an occasional buzz heard only when close by. I am large and can be heard a block away¢â‚¬¦PLUS how can I stay silent when the subject is something that matters to me. We were discussing “how do we help the next generation identify and prepare for their calling in the entertainment industry?” Rich Gathro, circus master (and a really good one), gathered educators, Hollywood Professionals and a few flies on the wall for a discussion about what our colleges should be doing, are doing and how the LA Film Studies Program can serve them. LA Film studies is a semester program with classroom instruction, internships in Hollywood, and ¢â‚¬Ëœparenting” from Doug and Fran who are moving to a new assignment.

Craig Detweiler got us started with a series of cartoons and magazine covers to help us understand how this younger generation is different from those before it AND defies generalization. One thing did emerge as something of a consensus. Generally (remember the warning about generalizing) this generation is getting a late start on career, marriage and life. My generation graduated, got in a career grove & married by 24 and today’s kids delay all this a few years.

A Chinese proverb seems applicable: when the pupil is ready the teacher will come. Educators will have a difficult time if their teaching is directed at questions students aren’t asking.

Traditional educators are also competing with a parallel educational system, the entertainment world. A long time ago Poet laureate Carl Sandburg, said: “I meet people occasionally who think motion pictures, the product Hollywood makes is merely entertainment, has nothing to do with education. That’s one of the darnedest fool fallacies that is current. Anything that brings you to tears by way of drama does something to the deepest roots of our personalities. All movies, good or bad, are education, and Hollywood is the foremost educational institution on earth.”

That brings me to today’s Old Testament reading. Proverbs 1. “The Proverbs of Solomon¢â‚¬¦to know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the word of understanding; To receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, and judgment, and equity. To give subtlety to the simple, to the young knowledge and discretion” The fact that a generation is blooming late does NOT mean we cannot teach them the foundational life lessons required to live a full and satisfying life.

Our challenge as parents, educators and young, is to meet or exceed the educational influence of Hollywood, answering questions this generation IS asking. Here is the important thing. They learn by watching film and US. They are SEEING what it means to follow Jesus by watching our lives splashed large on the screen of daily life. Christian parents often ask “What are my kids watching” thinking about Hollywood’s infliuence on their kids. We ought to be asking, “What are they watching in our lives.”

Yours for the pursuit of God in the company of friends, Dick Staub.

PS. And remember, “these are the best of times and the worst of times, but they are the only times we have.” (For Now).

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