In the late 1970’s, our pastor yanked the TV from their home after his daughter walked through the house singing the beer commercial jingle. Some thought it was funny. The pastor did not. There was a movement within the churches to limit TV as well as all “that sinful music” being played. Parents had serious debates over whether TV and music were actually influencing people’s behavior. Our church even had an evangelist come that encouraged us to go home and gather all of our records (For you young people, that’s the vinyl that’s now making a comeback.) and bring them back to church and burn them! I thought my mom’s heart would break as she was encouraged to throw her Kenny Rogers “Lady” album into the fire. My daddy seemed conflicted with it all. He was glad to be rid of mom’s crush on Kenny Rogers but also saw money being thrown into the fire. All of it made a big impact on me, and I questioned that impact as an adult looking back.
It seemed all a bit over the top to me. The pastor eventually put the TV back in his house and everyone went out and bought more records. I had a great love for all music and played my 45 of Dolly Parton’s 9 to 5 until my family made me stop. So, I have looked back at that 1970’s “over the top” church moment as “too religious.” I was in agreement with many people that didn’t believe that TV or music could really influence my behavior.
This past month, we cancelled our subscription to an online streaming TV service due to their horrible depiction of Jesus in a movie. We found a service that streams what I consider more wholesome shows like “Little House on the Prairie” and “The Waltons.” I know I am showing my age here, but stay with me. As I have watched “Little House,” Ma spoke with a calm spirit. She held her tongue, but still was able to convey her point of view. Pa loved her more for it. As I watched, I wanted to be more like Ma. Her kindness and love always showed. I, personally, have a quick wit and a sharp tongue and could stand some lessons in calm, kind words.
Yesterday, as I was cooking supper, I had on some music. I typically listen to Christian radio, but happened to have it on a different station. Love songs. Awe, don’t we love a good love song? But, I noticed the lyrics depict the girlfriend/boyfriend as “their everything”, “all I live for” and other similar lyrics. No wonder relationships struggle. We listen to all that and think that love is just rainbows and unicorns. Marriage and relationships are hard. They require work and “our everything” is God, not our spouse. I quickly switched back to Christian radio.
These shows and songs were either increasing my desire to be calm and kind or to question if I really know what love is. I felt a bit conflicted between my wholesome TV show and music’s opinion of love. Were they influencing my mood?
“Influencer” is a fairly new term used in the online social media platforms where companies pay an individual for generating traffic and income on their sites. People can earn quite an income as an influencer, if they have a large social media following. They post videos or pictures of themselves using a particular product in hopes that others will want to do the same. And, it works! Look at all the things you are tempted to purchase because some cute girl posted a video of herself loving it.
Isn’t it funny how back in the 70’s and 80’s, many folks were convinced that TV and music were not influencing our behavior and now, people are being paid to be influencers? Hmmm. Maybe those “overly religious” evangelists had more discernment than the naysayers. Are you an influencer or are you being influenced? Are you sharing information that could better a person’s life or lead them astray. What are you allowing into your heart and mind as you scroll social media, watch TV and listen to music? 1 Peter 5:8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
Don’t think for a minute that the enemy isn’t working overtime through social media, TV, and music to influence your behavior. Choose wisely what you and your family watch and hear. We were warned back when I was a child and thought we knew better. What’s influencing you today?
As always, I welcome your comments.