By Rebecca Frazer
As a proud communications major, I spend a lot of time in the beautiful Miller Center for Communication Arts (a.k.a., the “comm. building”). Asbury’s website refers to our spectacular facility as a “media museum.” The props and posters covering every wall come almost exclusively from films or projects that Asbury students, graduates, or faculty have in some way worked to create. Last school year, I decided to give myself a tour and take a closer look at the walls.
I began my tour. I passed many fun and impressive posters and props of which Asbury has a right to be proud. But as I passed a prominent poster filled by two women with naked shoulders and revealing several inches of voluptuous cleavage, I considered 1 John 2:16, “For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world.” (The poster was later replaced with a smaller one in order to fit more posters, though the cleavage is still prominent). Continuing on, I passed a four-foot-long witch’s broom and Deuteronomy 18:10,12 came to mind, “Let no one be found among you who…engages in witchcraft…anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord.” Walking further, I passed a framed display-poster of The Ides of March, an R-rated film featuring a partly-concealed sex scene and over fifty uses of the f-word. Three more objectionable R-rated films and lots more cleavage later, I came to a startling realization: I would not want Jesus to walk down these halls with me.
I know, I know—we’ve all been told that sex, violence, and language are necessary in film, because without some evil, movies can’t show redemption. But over fifty uses of the f-word? Really? Isn’t there a more creative, more discreet, and less overt way to depict evil? And even if showing sexual stuff is “necessary” for redemption (I disagree, but even if…), do we have to decorate the walls with it? Honestly, for most of these films, is redemption really the reason the sin is so overtly depicted, or are lust and shock value the producers’ aim?
It’s not that Jesus can’t handle seeing occult objects, cleavage, sex or even hearing the f-word. Truly, in order to live in the world and engage the culture, all of us must be able to “handle” exposure to these themes on a frequent basis. But should we seriously be using films that capitalize on these themes as wall decorations? Should we be celebrating sin by displaying it in places where hundreds of students walk by every day and where visitors tour and gawk? To put it bluntly, if Jesus walked down these halls, would He rejoice in witch’s brooms and naked chests simply because Asbury graduates or Kentucky residents helped to create the programs that featured them?
I love Asbury. I love the students, the staff, and the quality education. I chose this communications program because the academic excellence and unique, hands-on opportunities offered by the program surpassed the offerings of several other universities I considered. But I also chose Asbury because I saw that people here are serious about impacting the world for Christ. I still believe that—wholeheartedly. However, if we in the School of Communication Arts celebrate and emulate the evil of the world, our impact is seriously hampered. The world does not simply need more talented communication and media specialists. The world needs to meet a Savior. The light of our Savior dispels all powers of darkness with the piercing radiance of God’s truth and protection. But if Asbury chooses to accept and even celebrate the same moral “creative” standards as the world around us, we choose to show the world more of its own darkness. As 1 John 1:5-6 explains, “God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth.”
I ask you, fellow students, how much do you desire to show light to the world? What should Asbury do? What would Jesus do?