Tuesday, July 24, 2012

I am NOT Penn State

I did not graduate from Penn State. No one in my immediate family or my husband's immediate family graduated from Penn State. I have never really followed Penn State football closely. I know very little about Joe Paterno's legacy, statistics, and program. I was not recruited by their women's basketball program when I had hoped to be, very much. Really, aside from attending a few of their basketball camps, meeting Paterno briefly in passing (not really even knowing who he was at the time), and growing up in the same state of Pennsylvania, I have zero ties to the university. I am not a defender of Penn State's pride, or of Joe Pa's legacy. I'm a defender of the truth.

And so, I am utterly appalled at the way this child abuse case has been handled, the complete lack of due process, the amount of control the media has been allowed in such a sensitive story, and the amount of people willing to assume the absolute worst of a man who has done so many great things.

I have always considered myself a two-sides-of-the-story (maybe more) girl. Maybe it's the writer in me, or my journalist instincts, but when people in my life have hurt me or my family, or people I've known do things I don't agree with, I still try to find the good and try desperately to get the whole story. I'm not perfect at this, especially with family, but I tend to ask a lot of questions, not because I'm nosy or because I'm finding ways to judge them, but because I'm genuinely seeking the truth. Every now and then there is a public case, such as this Penn State scandal, that sparks that same truth seeking, question asking, nature in me, and I have a hard time keeping my mouth shut about it. Often times I'm viewed as taking a side (the wrong side), when in fact I'm trying to show all sides, and hopefully enlighten some people along the way. Do I expect people to always agree with me? Absolutely not. But I would hope that some would try to understand and respect what I have to say.

Please forgive my lack of sites. Google is not currently working on my computer, so I can't look up all of the stuff that I once read to link it up here to this blog, but feel free to google anything I say here. It is all at your disposal.

Lets start at the beginning. Before any facts were out or released, the media jumped all over it, declaring it a "cover up." Might they have been right? Sure, and they still could be, but it was not their place to skip over the due process, skip over the facts and/or evidence, and make that judgment call. Piers Morgan on CNN stated, without any facts to back it up, that, "Clearly we have a cover up here." I'm sorry, you were a British journalist when now? Your credentials here are America's Got Talent. Clearly that qualifies you to speak about Penn State, live, on CNN without any proof to back up such a bold statement. Moving on.

The very first thing that media chose to ignore was the fact that Paterno did go directly to his superiors, one of which was head of campus police at the time. Perhaps he did not go to them fast enough for your judgmental accusations, but keep in mind, he did not actually witness the abuse himself. Put your finger pointing self in his shoes for just a moment. He received very serious allegations about a friend and trusted colleague; accusations that, true or not, had the ability to destroy a career and a life. Hindsight is 20/20. It's really easy for all of us to sit here and say, "Well, they should have handled it more swiftly, and brought the ax down on Sandusky immediately," but what if...just what if...what they had heard wasn't true? I have known a teacher who's career was wrecked because of one child who decided to say he touched him inappropriately. He lost his job, left town, and a year or so later, that child admitted that he had made the whole thing up. It is possible that Paterno and his superiors used discretion where this was concerned, and took their time in making decisions based upon something that they had no real facts or evidence of at the time of the first known incident. Obviously, Sandusky's crimes have been proven to be true, so it makes it really easy for us to anger quickly and point our fingers at people when we've likely never been, nor will we ever be in their position.

The ongoing debate I keep hearing from everyone is that Paterno failed to report this. False. When the media first grabbed a hold of this story they repeatedly said that he merely went to his boss, but not the authorities. I'd like to make two points here. First and foremost, a fact that most of the media has left out is that one of Paterno's superiors he spoke with was Gary Schultz, who, at that time, was, in fact, the head of the campus police. You can find that information in the Grand Jury report, as well as the fact that the prosecutors stated that Paterno fulfilled his legal obligation and requirements. My second point is this; there is a specific protocol that is to be followed in cases like this. I have had some current and former teachers attest to this. My dad, who taught for 34 years, informed me that if any abuse of a child was suspected in any way, shape, or form, he was to go directly to the school's counselor; not the police or authorities, the counselor. From there the matter would be handled, it was deemed private, and unless called upon to testify in any way, he was to remain out of it and was no longer informed of the proceedings. That protocol is in place for a legal reason, and if you have a problem with that, and with who Paterno went to, maybe what should be changed is that protocol. Maybe we should all demand that it change, and that harsher actions take place immediately, because unfortunately, many pedophiles likely slip through the cracks because protocol is followed, but then no victims come forth, or no charges are actually filed.

Since the Freeh Report has been released, everyone has jumped all over the "incriminating" e-mails. Have you read them? They are incredibly vague, and they take place mostly between Curley, Schultz, and Spanier after Paterno had notified them of what he knew. The particular e-mail that most are referencing is written by Curley. Now, if Curley truly believed that Paterno tried to convince him to cover this up, why on earth would he be quoted at Paterno's funeral, stating what an honest man of integrity Paterno was? He just destroyed his own case, and suddenly Paterno is no longer his scape goat. 

Many people also disagree with the way Sandusky's retirement was handled. First of all they believe he should have been fired immediately, and not allowed to retire, but then they are also angry with the fact that he was still granted access to the facility and still trusted to be responsible for little boys. Everyone wants to blame Paterno for all of this, and maybe he could have made more of a stink about it, but what Sandusky was given in retirement was not really up to him. Just as in any university, that is the decision of the administration. And given what we now know about the protocol followed, it is possible that Paterno believed it had already been handled. The incidences that occurred after his retirement occurred within his Second Mile Charity, and his alleged crimes and accusations had been reported to them in 2001. Paterno had no control over that charity, and yet they continued to allow Sandusky responsibility of those boys for another decade! 

Another argument I hear repeatedly, which has very little to do with whether or not Paterno is actually guilty here, is that the Penn State faithful have forgotten about the true victims, the suffering children. FALSE. Though the emotions in this case are very closely tied, and you may see them as one and the same, these are separate issues for the Penn State community. They are not the heartless bunch you'd like to believe they are in your own blind rage. They do not only care about football and the Paterno legacy, or the reputation of the university, but they do have the right to care. They have the right to mourn and be upset about all that has transpired and how this affects them and possibly their children who are currently enrolled there. They have the right to be saddened by the damage one man's crime has done to what was once a highly regarded educational institution, without being accused of being heartless. Their focus on Paterno, and what you might call a disregard for Sandusky's innocent victims stems from the media's focus on Paterno. Do not forget who turned the spotlight onto Paterno and his family in the very beginning, before any of the facts were even made public. Sandusky has faced judgment, but where the media and public eye are concerned he's had it a heck of a lot easier than the Paterno family. The double standard of this astounds me. Penn State is heartless for being saddened by this turn of events within their community, yet you calling them heartless, and disregarding their feelings in the matter, and even sometimes saying that "it's a good thing Paterno is dead," and "he got what he deserved," are not heartless actions? I think that most of us have been affected by child abuse in one way or another. It may have been you personally, or it may have been a close family member or friend, but we've all been touched by it somehow, and no one takes it lightly. So to throw around such hurtful accusations about the PSU community is ignorant, close-minded, and judgmental. I am just being honest.

Let's say, for a moment, that Paterno is absolutely, beyond a shadow of a doubt, guilty of covering up Sandusky's crimes. Then, his family is not only mourning the death of a father and husband without any peace, but then they have to face the shocking reality that he was never the man they thought he was. It is my personal opinion, that the lack of compassion that has been shown his family, his friends, and his community is heartless.

Now we have the issue of punishment, and more innocent children will suffer at the hands of Sandusky's crime. So many people believe that Penn State is getting exactly what they deserve, but lets say that even if all of the administration has been proven to have covered this up, do you really believe that the current student athletes there deserve to have their dreams, careers, and lives torn apart by something they had nothing to do with? It is nothing compared with what those young victims already suffered, but how can a community move on from this by continuing to destroy young lives in some way?    

I do not believe that we currently know enough to incriminate Paterno in a cover up, but I am not afraid to admit that I could be wrong. It is possible that Paterno had a hand in covering this up, but let the facts determine that, not some vague e-mails between others or misquotes and phrases taken out of context by the media. That is the difference between me and the majority. The majority will shake their angry fingers believing they know absolutely everything about everything, and never for a second think it possible, that they could be wrong. People are blinded by rage because of the disgusting things Sandusky did, and the truth right now, as I see it, is that in the public eye, you can't do enough to punish Sandusky, and so Paterno becomes the example, the fall guy, because he, and now his family, stands the most to lose.

All of that being said, if Joe Pa is half the man that his family, friends, and the Penn State faithful believe him to be, nothing I've said here even matters. If he were alive today, he would graciously take the fall here. After all, he handled his very disrespectful firing over the phone with more grace and dignity than anyone has handled the rest of this case. If he is who he is believed to be, by his supporters, he would let them take any worldly thing from him they could, because nothing is more important, more devastating, more heartbreaking than he suffering that those poor, innocent boys had to and continue to endure.

Whatever Paterno's involvement, remember that many great people in history have made very grave mistakes, and we have not removed their memory from our history books, or blotted out all of the good that they did from the records. Remember that David, a man said to have been after God's own heart, had a man purposely killed because he was lusting after his wife, and Paul, formerly Saul, once used to crucify Christians! Show a little mercy, a little compassion, and a little forgiveness for a man who, no matter what is proven, was genuinely saddened and regretful that he didn't do more.

And I keep coming back to this verse:
"Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment!" James 2:12, 13

Monday, July 16, 2012

Friday the 13th Hangover

Ever since I was a kid, Friday the 13th has always been my very favorite day. One reason was that 13 was my favorite number, but another was because of how rare they were, and how everyone else seemed so unnerved on that day. Friday the 13th I always considered to be my "lucky" day, and this year was no exception.

I had a great day. My niece flew into Buffalo from Spain the night before. We don't get to see her very often, so I was really excited. Then, on Friday, we were all packing it up to go to PA to stay with my parents. Meanwhile, my older sister and her family were also on their way into PA for a visit, and though it wasn't everybody, it was a full and fun house at the Lawrenson residence. Friday night we all got to eat dinner together and hang out while watching all the kids play, barefoot on grass, with bubbles, hoola hoops, and anything else they could get their hands on. It was a great day.

The issue was not with Friday the 13th, or even Saturday the 14th, but Sunday the 15th proved to be quite challenging. Perhaps it was our hangover from such an awesome 13th.

My dad's dream weekend was to have all of his grandchildren in town and take them all to Knoebels. And we watched that dream unravel before his very eyes. It just so happened that on Sunday, a good friend of mine was having her bridal shower in a pavillion at Knoebels. We thought it was perfect! Then on Tuesday, my poor dad ended up with emergency surgery to remove his gall bladder. The doctors seemed to think he'd be ok to travel to Knoebels with us by Sunday, but as Sunday got closer and closer, he just didn't see how that would happen. The medicine he'd been given for the pain had been making him sick, and he still had a drain attached to his abdomen, so now all the grandchildren were going to be able to go, but not Pop Pop.

Then, Sunday morning began with Elijah's tummy hurting. I quickly recapped the weekend in my head and realized he'd been on the go so much that he wasn't drinking the water I'd given him. He was dehydrated. My children become instantly ill when they've been dehydrated, and we don't always catch it in time. I began giving him water first thing in the morning, only he drank too much at one time and threw it all up, just pure water. Poor thing. That happened twice before Jelani decided he'd just stay home with Elijah. We had been telling Elijah all week that we were taking him to a giant playground. He's seen Fantasy Island and Darien Lake both near Buffalo when we've driven by, and he's always wanted to go. He was thrilled he'd finally be able to go to one. So, of course, he was absolutely devestated, but we didn't want to have him out in the heat all day when he was recovering from dehydration.

So now, with three less, my mom, my niece Alba, Chastity, and I made our way down to Knoebels just behind my sister, Neva, and her family. We went to the bridal shower, all the while Chastity couldn't take her eyes off the ferris wheel. "Can I ride the big round thing?" was all we heard for about an hour and a half. She didn't know what the shower was about, but the highlight for her was the pink cupcake.

Once the shower was over, she finally got her ride on the big round thing. She was tickled, and very brave, I might add.

But even before the rides, Mommy needed to find a way to cool off. I was sweating through my clothes at the shower and that was in a shaded pavillion with fans going! Once we left, I was afraid I might die, but the very first ride we walked by was the Sklooosh, which is basically just a giant log flume. I stood close to it, but only got a little mist.

So I got closer...

I began to think I was only going to get a mist again...

I was wrong!

And that, ladies and gents, is how a very large, very hot, pregnant woman enjoys the rides. The day was looking up.

We made it onto all of three rides before it began pouring down rain, and it rained for about an hour straight before we decided to just leave the park. My sister and her clan were trying to swim when the storm began, so they no sooner got their toes wet, than the whistle blew calling everyone out of the pool. They waited about an hour before changing and walking out, just to hear the whistle blow, allowing the swimmers back in, as they left.

All in all, we learned a few valuable lessons.

Nothing ever goes as planned.
Rain will hold off and wait until you've made solid plans to enjoy the sunshine, and then pour down harder than ever.
A pregnant woman can indeed enjoy a 90 degree day at the amusement park if she soaks herself first.
You will have time to ride very few rides with a slow pregnant woman in tow. In order to maximize one's time, leave her home.
Keep in mind though, if you leave said pregnant woman home you will miss out on winnings, because this particular pregnant woman still has her jump shot, and hustled one of the games into giving her a pity practice shot because she was "soooo pregnant"...then promptly nailed the next two shots to win Elijah a prize. :)
Lastly, and most importanly, if given the opportunity to pick anything, I mean anything out at the gift shop, Chastity will choose the very smallest, very cheapest item, no matter how hard you try to get her something better.

We ended up returning home to a much better Elijah who had a very blessed day with one on one quality time with his Daddy, while Pop Pop genuinely enjoyed watching them spend time together.

So maybe, we didn't have a Friday the 13th hangover after all, and God knew just what we each needed to be refreshed and rejuvenated, and nothing makes a better story than when things (in our minds) go horribly, horribly wrong.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

If My Convictions are not the Same as Yours, They Must be Wrong

I have a confession to make. If I were Catholic, I would likely do it privately, and I would be smart enough not to talk to anyone else about it, but I'm not, and I'm not so smart, so here it goes...

I went to see the movie Magic Mike.

You have exactly 15 seconds to judge and condemn me, pray for me, or whatever you feel necessary...starting now. Get it all out of your system. GO.


Good to go now? Alright.

There was so much controversy surrounding this film within the Christian community, that I was actually intrigued more by the neigh sayers than by the movie's marketing.

When the film first began advertising, I was interested, but didn't pay close enough attention to the ads. I actually thought the movie was a PG-13 film (perhaps because I wanted it to be) based on a stripper that was trying to break free from the business, and that the story line was more about his dream of a furniture business and his love interest that wanted nothing to do with his night life. Most of the ads were pretty harmless, featuring men dancing with pants on, and showcasing a lot of the surrounding story line, so maybe you can see how I was confused. I had that mistaken impression for a couple of weeks, and in the meantime, made the drastic mistake of talking about the film to some of my female church friends. I learned quickly that, PG-13 or not, I should have kept my interest in the movie to myself, because I suddenly felt as though I was viewed as some heathen monster who needed the demons prayed out of her.

The Christian community was up in arms about this film, and Christian women, in particular, were casting judgment on any Christian women who might be interested in watching such a movie. I was finding blogs, articles, and comments all over the internet about it, and it was almost all women. Women are famous for this already. I've been (or at least felt) judged for various choices I've made from parenting to financial to fashion to, now, my movie interests. And allow me to break down my interest in this film for you because I guarantee it was not for the reasons many people thought. Is Channing Tatum a handsome man? Absolutely! I can admit that, and my husband, I promise you, understands that. However, in my simple (possibly naive) mind, I saw this as a dance film. I love dancing, and Tatum is very naturally athletic and good at it. I am a fan of his as an artist. I've liked all of his movies I've seen, but what trumped my appreciation for Channing Tatum was pretty simple: for once, I wanted to go see a film with my girlfriends that was not a children's movie or a superhero/action movie. As wife and mother those are typically my only options. I'm usually ok with that, but every now and then I like a girls night out where I can completely avoid those genres.

Still judging? Your 15 seconds ended a while ago, so please just stay with me here.

Once I realized the movie was actually rated R and not PG-13, I became more hesitant, and I thought more deeply about it. I was still interested in seeing it, but I did feel slightly worse about it. I prayed about it (yes, I prayed about wanting to go see Magic Mike), asking God to convict me strongly if it was something I shouldn't go to and praying that my spirit would be open to listening. I still felt no such conviction, and realized that the little bit of guilt I was feeling was not from God, but a product of worrying about how my Christian sisters would view me. But here's the thing; being completely honest, at that point I really could take it or leave it. Seeing the movie was not that big of a deal to me. However, it was the judgment, the accusations, the pointing of fingers, and all that I read, saw, and heard on the topic from Christians that made me more and more curious and inclined to go see the movie. Was that a good reason to go? No, and it wasn't my only reason, but I'm just being honest. Be careful of your finger pointing because even grown adults in their human nature, as I've found, will be more inclined to go against your wishes just because they can.

I believe, and it is biblical, that people are convicted in different ways against different things, for different reasons. That is NOT to say that there is anything good or pure about this film, because I know I'll get Philippians 4:8 thrown in my face, and I'm not arguing that point at all. You will never hear me say that Magic Mike was good for my soul or the best thing to feed my spirit. I believe with all my heart that many people have the right intentions in trying to bring people closer to Christ and farther from sin and the things of this world, and those who have taken a stand against this film were right to do so. Maybe y'all should read that last sentence again, because I think many people have misunderstood my stance on this exactly. You were right to avoid such a film and try to get others to avoid it as well. However, I believe that many people, with great intentions, hurt those they were trying to "save." I read some things online that really hurt my heart. Christians telling other Christians that they were going to Hell because of watching this movie or reading 50 Shades of Grey (we'll get to that later). It got downright ugly and when we become that judgmental and nasty with our own sisters in Christ, others will see that and want no part of it.

Also, in your judgements and accusations, you are assuming that everyone going to see this film is participating in the sin of lust, and, believe it or not, that is just not so. I am here to tell you that it is possible to sit through that entire movie without lusting one bit. First of all, take into consideration that women are wired very differently than men. Women are typically not visually stimulated. We are more of an emotional bunch who need affectionate touching and sweet nothings whispered in our ears. So the comparisons I heard repeatedly about how it's only fair that our husbands should be able to go out to strip clubs, is completely bogus. None of those men from the big screen can reach out and touch us in anyway, we're not being served alcohol during the movie, and none of them can try to take us home (or vice versa).

A midst all this fuss about the movie, I began to do a lot of thinking on what a double standard, and sometimes hypocritical stance this was. This is not to say that movies of this world are good to watch by any means, but people of my age group are of a generation of the "raunch" movie style. It began in the late 90s with the American Pie movies, and has spiraled from there, I believe. Now, I come from a family who took great care in what we were allowed to see growing up. It had to be age appropriate. For example, we were not allowed to watch PG-13 until we were 13, and we couldn't watch R until we were 17. Even then, if they knew enough about the film to say "no way," they did. Did we occasionally find ways around that? Yes, but not often, and so we grew up watching movies at appropriate ages where we were wise enough to discern right from wrong, and know that it's a movie, and this does not mean I should live my life this way. I can honestly tell you that in all areas of my life where I have stumbled as a Christian, it was not the result of a movie going experience, but rather a result of the people I was surrounding myself with. Even music has held more influence in my life than movies, and so I learned a few years ago that I should avoid listening to hip hop/r&b, or rap regularly. That is my conviction though, and maybe not yours, so I would never point fingers or make you feel like less of a Christian for enjoying a little Eminem.

I have digressed slightly, but my point is that my husband and I occasionally enjoy films of this raunch comedy type style for the humor of it. We've enjoyed movies such as Bridesmaids, The Hangover, and Knocked Up. We've appreciated the comedy behind it without allowing the antics of the film's actors to negatively affect our lives. Might God one day convict us against watching those types of movies? He just might, and I'm open to it, just as I was when he convicted me against certain types of music, but right now, my going to see Magic Mike will not cause me to run out and cheat on my husband or start going to strip clubs, or start stripping myself for goodness sake.

While I'm on the topic of other movies, I was wondering, where were all of these convictions when the movie The Hangover came out? That is a movie based entirely upon drunkenness, and I didn't hear such a stink about Christians watching that. Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of Christians that can legitimately stand up and say they don't watch any of those films or TV programs, and that they stick to Christian programing, maybe some selective Disney, or nothing at all. But what about the greater group of Christians who cannot say that? Do they have any right at all to point fingers and make accusations about women going to see Magic Mike? Watch any prime time television show and you will be watching sin. Take a good hard look at any superhero movie, and you're likely to find adultery, drunkenness, or vulgarity. And you will be hard pressed to find anything, anything, that does not objectify women. Jelani and I were sitting here flipping through channels the other day during nap time and came across an ad for a bra. They repeatedly showed women in their bras which were too small, breasts popping out, midriff showing; all on a sunny Sunday afternoon on basic cable. I couldn't help but laugh. That is ok. No one will make a big stink about that, but a man in a thong is unforgivable.

***Spoiler alert***
Allow me to tell you a little bit about this movie. It was horrible. I'm out 10 bucks and a couple hours sleep, but I'm still the same faithful, loving wife and mother you knew before I went to see it. The surrounding dialog and story line seemed forced and unconvincing. Channing Tatum appeared to be the only one that could actually dance. The highlights of the film were his three individual dance routines that he did mostly clothed before taking anything off, and once he was stripped down to the thong, the scene would end shortly after. In the group dance, the camera angle was set up so that Tatum was the main focus, but if you veered off to look at the others you'd notice what awkward dancers they were. The other dancers, in their individual routines, were merely shown after stripping. At that point there was no real dancing involved, just shaking, which anyone can really do. It was uncomfortable to watch. I actually discovered I was more comfortable with the naked women in scenes, because that's what our society and Hollywood have made us comfortable with. There was no full frontal on any of the men, unless I blinked and missed it. Really, you can take a walk on any popular beach and see men and women with not so much more clothing on, but when you add the context of stripping it's completely unacceptable. There was a lot of vulgarity, which I would assume to be true of that type of setting and life style. I didn't go out much, but I spent enough time in bars and dance clubs in college to hear the lingo. Lastly, what I took from the film is probably very different than what many may have heard. It was sad to watch. Rather than getting caught up in the lusting (which many likely assumed I would), it saddened me, as I imagine such real life scenarios sadden our God. It showed how easily a young kid can be allured by that lifestyle; the women and the money, while also showing how a more seasoned stripper is ready to be done because he sees the evil nature of it, and how far someone can fall. In my opinion, it did not glorify or romanticize the stripping life; quite the opposite. I can't even say that about Pretty Woman, which absolutely romanticizes prostitution. What is more disconcerting about the film than Christian women seeing it, is that young, impressionable women who are not strong in the Word or their relationship with Christ will likely go see the film regardless and they may (or may not) be lured into participating in the sinful nature of the film. I also believe that different people struggle with different temptations and sins. Someone who struggles with adultery and lust should probably avoid this film, but likely won't, because many people don't truly understand their own struggles.

So, I'm not really sure how to transition into the topic of 50 Shades of Grey here, and I didn't read the books, so I don't feel qualified to really write about it (which obviously hasn't stopped others). However, I will say this. No, you cannot compare women reading these books to men having their heads stuck in a Play Boy magazine. If you recall, Play Boy is more about pictures than words. That's one very big difference, but also, one thing I have heard from multiple sources, Christian and non-Christian alike, is that the books have stirred something in them that has completely revitalized their love lives with their husbands. You may not agree with that method, and I'm not asking you to, but those "stirrings" and affections are, in fact, permissible within marriage. As I mentioned before, women are more emotional than visual, so from what I've gathered, those words on that page are more likely to stir her into the arms of her husband than Magic Mike will stir her into a lustful affair.

In summary, if you have any doubts as to how I truly feel about this as a Christian woman, please refer to the text in bold towards the top of the page. Though I was curious, it is not a movie a would ever watch again. Just because I wasn't convicted in the same way as others does not make me some sort of demon possessed monster unsuitable to my husband or for raising children. I think that we all, as a Christian community, need to be more mindful about how we approach such topics.You can call me naive about the way that I viewed the film, and say that I'm kidding myself about how it has or has not affected me, but I know better. I know that I am more negatively affected by music than by movies. In fact, one particular r&b song came on during the movie, that reminded me of my college days and had more of an impact on me in it's 1 minute of play than the whole 1 hour and 50 minute movie. I know this about myself, which is why I stay away from such music on a regular basis. You don't have to believe me, but my husband and my God know my heart better than you do.

I know that many will disagree with me no matter what I say, and people will pick and choose what they want to hear, so before you comment with your argument, think about what exactly you are disagreeing with. Many will obviously disagree with my personal decision to go see the movie, but that cannot be changed, and so the argument is pointless. However, I believe that my points about double standards and hypocrisy within our society and our Christian community are tough to argue. We are all guilty of it in some aspect. I once heard a pastor say that it is nearly impossible to find a non hypocritical Christian, because we all have different convictions and feelings about how our lives should be lived, and we all have a basic desire for others to be convicted in the same ways we are.

Keep in mind that Paul, of the Bible, took very unpopular stances against sin among his peers (as well as many others in the Bible), so I understand speaking out about the things of this world you are strongly convicted against. The biggest difference, though, is that there were far fewer worldly distractions back then, and he could rightfully take that stance because he had cleansed himself of all of it and did not participate in any of it. 

Let us all be mindful of how we make others feel. Share your convictions with love and mercy. It is not enough for people to constantly see what we are against, but it is more important that they see who we are for.

"Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment!" James 2:12, 13