- Abolish property.
- Abolish family.
- Abolish the nation.
- Abolish religion and morality.
…rebuild the internal character development of the child and an adult, so that they can be prepared for their career and what God has called them to do in their life so that other people, when they see what you do, they will say, “Hey, I’ve never seen anyone do it like that before.”
Just as God created this incredible earth in six days of His creation, He gave us a model to follow that at the end of each day He stood back and said, “Wow, it is good.” I want people to experience that same thing.
For example, when we publish a book we just get so excited at Lamplight. We’ve published about 120 books that we have found from the last 400 years that have role models that deal with deep character development. In fact, I just read one and it took me three days to read it.
Those that work for me claim that I am a nightmare to work with. The reason why – Wally is back there handing things out and he just raised his hand to testify to that – is when I find something that I know can change someone’s life, I will call all of my editing staff, I will call the printers, and I’ll say, “Stop the presses!” Whatever they are working on at that moment, we stop everything and we have to start the new book.
I just finished one called The White Gypsy. I was so blown away by the book I was shaking at the end, because I didn’t want it to end. It deals with the idols of the heart. Every one of these books that you’re going to look at in the catalog we’re going to give you deals with some issue of character that is missing in our lives. We can only go as far as Christ-like character is developed in our lives.
What does this have to do with the media and the mind and the moral imagination? Everything. I believe that is the number one detriment to our character development.
How many don’t have a TV? It doesn’t matter if you don’t have a TV because the media influence is everywhere. You’re going see it even in this session.
We’re going to start off with prayer. One of the things that we’re extremely excited about, which is kind of funny, is if you knew me four years ago you would think that I was schizophrenic being up here today. The reason why is because we have gone from publishing these great books that deal with character development from the past 400 years, that have the Word of God embedded in them, that put you on the edge of your seat where a child says, “Please, one more chapter…”
I won’t print a book that doesn’t have that type of emphasis and inspiration to it. The reason for that is I hated to read. I was 22 years old and I had never read a book in my life! The first book I read was the Bible. That’s a whole other story which we’ll deal with in another session. Where was I? I’m also ADD!
…so, here we are publishing books, and four years ago, actually, a year ago I would have said, “I will never put these books in film, ever.” That just goes against everything I believe in, but we just produced our first film. [Laughter]
How many of you have ever heard Adventures in Odyssey? Cool. More exciting than that; how many of you know that Lamplighter has the same Odyssey producers, directors, engineers, and writers, and starting June first is the new Lamplighter Dramatic Audios for Radio? All of the books we have are going to be on the radio all over the country.
We just did our first four episodes. We did our first book called Sir Malcolm and the Missing Prince, and when you hear it you’re going to be blown away. We wanted something that was better than Odyssey.
We told the Odyssey producers, writers, engineers, musicians that we want this to be better than Odyssey. Within a matter of four hours, they wrote up a script in front of my very eyes. They looked at me and said, “What do you think?” I read it and tears came to my eyes. For 20 years I have been dreaming of this, 20 years. I’ve been talking about this for 20 years.
Odyssey has been going on for 25 years, and Odyssey is still going, but I knew that people needed something that was the next level; dramatic stories that have the embedded Word of God in them and deal with character issues, family issues, marriage issues. Whatever issue you can think of, it’s going to be in there.
What is exciting about it is that on both ends of the drama of the book, we even have our own Mr. Whitaker. He’s called Mr. Finnian Jones. He owns this antique coffee shop and bookstore. When you come into his quaint little store, he will give you a taste of Finnian’s Finest Blends, but then he finds out what the issues are in your heart and he says, “Follow me to the back door.”
When you open the back door, it opens up to…well, you’re going to have to wait until you listen to the drama! [Laughter]
Let’s pray and get started. Follow us on LamplighterTheater.com or LamplighterPublishing.com, either one. You can already listen to some of the episodes. We have portions of them up there right now. We want to get the word out. If you have radio stations in your area that may not be airing it, let them know. We’ll make sure that they’ll air it. Keep in contact with us as well.
”Father, I’m very excited about this time. Lord, you know that I have put countless hours and thought and meditation on this subject, a subject that I myself am so easily tempted and easily succumb to the wiles of the devil when I’m tired.
“Lord, I pray that you would forgive me, that I could be stronger even when I’m extremely exhausted at a hotel or someone’s home. Lord, I pray that each of us here will be able to learn something today that will change us, that will help us to be more in tune with You, more committed to Your Truth, truth that will not only set us free but our children and others as well.
“Please be with us right now as we go through this seminar together. I pray this in Jesus’ name, Amen.”
“I, in my part, here renounce all acquaintance with you. I will sit down at the same table, enter the same room, or breath the same air with you, never speak to you, listen to you, or recognize you in any manner until my deep wrongs are avenged.”
I found that in my cereal bowl. My wife wrote it to me. [Laughter] It’s a quote from The Hidden Hand, one of the books we publish. Isn’t it interesting where your imagination goes, wondering who wrote this? Then when I told you my wife wrote it, there was some quick imagination going on, “Wow, what did he do?”
If you just watched it on a flick, it doesn’t do the same thing. The imagination does not kick in. The imagination kicks in more when you read it than when you’re watching it.
Our youth now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority, show disrespect for their elders and love chatter in place of exercise. They no longer rise when elders enter the room, they contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up their food, and tyrannize their teachers. – Socrates, 5th century
[Laughter] I’m going to read a lot of this stuff but we’ll pause from time to time, but this information is vital. I know everyone says to not put a lot of information on PowerPoint presentation because you’ll lose your audience. I don’t think I’m going to lose anybody. Wait till you see this stuff.
“The average child in the US only receives 21 minutes a day of primary attention with their parents, but according to the Motion Picture Association they spend up to 2.5 hours a day with the Internet and TV.
“These statistics were researched two years ago, so the stats will be higher now with the iPhone, therefore, by the time the average child is 17 years old, he or she has watched 63,000 hours of mass media, spent 11,000 in school, and gone to church for only 800 hours assuming he has gone to church every Sunday for one hour since birth.”
You don’t have the write any of this stuff down. I’m going to put it on the Internet and you can have it for free, just download it.
You are what you read. George and Alec Gallup provided exhaustive evidence that the most successful people read.
Annual advertisers spend approximately $150 billion to sponsor TV and radio, primarily directed toward children. That should tell you something right there. They are out to get your children.
This is going to blow you away. Prior to 1966, Hollywood was run by the church. The Roman Catholic church and the Southern Baptist Convention owned Hollywood, but they said they don’t want any more of this because “we’re going to focus on missionary work.”
In the jungle highlands of Thailand there are satellite dishes run by generators run by exposed wires that bring Hollywood into flimsy grass huts. The children in these villages try to dress like the Hollywood stars they idolize, and try to mimic their lives right down to the smoking and drinking and sexual promiscuity.
The church didn’t get there in time. Hollywood got their first.
“Children who are oversaturated by the media demonstrate decreased capacity for creative imagination, concentration, and delayed gratification. The formation of mental pictures and imaginative play does not come easy as parents find these children apathetic and unmotivated to participate in group and outdoor activities.
“Because of the decrease in the ability to delay gratification, they have a weakened attention span as well as an intolerance to reading a book.”
A lot of kids growing up today don’t want to read. One of the reasons they don’t want to read is simply because of this. They have decreased their capacity for creative imagination and delayed gratification. Reading requires thinking skills. It requires concentration. It requires patience.
When children lose that ability, those portions of their character development, reading is gone.
Dr. Ted Baehr states that the child’s symbolic function, perception, and abstract reasoning are damaged in a manner that resembles dyslexia. Do you realize how much dyslexia is going on today? How much ADD, ADHD, OD, ODD symptoms are prevalent today?
I have no doubt that the rapid increase in reading disabilities and dyslexia in the US is directly connected to the child’s involvement with the media. Just recently I visited a children’s hospital in Rochester, New York, where the infants – I’m talking about newborn to three months – have screen inside their cribs. They’re no longer using pacifiers in their mouths they’re using screens as pacifiers.
“Researcher Robert Morris believes TV saps the cognitive strength analogous to the situation in nursing homes where inactivity leads to cognitive impairment. After an hour or two of TV watching, people come away cranky, irritable, tired, and ready to explode. This is very significant.”
I believe this is accurate, and Robert Morris has given us something to hold on to here. It saps cognitive strength. It drains a person.
Lawrence Colberg in his research states:
“By contributing to cognitive impairment, mass media of entertainment has the deleterious effect on a child’s moral, social, emotional, and religious development.”
Dr. Ted Baehr, in his book The Culture Wise Family(if you want to get one book, get this one), states:
“With regard to social and emotional development, a child needs dramatic play to develop these areas, but dramatic play is inhibited by watching TV or movies.”
Watching social interaction on TV is not enough, because a child must do or interact. They must be more than an observer or their social, emotional, mental, spiritual growth will be impaired.
Baehr continues by saying:
“In the case of psychological maturation, the necessary function of suppressing detrimental functions of the libido is impaired because TV and other mass media, MySpac,e and even possibly Facebook indulge these detrimental functions.
“With regard to religious development, impairment of the symbolic functions results in the clogging of the filters of religious perception so that the child’s doorway to experience the transcendent is blocked.
“TV inhibits a Christian ontology in worldview.”
All this is saying is simply this, that television distorts reality. The supernatural is real, television is not. When a child is saturated by the media, by the screen, by the computer, whatever media function it is, what it does is it saps them of reality so that they can no longer believe in something that is super-real, or supernatural.
“In the UCLA Television Violence Monitoring Report, children imitate modeled behavior as the observational learning theory suggests.” Well, I didn’t think they had to go through a report to figure that out. Of course children imitate modeled behavior.
“Researchers found that young children who view violent episodes store that behavior in their brain.” What I found out next was just astonishing. The behavior is stored in their brain. They see something violent on TV, it is stored in their brain, and later on when they see something similar in reality, it’s a very good possibility they will exhibit the same violent behavior they saw that was stored in their brain when they were young. That scares me.
An exasperated mother commented on how her son loved Harry Potter movies, but was frustrated that he would no longer obey her. He had learned from Harry Potter that deception and disregard for authority brought rewards. I even hear adults model something similar when they say it’s better to ask for forgiveness than permission. We’ll talk more about Harry Potter in just a little bit.
You know, I can’t believe it. I was such an idiot. The first Harry Potter movie I saw, I loved it. It was great. Then I thought, “Well, The Chronicles of Narnia has witches and sorcerers and everything. So does The Lord of the Rings. If those good movies that are Christian have that stuff, then why can’t I watch Harry Potter?”
There is a good reason for it. I’m going to digress a little bit here. Knowledge is everything. It is so great to understand and be free of things that will just drag us down.
First of all, C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkein were phenomenal. Even though they weren’t perfect, they were phenomenal. What they did is that they made sure that no man had supernatural powers. In Harry Potter they do. The ones that did have supernatural powers were supernatural beings, which the Bible describes as well.
They were paralleling what the Bible shows. The Bible has supernatural beings throughout, so that’s fine. Also, in The Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia, good is good and evil is evil. You don’t have that in Harry Potter.
It’s amazing what the book of Isaiah teaches, that in the end days good will be evil and evil will be good. Do you know what you have on television and in movies today? You have heroes now who act unethically in order to achieve worthy goals, and we’re buying into it.
It’s amazing how we’re being seduced right before our very eyes.
Dr. Victor Klein reports that the more intelligent and imaginative a child is, in which we would say that homeschoolers are probably the higher spectrum of our culture today as far as intelligence, the more addicted they become and the more they mimic viewed behavior. That’s a scary thought.
Klein reveals that, “The vast majority of criminals in prison for sexual crimes are intelligent. Children will either become anesthetized, desensitized, or see violent, immoral, viewed behavior on a screen as normal and acceptable.
“The elderly Connecticut man was hit head-on and left for dead while over 15 passers-by, including cars and one motorcycle – who did a u-turn to see if it was a person then sped off – as well as people who walked right past the critically injured man. The chief was interviewed and he said, ‘We’ve lost our moral compass as a society.’” How many saw that? I still can’t believe it.
I think it’s been taken off and is no longer on YouTube anymore. That was unbelievable. Here is a 76-year-old man hit head-on by a speeding car that was passing another car illegally, realizing that he was in trouble by passing illegally and speeding, they hit this man head-on, flipped him up in the air, and the man was in critical condition, then watching cars drive by and stopping to look and see if it was a person and then continuing on. Then people just walking by and looking at him, and a motorcycle turned around and looked at the guy and sped off. What causes that? I believe you’re about to see.
If the previous research hasn’t convinced you that violent immoral viewing is harmful, Jeffrey G. Johnson of Columbia University found that teenagers and young adults who watch more than one hour of TV daily are more likely to commit acts of violent crime or react aggressively.
His study found a link between violence and viewing any television, not just violent programming. That scares me. Any television! Why is that? We’re going to find out.
“The study further revealed that teens and young adults who watch the media for more than seven hours per week have an increased likelihood of between 16% and 200% of committing an aggressive act in later years. ‘The evidence has gotten to the fact where it’s overwhelming,’” he said.
I don’t think it’s a stretch to compare Hollywood to Marxism. Let me tell you why. In the movie Sweet Liberty, Alan Alda noted that to capture an audience the movie must include destruction of property, car chases, rebellion against authority, and immoral sex. The audience he had in mind was the teenagers and young adults who flock to the movies.
It is interesting to note how this mirrors Karl Marx’s four goals in his Communist Manifesto.
One particular telling statistic is that at 10am on any given Saturday, approximately 60% of all American children are watching television. I would encourage you on some Saturday, actually, any day of the week around 6pm, to walk through your neighborhood and you’ll see what looks like people welding in their homes; this flashing blue light. It’s everywhere.
I’ve traveled in all 50 states. I see it everywhere. We used to have front porches, now we have back porches, and now people aren’t even using those.
“At the rate Americans watch television, a child who grows up and lives until they’re 75 will have spent nine years of his life in front of the TV.” Nine years! Can you imagine what could be done with nine years? Corporations could be created, missions, it’s unfathomable what could be done with nine years.
I guess we don’t really realize it until we get to the end and we don’t have those years left.
“Though the public does not consider cartoons to be violent, scientists note that cartoons feature some of the highest rates of violence found in the media.”
If I was a young parent today there would be no way my kids would be watching cartoons. In fact, if I was a young parent today there would be no way I would have a television in my house. I believe it is the most dangerous thing in the world.
I’m not really here to condemn the TV. I’m just going to give you information to take home and do what you have to do with it.
Let me say this. I didn’t have a TV when my kids were young. My children are now grown and married except for my youngest, who is in Nashville finishing college. My oldest son, Jonathan, the first thing he bought was a large 60” plasma television. [Laughter] When I go visit him in San Diego, that thing is on.
My youngest son, David, he has a television in his bedroom. He claims he only watches the news in the morning while he’s drinking his coffee and that’s about it. My daughter doesn’t have a TV.
I had to think through this. If you just take the TV out but don’t teach your children to be able to think through why we’re doing this, if it doesn’t become a part of their life, the same thing is going to happen to them.
My son, Jonathan, is unaware of any of this information. I can’t wait to share it with him. I’m going to have to bribe him someday to sit in one of my seminars. [Laughter] You can’t just go and take something out without bringing something in that is better. It’s called the Substitute Principle, but that doesn’t do it either. We substituted Adventures in Odyssey.
We had a blast growing up. We lived on a farm. We raised sheep and horses. This was like back in Little House on the Prairie days, but I failed to understand and teach my children how to think about these things, how to evaluate, how to filter these things.
You’re going to need to do your homework. If I had found the literature I’m reading now, I would have been able to do that. I’m going to tell you about all the books that you can read.
“From the 1990s we saw an increase in the number of popular children’s programs with violent themes, in particular, those in which the heroes use violent, unethical, and immoral means to solve problems or settle disputes; Harry Potter, for example.”
I don’t know why I didn’t get this before, but all sorcerers, according to both chapters 21 and 22, are going to be thrown in the Lake of Fire. That’s a pretty serious thing. The Old Testament bears it out as well.
Harry Potter is as evil as you can possibly imagine, and more so. I will hold nothing back. I used to pull my punches on that because everyone was reading it and kids loved reading it. It is so harmful you cannot imagine it.
“The majority of children’s programming with violent content, 68%, was presented in humorous context.” Trotta 2001 explains that this combination of violence and humor plays a major role in desensitizing children to violence.
Let me say this too. Probably three-fourths of the people in this room have already had their children read Harry Potter, and you’re probably sitting there thinking, “I hope he doesn’t ask me if we’re reading Harry Potter.” I loved watching Harry Potter. It was amazing; very creative and ingenious. I love the way they created the special effects. It was amazing to me.
But now we’re all growing in the kingdom of God and the truth that sets us free. The more we grow we can then take the things that hold us down and we can do something about them. I think that God holds us responsible after we learn what He reveals.
“Violent and immoral programming has steadily increased over the past 30 years.” Obviously! “Research reports published in the early 70s indicate that by age 14 the average child has witnessed more than 11,000 murders on television. This figure has dramatically increased with more recent reports indicating that the average American child now witnesses more than 10,000 violent crimes on television each year, about 200,000 violent crimes by the time they’re in their teens.”
Do you realize what that does? Violence begets violence. It’s inevitable. In Genesis six God explicitly says, “I hate violence. I hate it.” God destroyed the whole world because the whole world was violent at the time. We are entering into what I believe is a new dark age.
“Moreover the authors of the NTVS 1998 reported that 61% of television programs contain violence. Violent acts occur five times per hour in primetime programs, and 20 times per hour in children’s programs. Fully two-thirds of children’s programming contains violence.
“In 2007 the statistics have changed. The media research from Robert and Linda Lichner, Stanley Rothum, and Daniel Amundson, conducted a report on four decades of entertainment TV and found that there were about 50 crimes, including 12 murders, during every hour of primetime television. This indicates that our children may see from 800,000 to 1.5 million acts of violence, and witness 192,000-360,000 murders on television by the time they are 17 years of age.” It’s amazing, isn’t it?
If television were revealing reality, at this pace all of the people in the United States would be dead in 50 years. It’s not reality.
They think that people want that. People don’t want it. It’s clear at the box office. People will pay millions more to see a G-rated movie – it’s proven – than an R-rated movie, but yet they still produce more R-rated movies. For what reason? Because we fight not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and high powers in wicked places.
“Three-fourths of all church-going teens, 77%, and professed born-again Christian teenagers, 78%, have seen or read Potter. Only four percent say they have experienced any teaching that clearly demonstrates that the worldview of Harry Potter is an abomination to God.
“Here are just a few: God condemns sorcery. All sorcerers will find themselves in the Lake of Fire. Harry Potter and friends use deceptive and unethical behavior to achieve their ends. There is even a scene where there is a female ghost in the bathtub with a naked Potter, making sexual advances.” What are parents thinking? We’re not.
“William Bennett, former U.S. Secretary of Education, notes that between the 60s and 90s there was a 966% – I don’t know about you but my brain only goes to 100% – rate of cohabitation.” It’s everywhere. Young adults, Christian young adults, are not getting married. They’re living together first, and they’re not having children.
“There is a 370% increase of violent crime; a 270% increase of children on welfare; 215% increase of single parent families; 210% increase of teenage suicide; 200% increase in the crime rate; 130% increase of the divorce rate; a 75 point decrease in average SAT scores.” I can’t understand these figures.
I attended a meeting – I don’t say this to scare you, and I don’t know if it will ever come true and it probably won’t – where there were senators, congressmen, some of the most respected philosophers and intelligent people of our day, and one man got up and said that in four years we will not recognize the United States of America. We will stand in lines for eggs and bread and milk that will be a mile long.
I thought, “Could that be? In four years?” I think it could be. We have become a non-productive nation. Do you want to know what I hear children all over America saying to me? They want to have a career in media? Do you want to know why they want to have a career in media? Because that’s all they know.
We have to help our children find what their God-given abilities are, and then we as parents need to cultivate those abilities at any expense. I know you’re doing that already or you wouldn’t be homeschooling.
Whether it is violin practice, or learning how to be a carpenter, or an electrician and using the old-fashioned way and becoming an apprentice, we need to do whatever it takes to help our children become successful; to become skillful.
The word skillful in the Old Testament carries the idea of wisdom, negotiating life skillfully. If that day does come and it probably won’t, but if it did, if all our children know is media, they’re not going to survive. At least not survive well. We have some work to do.
Media consumption is the primary free-time activity of most Americans. Why? Robert Kubey and Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi say we are psychologically addicted the electronic screen. We don’t have a TV at our house, but if I’m at a hotel or a friend’s house and I’m exhausted, I just love sitting in front of that thing and not having to think. It does something to me. It saps me of more spiritual strength. If I would just take that time to close my eyes, I probably would fall right to sleep.
“They explain that TV repeatedly triggers our orienting response, the instinctive reaction to pay attention to any sudden or novel stimulus.” This is amazing! I have to applaud Satan. He’s ingenious. He’s amazing. This being has a plan that is just incredible.
If you look at Ezekial 28 you’ll see how God created him. He created him with musical instruments in his body, and all of these beautiful stones that shine. He was both the sight and sound of God’s glory. He was the cherubim that covered the throne of God, and when he turned his back on God, guess what? He continued to shine. God sent him down to earth still with the same musical abilities and the same ability to shine. He is beautiful. He is not a grotesque, horned being. He is the most beautiful being in the universe, and he has come to earth and is tempting other and bringing others down with both the sight and sound that he possesses.
There is this orienting to sight and sound. You’re in a room and two people are talking and the TV is on and the two people are carrying on this conversation. All of a sudden, the music and the screen do something where both people simultaneously stop their conversation and look at what is on the screen, not realizing they’ve stopped their conversation and they’re both glued to the screen. Have you ever seen that happen before?
They explain that TV repeatedly triggers our orienting response, the instinctive reaction to pay attention to a sudden or novel stimulus. Orienting responses help us guard against the danger.
“Producers of media use features such as edits, cuts, pans, zooms, sudden noise, you know all that stuff. In short, they exploit basic psychological and biological mechanisms to get and keep our attention. Jolts are devices that are used by the media that are designed to gauge our emotions. The most common emotional jolts are appeals to sex, violence, humor, and belonging needs. Tricks are technical features designed to grab our attention and include special effects, edits, pacing, music, camera angles, graphics, and all the rest of it.”
Media producers know that when an audience’s emotions are engaged, the audience is more vulnerable to suggestion. Turning off the TV after a viewing session is associated with more stress, and with dysphoric rumination. Have you ever felt that way?
I remember a Friday night when my wife and I both just wanted to watch a movie. It’s interesting. I say I don’t have a TV but I have a screen that I can hook up a DVD player to, and I do have a ClearPlay TV thing.
How many have ClearPlay? It takes away all the nudity, cursing, and anything that is immoral. I can watch anything. Do you know what that does, really? I’m not sure it’s really doing a whole lot. It still gives me more of an opportunity to watch something when I could be doing something more productive.
We’re watching this and were having a great time, but then we looked at each other and said, “You know what? Let’s do the other one, too.” So there we were watching two videos that night. We just felt we deserved it.
After that second video we were so irritated. I felt terrible and frustrated inside. We’re not used to that, you know. It plays with your dysphoric rumination. I like that word.
However, this is not because turning off the TV is stressful. It’s because the initial relaxation response has faded with prolonged exposure, thus people end up watching television for longer than they say they want to under the incorrect assumption that more television will increase relaxation.
Across experiments, participants who saw violent film clips consistently showed poorer memory for commercials than those exposed to non violent clips.”
You would think that if the producers of these commercials really understood this that they would not put their commercials with violent films because people have poorer memories as a result.
“Television generally increases passivity among viewers, leading to less exercise, increased food intake – generally of high caloric snack foods – and ultimately a less healthy populace.” It’s amazing. We live in a culture that is obese.
“The link between television viewing, decreased physical activity, and obesity, particularly in children, is well documented. Furthermore, a recent study shows that children who are randomly assigned to watch less television showed less weight gain over seven months.
“The public becomes concerned about the level of violence in the media only when they are shocked or offended by what they see. Over years of exposure to violent media, the process of desensitization changes what shocks or offends, and indeed, changes people’s very definitions of what is violent.”
I have interviewed Christians all over the country and I am amazed at how programs like the ones with the stupid father and dominant mother and the kids are sarcastic, how Christians all over our country love those shows. It’s already happened. It has eroded our values, our core values as Christians. It has eroded them. No longer are we appalled at things that offend a Holy God.
We are created in the image of God, therefore the family, the father, the mother, are not roles to become demeaned, weakened.
“The argument that programs are violent and response…” – I love this last one. Isn’t this cool? “Ironically, while audiences long for reality in their media, they’re own lives are becoming less real.”
Now we have the reality television programs, and everyone loves those things. We were having a staff meeting last year and my head secretary – she’s no longer with me – said, “I can’t make it on Monday night at 7pm. Lost is on.”
I said, ”Are you serious?”
She said, “Yeah. I’m not going to miss that.”
“You’re going to be there or you’re going to get lost. You’re going to come to this meeting.” [Laughter] She would not come to that meeting. That is how seduced she had become. That is how important it was in her life.
“Rather than actively participating in life during their own free time through involvement in sports, art, outdoor play, children in our culture watch other people do things with the increasing hope that what they watch will be real.”
We have to turn our kids loose again. We have to get them out there playing, dreaming, that it can be theirs. We serve a God that says, “I will withhold no good thing from them who walk uprightly. I will do exceedingly abundant above all that is asked or thought. There is nothing impossible with me.” That is the kind of God we serve.
Have you ever read Gladys Aylward? When she looked at the Chinese general and the Japanese general, and they looked at her and said, “You take those Chinese orphans across this valley and we’ll kill you all.”
Do you know what she said to them? “No, you won’t. My God will fight for me.” Whew! I love that. She got right in front of those 200 Chinese orphans and she said to the kids, “Follow me, because God is going to bring us to the other side.”
They had to get water because they were going to starve to death back there. She took those children right across that valley. Both the Japanese and the Chinese fled in different directions. This is what they recorded in their history books. They saw Gladys that day with stainless steel tanks surrounding her and the children with fire breathing out.
Can you imagine what those angels must have looked like that day?
I want my kids to understand that that is the kind of God we serve. He’s real, and he’ll do extraordinary things if we’ll trust him. God looked down from heaven and said he was looking for someone to stand in the gap and he found no one.
We have got to stop playing games, put away our childish things, and get going. We don’t have much time left.
“A 12-year-old boy in Florida brutally kills a six-year-old girl by imitating professional wrestling moves.”
“Two teenagers in Littleton, Colorado, practice shooting everything in sight by repeatedly playing the violent video game Doom before they embark on a shooting spree that kills 13 adolescents and themselves at Columbine High School. “
“A 17-year-old in Texas sets himself on fire while being videotaped in an attempt to duplicate a stunt called The Human Barbeque from the MTV show Jack***”
“Four youths aged 13-17 watched the violent film Menace to Society on videotape, then commit a carjacking and shoot two other youths in the manner that parallels the film very closely.”
This stuff that I’m giving you right now was the least appalling stuff that I could show you. The stuff that is happening in our culture right now would make you throw up, that’s how bad it is. They’re good kids.
The shootings at Columbine and Virginia Tech both had two common factors, violent movies and video games, and a hopeless and vindictive outlook on life. This is a key point here. Are you ready for this?
What violent movies and violent video games are doing to our children, is they create an addiction to want more and more, which is what violence, sex, and immorality does. It’s like any other addiction. You want more and more and more.
The reason why is because whenever you try to fill your life with anything that is not God shaped, it creates a need for more and more and more. It’s like children who are cutting, and since you’re all homeschoolers you may not know of this. How many know about cutting? Wow, good, you’ve arrived. [Laughter]
I was in a room of 70 student counselors. We were training to get our counseling license at Philadelphia Biblical University and we had a cutter there, a girl about 22 years of age. We got to ask her questions about cutting. She was allowing us to see if we could counsel her. It was kind of like our student teaching.
I was listening to everyone else’s questions and no one was getting through. I’m thinking, “Boy, I’m going to have the question for this girl. I’m going to get through to her.” She basically ignored me.
After about 30 of us asked a question and none of us were getting through to her, our professor, Dr. Kevin Huggins, a brilliant godly man, looked at her and said, “Is cutting your friend?”
She said, “Yes.”
He looked at her and said, “Does your friend require you to cut more and more each time?”
She said, “Yes.”
He said, “You’re friend has lied to you. It’s not really your friend, because friends never take, they always give.” We just sat there in awe. That was just incredible wisdom.
What the television and media and all of these violent games are doing is taking and robbing from us. You cannot put something into your life that is not God-shaped. When you do it requires more and more and more, until soon you are consumed.
You’ve got the shootings of Columbine, the Virginia Tech shooting, and then you have what I believe is the most appalling in American history, the worst of all was when professed born-again Christian went into that Amish school and began shooting those girls one-at-a-time after he tied them up. Shooting these little girls in the head and after the police were trying to come in, he shot himself.
He was a professed born-again Christian, and one of the things that all three have in common was that they had a hopeless and vindictive outlook on life.
How do you get hope in your life? I believe hope is the missing ingredient in culture today. We’re going to end on this one main theme, how do we cultivate hope in a hopeless culture?
Theodore Roosevelt said, “If we educate a man’s mind but not his heart we have educated a barbarian.”
John Locke said, “Whoever defines the word defines the world.”
All you have to do is find a current Webster’s Dictionary and compare it to an 1828 Webster’s Dictionary and you will see that there are so many words redefined that it will scare you.
The theology in Webster’s 1828 Dictionary is unbelievable. It is like a theology book. All you have to do is read the 1828 dictionary and you’ll learn more theology than you’ll learn from most theological dictionaries in the world. It’s amazing. Almost every single word has a theological bent to it, but the new dictionary has not one word that has a theological bent to it.
Words are changing. Whoever controls the media controls the mind, morals, and imagination. Most seasoned educators will tell you that school children have become more disrespectful, more verbally aggressive, more likely to push and shove each other over time.
Interpersonal violence is just the end point on a continuum of disrespectful behavior. If you want to read a couple of great books, read Neil Postman’s Amusing Ourselves to Death and The Disappearance of Childhood. Amazing books.
Postman says that we’re entering a new dark age where childhood, language development and reading are on a parallel today as during the dark ages. During the dark ages a child was considered an adult at seven years of age because that is the age when both child and adult mastered the vocabulary.
Back then in 12th, 13th, and 14th centuries, if you go look at the old, Dutch painters on the Internet, you’ll see children dressed like and acting like adults at the table. Very profane type of behavior that the Dutch painters portrayed.
Why was that? Because a child at seven years of age had mastered all of the vocabulary that there was to master, meaning that the adult language had come down to a child level, so children and adults were treated the same. You don’t even want to go there with the stories of how children were treated at that time.
It wasn’t until the printing press was created that people started to read, started to mature, started to grow in Christ by reading the Bible, and vocabulary increased and now children had to earn adulthood.
Today, the same thing is happening. We’re on a parallel course. Adults talk like kids. Go to any sports place. I play racquetball on Monday nights and it’s amazing. I’m thinking, “Do you guys speak like this in public?” Every word that comes out of their mouths is a curse word. What is going on here?
Not only the vocabulary, but the dress. Now children and adults are dressing the same. We are entering into a new dark age.
“With access to knowledge and information, the medieval class started to crumble and social mobility shot up as commoners started their own businesses, and in some cases became wealthier than their feudal masters.
“Arthur Hunt in his new book, The Vanishing Word, shows how Christianity and the written word have prospered together. He also shows what happens when the habit of reading is lost and the people orient themselves instead to sensate images.
“Reading encourages thinking, reflecting, and the cultivation of truth, but image cultures tend to be driven by objectivism, superstition, hedonism and propaganda. The great media critic, Neil Postman, who recently died, pointed out the ways that reading encourages certain habits of the mind. Reading teaches us to think and logically connect to thought patterns.”
Listen to this, “I was as ADD/ADHD as a person could possibly be. I hated to read. I could not read. When I would read anything on a page, it all blurred.” One of the reasons for that is because my character development had not engaged yet.
If there is no sustained character, the level of comprehension is low. When you’re character starts to increase your level of comprehension increases, but most importantly during this time is that your character starts to increase and the reason your comprehension level increases is because you have more of a sustained ability to persevere.
When you’re willing to persevere because you know that what you are doing is good and valuable, you begin to read, and you read a little bit more, and a little bit more. The next thing you know, with a person like me, it was a matter of just a few weeks where I became a voracious reader.
In fact, I’ve read over 60,000 pages in the last year. I can’t put books down. I love to read. Reading has changed my life.
Drama as we know it was invented by the church in the middle ages. Does this mean that all media is bad? No, it does not mean that, or I wouldn’t be producing movies right now.
I’ll tell you why some media is very good, but that it can’t take the place of the written word. Drama as we know it was invented by the church in the middle ages to help the illiterate populace to understand the gospel. It is now used to keep the populace from the gospel.
In the last 50 years, Bible knowledge among youth has decreased – these are proven statistics – from 74% to just four percent in our culture. It is not coincidental that the Bible believing adults rarely bring their Bibles to church anymore because they can now read it on a screen.
I don’t know how I did this, but we’re only about one-third through, but that’s alright. You can read the rest of it online. I’ll put it up there for you.
The next section here we’re going to go into the brain, which is my favorite part.
“Child development in general, and language development are interrelated. Children who have many opportunities to listen and speak tend to become skilled readers and writers. Children who can put their ideas in writing become better readers. Children who are read to, often learn to love reading and become better listeners, speakers, and writers.”
We’re going to go right to the good stuff here.
“Babies are born with 100 billion brain cells called neurons. Virtually all the cells they will ever have. The neurons are not yet connected into networks as they will be when the brain is mature. As babies respond to experiences in their world of home, family, and caregivers, their brain cells form networks that give them the capacity to think and learn.
“Connections are made as brain cells send signals to and receive input from each other. A single cell can connect with as many at 15,000 other cells. The resulting work of the connections is called the brains wiring of circuitry.
“Brain development occurs around the clock when babies are with their parents and when they are cared for by others.
“Shortly after birth, the baby’s brain produces trillions more connections between neurons than it can possibly use. By age three the child’s brain has formed one trillion connections, twice as many as in an adult brain.
“The brain is generating the equivalent of about 25 watts of electricity, enough to power a light bulb. Beginning at about age 10, the child’s brain begins getting rid of the extra connections and gradually creates a more powerful and efficient circuitry.
“The brain permanently retains the connections that are used repeatedly in the early years, and eliminates connections that are seldom or never used. For example, children who are seldom spoken to or read to in the early years tend to have difficulty mastering language skills because their brains eliminate the unused connections for this type of learning.
Remember this phrase, “What fires together, wires together.” Repeat it. That is why learning the Word of God, memorizing scripture, learning languages at an early age is so important.
“Watching images on a screen that change every one to four seconds, haywires the brain. Remember, what fires together, wires together. A child who is sedated with the media in any form will cause the brain to think in illogically, disconnected thought patterns.
“Scientists have identified almost 50 different hormones. In the teen years there are three main hormones, testosterone, progesterone, and estrogen. For teen boys, testosterone triggers dramatic physical changes and voice deepening. Boys can have five to seven surges of testosterone per day, but at the end of the teen years they can have 1000% of the amount of testosterone than they had before puberty, and 20 times more than girls of the same age, so be prepared for five times per day when you will say, ‘What were you thinking?’ [Laughter]
“Testosterone has a powerful effect upon the amygdule. There are three parts to the brain and the amygdule is located in limbic area, the mood center. The amygdule is the section of the brain that controls our fight or flight response, particularly anger, which is both an offensive and defensive protective device created by an all-wise God.
“Teen boys who experience these boosts in testosterone daily are at times overwhelmed by the overload resulting in offensive/defensive anger-filled reactions. Boys, during this time and prior, must be taught that this is the time” – this is the most important, this is it for me – “for self-discipline so that he no longer needs anyone else to discipline him.
“If a teen boy can understand what is occurring in his body and brain and that God has designed this time as a character development period, then his outbursts can serve as a reminder for him to exercise self-control. He who controls himself is greater than he who takes a city.”
This is so significant. This is breakthrough for me. I did not handle it well when my son was responding in those angry outbursts, in those defiant episodes in our home. I would just go right at him. If I had understood this before, then I would have been more patient, more tolerant, trying to help him and guide him, nurturing him and teaching him that this is an opportunity.
This is not an offense toward me. This is an opportunity for him to discipline himself. If I’m the one who is doing the disciplining he is never going to become self-disciplined. Isn’t that what self-discipline means, to discipline one’s self?
This is amazing, breakthrough information for me.
The same is true for girls. Whereas boys have testosterone flooding the amygdule, teen girls experience a flooding of estrogen and progesterone which enters both the limbic and pre-frontal cortex of the brain leading to dramatic mood swings, but also, the girls are smarter because they’re getting it in their pre-frontal cortex which is the higher level of reasoning. That why girls are smarter, usually.
“Because estrogen and testosterone have a powerful influence over nor epinephrine and dopamine and serotonin, teen girls can experience mood swings where they are laughing hysterically with their friends one moment, and then a few minutes later sobbing in despair over a question about whether or not they had folded laundry.”
We’ve all experienced this. The same opportunity exists for girls that there was for boys. God has designed it that way. Do you know what the teenage years are for? God designed it that these kids are going to go through these dramatic mood-altering changes so that they would learn self-discipline. It’s as simple as that.
It’s the opportunity of a lifetime, and if they don’t master it in their teen years they will remain undisciplined throughout the rest of their lives.
I was that way. I didn’t become a self-disciplined person until my 30s. Wherever you are as an adult, maybe you haven’t mastered self-discipline and that is what your children are waiting to see in your life. We can’t change our children until we first change ourselves.
“Desirable moral traits, work ethic, values, responsibility, and worthiness will only develop with role models, structure, scripture, guidance, involvement, discipline and love. ‘Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will send a famine on the land. Not a famine of bread or a thirst for water, but of hearing of the words of the Lord.’
“You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee…” I love this verse because this word, “whose mind is stayed on thee” is talking about a frame. We frame our thoughts upon God. I know a missionary in the Philippines who prays every second of the day.
If you need to counsel your teens in any area in which you feel like you’re not getting through, if they just don’t get it, go to Lamentations chapter three. You don’t need to go to a counselor right away, go to Lamentations chapter three. Everything you could ever want to know in counseling is found there.
Simply this; if you want hope then you have to endure. I said I was going to come back to the hopeless society, here it is.
In Romans five, the apostle Paul tells us how to get hope. He says, “Suffering produces endurance, endurance produces character.” Without the suffering that God designs, according to Lamentations chapter three – God designs it, creates it, causes it. It’s there in black and white. God causes it and it is for the purpose of developing our character.
The only way that character can develop is if you’re willing to endure it. We live in a society where the media has destroyed our ability to endure anything, because we want it now. When children start to regain and recapture what God sees as essential, “I’m going to endure this difficulty because I believe that there is something waiting for me that is good, that is worth waiting for, worthy.”
Suffering produces endurance. I’m going to endure. Endurance produces character. Now I begin to change. Character, the Bible says, produces hope. The barometer of Christ-like character development in your life is the amount of hope you possess in difficult situations.
It has everything to do with if you’re going to stay in that marriage, whether or not you’re going to be able to deal with these children, or whether you’re going to be able to homeschool. The amount of hope that you possess will determine the amount of character you possess.
What I love about the ending, it says that hope does not disappoint me. I love that. We can rely on it. God will come through.
If you want a DVD of the film I was going to show, there is a box here where you can watch it. There is an interview on it that will tell you about what we’re trying to do and why we think that some media is very good.
[DVD film playing]