I have a small dilemma.
A few weeks ago I thought about writing a list of songs and movies that I’ve been enjoying lately. But there was a song I wanted to put on the list that wasn’t technically Christian. And by “technically Christian” I mean the f-bomb made a cameo in the second verse.
I know what you’re thinking, Casting Crowns, right? Nope, the song in question is Lily Allen’s “The Fear.” The impossible to succinctly describe Allen created a song in which she attacks and reflects upon the foolishness and wastefulness of our celebrity-infatuated society. I think it’s a really well written expose on pop culture in general but as I mentioned, it’s not technically Christian.
So when I sat down to write about the song I found myself tempted to create a “Christian Secular Culture Disclaimer.” Not familiar with the Christian Secular Culture Disclaimer (CSCD)? Allow me to elaborate. A CSCD is what a Christian says when they want to recommend something they like that’s not Christian but they don’t want you to judge them. It’s a complex sentence designed to make a case for why when you look at it in the right light, that thing you’re enjoying, be it a movie, or a CD or a television show is actually quite alright.
Here’s an example:
“The movie is really vulgar and I had to fast forward a few scenes but the heart of it is very honest and I think it communicates an important message about what happens when we chase our dreams blindly.”
That was how I described Jessie Spano’s movie “Showgirls” to my pastor. I’m kidding. My pastor was my dad, he would have never fallen for that.
But my real dilemma with the Lily Allen situation was that I didn’t know how to craft a really good CSCD. I’m a big fan of the buzz phrase, “doing things with excellence” and I didn’t know how to apply that to the creation of a CSCD. Until today.
Today, I offer you a checklist for creating the ultimate CSCD. Master this and you’ll never have to worry about other Christians or accountability partners questioning your taste in music, movies or television.
The Christian Secular Culture Disclaimer Checklist:
1. Mention the production values of the work in question.
Example: “Sure, ‘It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’ is really lewd, but it’s one of the best written shows on television. I like the writing. As a writer, that means a lot to me.”
2. Indicate that you don’t struggle with the same things other people struggle with.
Example: “I admit, the new science fiction novel I’m reading has more robot sex then I’m comfortable with, but robot sex has never been something I’ve personally struggled with so I’m able to read the book. But it’s definitely not for everyone.”
3. Make loose references to the Old Testament.
Example: “Sure, Braveheart is violent but so was the Old Testament. And have you ever read some of the scenes in the Song of Solomon? Britney Spears has nothing on Solomon.”
4. Give elaborate instructions on how to avoid any highly inappropriate scenes.
Example: “Here, you can borrow my copy of ‘American Beauty,’ but make sure that you skip the first scene, fast forward through the 11th minute, cover your eyes as soon as you see roses come on screen and leave your house entirely at about the 27th minute. Seriously, just walk out the door, count to 100 in the front yard and then come back inside and finish the movie.”
5. Pull out one aspect of the music and pretend that’s the only one you notice.
Example: “What’s that? Lil’ Wayne swears a lot and objectifies women? Weird, I guess I hadn’t noticed. For me, it’s all about the beat. I just like a good beat and usually don’t notice anything else.”
6. Pretend the relevance of the entire faith of Christianity hinges on your ability to listen to that music.
Example: “Sure, I don’t see us playing any Flo Rida during worship anytime soon but unless we know what this world is all about, how are we supposed to communicate with it? Are you saying you want me to be irrelevant? Is that what you’re saying?”
7. Throw God under the bus.
Example: “God moves in mysterious ways doesn’t He? I mean this is the guy that used a burning bush and a donkey and handwriting on the wall to communicate His message. I wasn’t expecting to find him in Gladiator, but there He was.”
You probably don’t do this. Right now you’re probably praying for my heathen, Lily Allen listening soul. But if you have done this, and you want to do it better, feel free to use this list. Just make sure you avoid the kryptonite of the Christian Secular Culture Disclaimer, Philippians 4:8.
Never read that verse? It says “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”
It’s easy to argue that Lil’ Wayne is an extremely talented wordsmith, a ridiculous model of how you can use the Internet to be ubiquitous, and one of the hardest working rappers alive right now. I joke about him all the time and have said before that I want to be the “Christian Lil’ Wayne.” But, it’s hard to argue that the music he makes is pure and noble. I mean you can try, you can throw back verses like, Matthew 15:1: “What goes into a man’s mouth does not make him ‘unclean,’ but what comes out of his mouth, that is what makes him ‘unclean.'” But at that point you’ve entered into a Bible verse arms race and if you google “Lil’ Wayne and the New Testament” on Biblegateway.com you’re going to get nothing. Trust me, I’ve tried. I ‘ve tried.
Have you ever used a Christian Secular Culture Disclaimer?
Have any of your friends ever busted out the CSCD?