19-year-old Angus T. Jones plays Jake Harper in the CBS sitcom “Two And A Half Men.” This week he’s put the show on the map with what many are calling a “controversial rant” against the show. . . a rant that was occasioned by his Christian convictions. It’s a story that’s all over the news. Not surprisingly, the reactions to Jones’ words run the spectrum from those who are praising him for taking a stand, to those who are accusing him of stereotypical Christian judgementalism. One commenter posted this under a YouTube video of Jones’ “rant”: “damn Christians hate alot of stuff.”
As one who studies media culture, there’s no denying the fact that media does shape culture. Consequently, media does shape people. What media shapes is values, attitudes, ideas and behaviors. It follows that values, attitudes, ideas and behaviors have consequences. By shaping us they shape our society. . . and we morph and change in significant ways – sometimes very quickly – that most of us don’t even see.
The Christian faith has consequences as well. . . and so it should. Following Jesus in the life of discipleship is a path to a counter-cultural lifestyle of living in but not of the world. It is the responsibility of the community of faith to interact with culture in ways that celebrate that which is good, true, right and honorable . . . while challenging, calling-out, and even gracefully/lovingly correcting that which is not.
Angus T. Jones and his comments offer us an opportunity to seize a teachable moment with the kids we know and love. Give the full video “testimony” from Angus T. Jones a look. You can view the full video here. Watch it with your kids. Then, talk about it. Here are 5 questions to get your discussion started:
1. Is Angus T. Jones right? Wrong? Something in between?
2. Does media shape us? How?
3. Should a Christian’s faith shape how he/she engages with media? How?
4. What can we learn from this video and the response it has generated?
5. What should we do now?