Summit Notes: Axis

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

One of my absolute favorite sessions at Summit was a group called Axis: Apathy to Action

The title itself reveals what they're all about - first, discovering what axis your world is spinning around (what does your life revolve around?), and then, challenging you to think about how that axis is affecting your world.  Because even if we think we're tripping along through life unaffected by what we read, watch, and hear, the fact is that there are thousands of messages bombarding us every single day.  And they do affect us.  If we think they don't, we're deceiving ourselves.   And if we fail to think intelligently, by default, others will gladly do the thinking for us.

It turns out that media is what sways the culture.  Media counsels us.  The stuff we read on the internet, the books or magazines we get, the music we listen to, the movies we watch, even the video games we play......they are all sending us different messages, many of them conflicting with what we claim we really believe. 

It's so easy to consider all these messages as benign - they're not really saying anything bad, and even if they are......well, so what?  It's not like we actually agree with what we're hearing.......or do we?

Media affects us more than we would ever like to believe.  But it's so hard to detect because most of the time it's just a song, or just a movie, just a story.  It's not like any of it is real, right?  And it's not like it really changes the way I think......right?  Can't we be "in the world but not of it" to enjoy the good stuff and turn a blind eye to the bad?  It's hard to believe that most of the media messages we get - the ones that just not a big deal - are actually worldviews in disguise.  

Though most of us would like to believe that we're strong enough in our faith to be able to "deal" with the bad messages we're getting, able to walk blindfolded through a busy intersection without getting hit, the fact is we're never quite as "strong" as we'd like to think we are. Remember that "let him who thinks he stands take heed, lest he fall" (1 Corinthians 10:12). 

Don't believe that the stuff you hear has a hidden worldview in it?  Take a look at the lyrics of one of Katy Perry's top hits, "Friday Night":

There's a stranger in my bed
A pounding in my head
Glitter all over the room
Pink flamingos in the pool
I smell like a mini bar
DJ's passed out on the floor
Barbie's on the barbecue

Last Friday night
Yeah we danced on the tabletops
And we took too many shots
Think we kissed but I forgot

Last Friday night
Yeah we maxed our credit cards
And got kicked out of the bar
So we hit the boulevard

....Chandelier is on the floor
With my favorite party dress
Warrants out for my arrest

This Friday night
Do it all again

So in just a few verses, we have Katy Perry's description of fornication, getting drunk, the lovely hangover in the morning, possible reference to drugs, poor monetary stewardship, late nights at the bar, complete oblivion to what she's doing because she's apparently high, a warrant out for her arrest, and oh! What fun!  Let's do it again next Friday!   Underneath a catchy tune (I do love the song minus the lyrics) lies suggestions that doing all of these activities isn't so fact they're fun.  And normal. It seems that many songs today emphasize the "you're only young once" idea, making everything permissable. 

This is just one small example of literally thousands of popular hits - for 2012 alone!  We've been getting messages just like these for as long as we've been alive.....this is just a recent example.

And that's just music.  *Gulp* If we took a look at all the other forms of media, like facebook, twitter, myspace, ipods, videogaming, tv, movies, cellphones (just to name a few)....we could be coming up with dozens of examples of a worldview we're being presented with.  Or a way of life - plugged in and tuned out. 

But media isn't bad.  At all.  I happen to love  how convenient media has made can save a lot of time and energy.  But it's how we use this convenience.  It seems like we're so "stimulated" with all the new gizmos and gadgets that we're being lolled to sleep - and totally apathetic to the ideas that our minds are being saturated with in the process. 

Remembering that all forms of media act as a counselor to us is imperative.  Because who or what we hang out with....or spin our little worlds what makes us who we are (Proverbs 13:20)  We need to filter all these ideas through a Biblical worlview if we hope to survive the rapidly changing culture around us.

"Show me your friends, and I'll show you your future." ~ Bill Cosby

Axis really helped me to start recognizing the messages I'm getting.  They're everywhere!  In fact I just discovered the worldview behind "Friday Night" a few days ago.  I'm picking up so much more than I used to.  There are messages (subtle though they might be) everywhere.  I even picked up a touch of self-actualization in the Arthur and DW theme song that I watched for years as a little kid........

"You got to listen to your heart, listen to the beat, listen to the's a simple message and it comes from da heart, believe in yourself, believe in yourself, well that's the place to start!"

Note from one of the speakers:  What if, when we look inside to "find ourselves"...we end up find a real jerk?!

So.....I could go on and on with tons more examples and amazing qoutes.....but that is going to have to wrap up this particular post. :-)  Do you have any examples of media messages that have worldviews behind them?  It's a new interest of mine to pick apart songs and movies please comment and share!!  :-)


Anonymous said...

Could not agree more with this post, Rachel!

Things to pick apart:
Ever heard True to Your Heart by The Cheetah Girls? It was really popular about 3 years ago or so. How about Disney Channel...and every show in it with the self promotion message? =P Katy Perry is a great example though, she is so popular right now, and did you know also the daughter of two pastors?

The Farmgirl said...

Glad to hear this was talked about at your conference. So true, but unfortunately this agenda is also evident in so-called "Christian Music". Many of the Christian record labels are OWNED by secular corporations. Listen to some of the lyrics of CCM... one must begin to question the message intent. Are the lyrics promoting worship of God or the desires of man? The music we listen to as a Christian is just as important as church doctrine. Thanks again for exposing this.

Anonymous said...

I loved reading this post! I have heard a lecture about something like this before and one song they talked about was "Listen to Your Heart" (and I can't remember who it's by...) I know that I mindlessly sing songs like this every day without even thinking about the lyrics and meanings. Thanks for reminding me with this post to be diligent and discerning about what I am listening to!


Jillian said...

Rachel! I totally agree with you! Thank you so much for sharing this!


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