What We Learned From The MTV Video Music Awards

God is not worried. The MTV Video Music Awards (VMA's) on Sunday evening did not silence Him and cause Him to throw His hands up in the air in frustration. This is God's world and He has seen this before. Remember the nation of Israel and it's frequent route to idolatry and paganism and Sexual dysfunction?

God has a plan. He always has had one. And things haven't changed. We are God's plan. The church should never shy away from the cultural conversations of our day. And we should undertake them in love and restoration. And, of course, biblically centered. The only argument we have is truth. Not present day context or culture. Just because something is prevalent doesn't mean it is correct.

Edmund Burke said it best. "The only thing needed for evil to triumph is that good men do nothing."

The VMAs (Video Music Awards) are the barometer of our teen culture and who the producers are in American teen life. You may not like that, but, it is true. As it's biggest show of the year, MTV parades its pop stars and messages to millions of teens as a forerunner to the beginning of school and the social conversations that will spread the media giants message through the teen world overnight.

Listen, I love a good party. The energy was like many great church services I have been in. The creativity was at its height. Is there a better set design on TV? Costuming (because we all know they don't wear that off the stage) for the most part was fun to watch. And there was actually some talent. Seriously, for as many that were in the room. There was some talent.

But, taking a step back from the initial anger and shock, what was actually being promoted? Here are 2 of my responses:

1. The disintegration of biblical values. (2 Corinthians 5.17) Not many references to The Ten Commandments or the Sermon on the Mount. An award-winning artist stated that he learned hatred in the church and dissed the church for its conservative standards. Not sure what church he went to. And the standards the church adheres to from the bible are desperately needed in our generation or there will be no moorings left to keep our culture from eventual destruction. From the hosts language to the artists lyric, cursing, disrespect of authority, the image portrayed of women, and an obvious sexual dysfunction that rivals that of any time in world history. The excesses of one generation become the habits and attitudes of the next. If our generation is going to ride the wave of the music of our present culture, there will be a big crash at the end. I have learned in 30 years of youth ministry that if you don't stand for something you will fall for anything.

Our teenage culture is missing the fences and ceilings that should accompany every society. The boast of "not gonna stop" and "we couldn't change if we want to" has become the theme of the summer and flies in the face of the spiritual transformation that is needed so badly today. I found it interesting that right after one artist sang this popular mantra, a TV commercial boasted the 'TRANSFORMATION' theme of its product by showing a new kind of hamster. A hamster can change but a human cannot? Nice MTV.

2. The disintegration of sexuality. (1 Corinthians 6.12-20) While the shocked and disappointed response of the Will Smith family to one of the performances was telling, the Smith family response may have been the highlight of the night for decency. If you are looking for a bash against homosexuality here, you may be disappointed. While I do not support gay marriage or the gay lifestyle, it was actually good to hear support for the homosexual community. In my estimation there is way too much hatred and judgment in America on gays. However, my same sentiment is shared for the racial injustices and the religious intolerance in America today. Can you imagine the outcry of everyone if a conservative Christian male artist would have trumpeted abstinence and faithfulness and respect for his wife? He would have been ripped apart. No worries, that artist isn't receiving awards from MTV. But, these feelings of hatred and judgment in America will never go away. We live with this. The question will be, how long will it take until we destroy ourselves with another fence run or ceiling drop? Is the therapy of group sex or beastiality the next cultural wave that we support and promote? I know you are thinking, "whoa, Grenell, that is way over the edge." Really? We'll see.

My main reaction to the sexual dysfunction in the VMA's was how little self-control there was. It doesn't need to be stated that the kind of influence these artists have on pushing the envelope and lowering the ceiling of morality and behavior in our day is unequalled. On too many occasions the message was "do what we do and be cool" rather than "do what we do and get pregnant or pay the consequences." From most of the reviews that I have heard and read (outside of the usual support from media industry networks) nobody was impressed by the sexual content of the show.

Back to Burke. "The only thing needed for evil to triumph is that good men do nothing." If you are reading this you are probably a Christian. Do something about the kind of things that upset you. But, do it in love. God has not called us to hide behind our message and point fingers at people who may be different from us. Please don't judge the person who may have different views than you. Respect them. And correct them when you can. Because if someone does not correct the excesses of one generation, the next generation may fail to survive.

Remember, all things may be lawful for me, but, not all things are good for me.
Jeff Grenell