I got an email in my inbox today asking me to renew my subscription to Relevant magazine. I’ve had the subscription for nearly 2 years now, and originally only described because graphically, they are a pretty good magazine. However, over those two years, and the years I look back at them since they started, they’re not what I want in a Christian magazine. They’re nowhere near what I’d want in a Christian magazine that seeks to be…well, relevant.
In their email, they stated that the goal of Relevant magazine has been to “provide you with a magazine that pushes boundaries, asks questions, spots trends and challenges worldviews—all while helping you pursue God in everyday life.” However, for what I want in a magazine that helps me pursue God in everyday life, the magazine is no closer in doing this, than watching Clint Eastwood’s Gran Torino.
In fact, in a recent issue, they reviewed Gran Torino and had a lot to say about it. Okay, not really. The review stated that the movie “embodiment of the Eastwood mythos.” As for the character Eastwood played, it states that you won’t like him, but as he opens up, you’ll respect him. For a magazine that desires to help you draw closer to God, the characteristic of being able to know the truth and tell, as seen from God’s point of view would be helpful, but is sadly absent.
I watched Gran Torino, much to my regret. I remember that I had wanted to see it in the theaters so much, but never got the chance. Then it came out to the local video store, or for me and most of America now, the Redbox, I had to walked by it for weeks before I could rent it. And during all this time I had not read a single review to prepare me for what was in store. Of course if I had read this review, I would have been even more excited than I was.
This was not the case as I sat down with my wife, pushed the play button, and exposed myself to F-word after F-word, after….well, another F-word followed by a dozen other four-letter words, offensive language, and other words and phrases not socially attractive. In the 119 minutes of the film, we can find around 82 F-words, and over 100 profanities all together.
Though the story contains many good points about redemption, friendship, etc, etc, the question still remain: Do you want to subject yourself to all of the baggage contained in the film just for a few glimmers of “life lessons” or whatever you want to call it? Sadly many would have no problem with it. That “many” though, should not include a magazine that desires to help you get closer to God. This is especially true in light of what God has said about words: Life and death are in the power of the tongue; But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man; You are snared by the words of your mouth.
What is the price you pay for subjecting yourself to this, or anything else that is not spiritually healthy. The Bible tells us that “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.” If faith comes by hearing God’s Word, what comes in hearing other things, such as a tidal wave of profanity?
My point is not to attack Gran Torino, or Relevant magazine, but a for a publication that says their goal is to help me get closer to God, their recommendation of such a movie does exactly the opposite.
In the same issue, the cover story was titled, “The Inspired Life of Zooey Deschanel.” However, in my reading it, there was not much inspiring about it. In fact, I’ve found that many of their cover stories, and stories in general talk a lot about spirituality, religion, but not so much about Jesus, Christ, the Holy Spirit, or things that would actually pull you closer to God. The only boundaries that I’ve seen pushed are the ones that ask the readers to follow their example in a life that may fight injustice around the world or talk about it at least, stand up for the environment, and tell you about “really cool music,” but leaves you lack a deep, personal relationship with Christ that is guided by the Holy Spirit, as Jesus intended.
The latest issue I have in my hands has a cover story titles, “The Winding Spiritual Road of Jeff Tweedy & Wilco.” While the article does look at Jeff Tweedy’s “spiritual” life (like we all does not have on), not once does it look at his Christian life. That is because he doesn’t have one. While you can always catch a glimmer of spiritual nuggets from anything, a magazine that desires to get you closer with God uses something that does little of that.
The Bible focuses on the righteous, the Godly to point out characteristics, traits, and examples of how to live our lives in a Godly, righteous manner that is pleasing to the Lord. However, this is not hoe Relevant does it, as most of their articles tries to “bridge” the gap between the Christian and non-Christian through focusing on culture, Hollywood stars, and those who have had spiritual experiences in life, or stood up for causes that they agree with. However the only thing that can bridge the gap between teh non-Christian and the Christian is Jesus Christ, yet he is absent from most pages on Relevant magazine that do not contain an advertisement.
The way to get closer to God is not by showcasing those who have “tried” several religions or who have fought for causes you may agree with, or trying to put a new spin on faith, but by the tried and true methods Jesus demonstrated and talked about. Getting closer to God is as easy as studying your Bible-His message to you, His love letters to you, by fellowshipping with Him in prayer, and by praying and being led by the Holy Spirit–a doctrine that has become too taboo even in Christianity today.
These are the things that need to be spoken on, not a sixteen point plan of how this worked for so and so, but how to listen to the voice of God so He can lead you. I’m not against Relevant, I’m for them so much, but I will not spend the money God has entrusted in me on a publication that goes against what I know to be correct from God’s Word.