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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » James Meehan » James Meehan - How Should Christians Respond to Culture?

James Meehan - How Should Christians Respond to Culture?

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    James Meehan - How Should Christians Respond to Culture?
TOPICS: Culture Makers

Vince Parker: Well, my name is Vince. This is James and we're talking all things culture, events, tech, gaming, TV, movies, music, you name it. But the question is, why?

James Meehan: Because we live in a crazy world with all sorts of things that are happening. And, especially for those of us who are followers of Jesus, we've gotta develop the wisdom to understand how to respond to what's happening in our world. Because the reality is is that the loudest voices will influence our choices. And hopefully, we can find ourselves in a place where the loudest voice is the voice of God's truth as revealed through Jesus.

Vince Parker: So this isn't us telling people how to think, or what to think. This is just us talking about topics and how would Jesus think about it.

James Meehan: Right, absolutely. And it's just from us doing the best we can to hopefully help you ask better questions instead of just going with whatever the loudest person on social media or in your life happens to be saying at that moment.

Vince Parker: So, is there any topics that are off limits?

James Meehan: I'm sure that there are.

Vince Parker: But we don't, we're not there yet?

James Meehan: I don't know what those are.

Vince Parker: Yeah, so let's just, let's just see what happens and hopefully none of this gets cut. Let's talk music.

James Meehan: Okay, yeah, yeah.

Vince Parker: Okay. So, Justin Bieber, Harry Styles and The Weeknd, all released new music videos last week.

James Meehan: Yup.

Vince Parker: Did you watch em yet?

James Meehan: No, I only listen to worship music. I only listen to Switch MSE.

Vince Parker: Oh, okay. James is coming like that. James is coming like that.

James Meehan: I'm kidding, I'm kidding.

Vince Parker: Wow!

James Meehan: All right, so to be honest though, I haven't heard any of these new songs. The reality is most of the time, if I'm listening to music it's usually like when I'm working out or something.

Vince Parker: So I have heard the songs.

James Meehan: Okay. Yup.

Vince Parker: But I saw the videos last week kind of when they dropped. And I gotta say like Harry styles, like be kind to people. I think that's the... "Treat People with Kindness". I mean it's got this real black and white feel to it. It's really cool. Got like this Fred Astaire throwback. It's really cool. I think you'd like it. So whenever you get on to it whether it's next week or six years from now whenever that is, James, you'll like it. Now The Weeknd's new stuff, that's weird. Like I don't know, I like The Weeknd.

James Meehan: I like The Weeknd as well. I feel like most of his stuff is pretty weird though.

Vince Parker: Let me just say he's singing and his face kinda looks different.

James Meehan: Yeah. Yeah.

Okay? Like it just, to me, it does, it looks different. I could be wrong. But he's singing to a crowd and everyone's wearing masks and they're just sitting there. What determines what makes you listen to a song or not listen to a song?

I mean, honestly for me I like music that is gonna take me on a journey by telling some kind of story. You know, I want there to be a good, you know, musicality to it, all of those different things. But I like to be able to, through the lyrics, for them to take me on a journey. So like the band Journey.

Okay, all right. I don't know if anyone watching this is listening to the band Journey, but maybe you check it out. But I'll tell you what, think you like Justin Bieber's new video "Anyone". Cause it's like, he basically does it to like "Rocky". Like he's like Rocky and it's a...

You talking about "Rocky Balboa"?

"Rocky Balboa", but Justin is Rocky and I think you'll enjoy that. So let's move on from music to movies and TV. So right now I'm kind of excited. I don't know when you're gonna be watching this but on, I believe January 15th, "WandaVision" drops on Disney Plus. are you an "Avengers" person? Are you excited for this? What's the deal? Let us know. Should you even watch this as a believer?

For me, I love all things Marvel. Like all the Marvel movies, I've watched them.

They're from God, would you say that?

Oh wow. That is...

Is that too far of a stretch?

That might be too far of stretch, but here's, here's what I believe. Everything we watch, everything we listen to influences us in some way. Now for me, I love any story where heroes, like are overcoming insurmountable odds. I love stories where there is somebody who is willing to sacrifice themselves for the greater good because that is the heart of the gospel. And that's exactly what Jesus did for all of us. And over and over again in these Marvel movies, whether you like them or not, there are these examples of these people who are choosing to do the hard right over the easy wrong. Captain America, the GOAT.

Okay, I mean, I was gonna say like Black Panther or Ironman but okay. Captain America is cool.

I mean, they're amazing too. They're amazing too. Don't get me wrong.

So let's just dive into a new movie that's out that's kind of controversial for, well, let's just go into it. "Wonder Woman". Have you seen it? What do you think?

I have not seen it.

Why not?

Well the reason why I haven't seen is cause one of my buddies, he actually posted on his Instagram stories rating it a negative one out of 10.

Wow. Ooh!

And I was like, "Okay, cool". Like I probably won't go see this. Now, don't get me wrong, The first "Wonder Woman" I thought was fantastic. It is, besides the "Dark Knight" trilogy, I think the first "Wonder Woman" is the best DC movie that's been made.

So I'm gonna give it a little bit correction to the negative one.

Oh, okay.

"Wonder Woman" sucked, okay? So I think sucked is below, worse than negative one. I was so excited about it. It was dropping on Christmas. I had got HBO Max. I was right to watch it. I was hyped, and here's the weird thing. I don't think anything would have stopped me from watching this movie, right? Like, but I watched it and as I watched it I felt like I was crying internally. Right but not like in a way cause the movie was moving me but cause I was just like, this is bad.

Like, it was like a cringe cry.

Like oh my goodness, what is happening? Like it was just, I don't even know what to say. I don't know how'd you feel about it? It was bad. Here's the deal. If I were you, I would not watch it. Don't do that to yourself. Unless you like cringing, then go right ahead. And I tell you what I should have watched okay? It's another movie. It's on Disney Plus. It's called "Soul". Now, I did not watch it. I need to watch it. Have you watched it? How do you feel about it?

So for me, when I go to a Pixar movie, I'm looking for two things. Number one, I'm looking to have a great time. I want it to be enjoyable and fun, but then number two I want it to tell a heartwarming story. And I think that's what the best Pixar movies always do. For me, "Soul" did the second thing really, really well, but not the first thing as well. So it was like a really great story. It had great characters, the animation was off the charts good, but it just wasn't as nearly as fun or funny as most Pixar movies, right? It had its great moments. And so the whole time I was watching it, I was like, man, this just doesn't feel like a Pixar movie. Now, I know a ton of people love it. I think it's worth watching. It's just one of those things where because of what my expectations were, I think that's part of what made it not quite as enjoyable for me personally.

James, what I love about you is before you sound like you watch or listen to anything, you actually have a set of guidelines that you seem to follow that determines whether or not you should watch it or whether you enjoy it, versus me, I saw "Wonder Woman" was like, the first one was dope, I gotta watch the second one. And I forced myself through that second movie when I just should have stopped and been like, this is bad, but I didn't.

All these movies and music that we're talking about I think one of the things that does require us to have wisdom in is asking the question, all right, like what, like how are these movies and this music influencing us, right? Is it making us more of the kind of person that can love others the same way that Jesus has loved us. And then all of these movies and some of the songs that we've already talked about have really good elements. But I think there are other elements where it requires a little bit of wisdom and discernment to be able to say, you know what, like that part probably not quite as good, right? There's there's aspects of "Soul" that I think are really brilliant and really beautiful. There's other aspects of it that are like, yeah, that's kinda weird. I'm not gonna hold on to that. I'm gonna take the good and leave out the bad.

So it's almost like you're saying we should then use those filters to apply to future movies or music that we listen to.

Cause I have conversations with people all the time who will tell me like, "Oh yeah, I listen to this music, but like, it doesn't affect me" or "I listen, I watch these movies but it doesn't affect me. Like game of Thrones. Yeah, I watch it. Like I don't, I don't skip the nudity, I just watch it". You know, like people will tell me that stuff and be like, "Oh, it doesn't affect me". And it's so crazy to me because it's like, no. Like everything influences us in some way. And that's where I try to have wisdom and discernment to say, "Look, I know that just about everything I watch. There's going to be some things I agree with. And there's probably gonna be some things I disagree with". And so what I wanna be able to do is have the wisdom to say, "All right, what's good about this and how can I celebrate the good and then how can I be aware of what might not be quite as good and then put boundaries and intentionality and use wisdom to make sure that I'm being more influenced by the good than by the bad".

And that's what this show is all about, right? It's making sure that you're putting the right boundaries in for you, not... Cause everyone's boundaries gotta be different, right?

Yeah, absolutely.

And we're gonna disagree on some things, like probably this next topic I'm about to bring up, right? Like I don't, I don't know what side we're on. But we said most things aren't off limits. Storming of the Capitol. Do you need time to think about it? I mean, what, I mean.

I mean, at this point, I've had plenty of time to think about it.

Okay. Are you just gonna dive right in?

So here's the thing, This is something that we could literally talk about for hours. Cause there's so there's so much to it.

We don't have hours for this.

Like we don't have hours. So here's what I would say, when it comes to anything and everything political, so often what I see people trying to do is convince everybody and themselves that Jesus would be on their side. And I wish that we would spend half as much energy trying to make sure that we are on Jesus' side. And so often, like literally, this is what I see people do all the time. I was like, nah, let me tell you, let me tell you all the reasons Jesus would be a Republican or let me tell you all the reasons Jesus would be a Democrat. And it's like, yo, please slow down, pause, open your Bible. Look at the gospels. Look at the person of Jesus. And the more that you do, what you're gonna discover is that the kingdom of God is way too big to fit into either this party or that party. That for us to intentionally follow Jesus faithfully in our world today, if we comfortably fit on either this side or that side, then I think that's a little bit of a cause for concern, because I think that there are good things on this side and that side. I think that there are bad things on this side and on that side. But I think that that's part of the wisdom and discernment required for us to live faithfully as followers of Jesus today.

That's good.

To be able to recognize that all things political, they're messy, they're broken, they're, they, they make people do really really ugly things, but we engage as followers of Jesus. Why? Because politics affect people. And we've been called by our God to love and serve people.

I'll tell you what, for me, James, that was crazy. That was, that was insane. That was something that I thought I would never see in my lifetime. I don't even have the words back then it's been a few days since then, like how to process it. And it was just strange how that happened, but the entire world seemed to be just watching the US response and all we did was beat each other up.

Oh dude!

Right? And it's to a point that people spoke before they actually had a chance to process their emotions and their feelings. And it was like, I feel like I'm still processing emotions. I feel like I'm still processing feelings. I feel like the way things were handled just seemed way off to me. But like I didn't feel like I could shout that from the rafters, not because my feelings were wrong or not right but like, I was still processing, and I thought I'd always learned from mentors and people in my life that you shouldn't just start screaming, right? Like when you're still trying to figure, when you still trying to figure things out, right? Even if, even if you know you're right. And so I think you should know that it's okay to be processing your emotions and feelings and that like overnight you don't have to come up with this instant answer of like this is exactly how I feel and this is exactly what I wanna say. I will say this. That was crazy. Never thought I'd see that. That was wrong. I can't believe that happened. And to me, the response seemed off, but I speak for myself. I don't speak for an entire organization but I'm just saying that was weird.

What I think it's so tempting about social media is we all have this platform where we can shout our opinions in a split second.


And I think that there are really important conversations that need to be had about what happened, about how people carried themselves about how Christians responded to it. And I think that some of those conversations are probably best had face to face in person rather than being shouted through our social media platforms. Because man, it's really, really hard to treat somebody as a human being made in the image of God when all I see is a tiny little picture or whatever their username is.

It's gotta be okay to be able to process our emotions, like God understands where we're at. He understands why we feel these hurts. He understands why we feel those pains. And just because someone else doesn't feel your hurt and pain doesn't mean you're hurt and pain isn't real.

Come on.

And it doesn't mean that God's not walking through you with it. Now how you process it and how you walk through it with God are going to be different for each and every single person. But just know never take your hurt and your pains for granted. Like never think that God doesn't feel your hurt and your pain. Let's hop into something I saw on YouTube the other day. MrBeast. Are you familiar with MrBeast?


Dude's crazy. Does the wildest things.

A hundred percent.

So this is what he did. He bought out five stores. Did you, have you seen this yet?

I, I saw it pop up. I didn't watch the video, but I saw like that it happened.

So he, he first buys out like a clothing ski shop, right?


Right, but donate all the jackets. It's like $85,000 worth of stuff, right? Then he buys out a game stop, like the receipt's a mile long, but then he takes in his crew and they box all this stuff up and they give to a Boys and Girls Club.


Right. Like, it's insane. Then next he buys out a car dealership. Like it's not like the world's largest car dealership. I think it's got like 20 cars on it. And as people show up, they're like, like, "Hey, hi, what kinda car you looking for"? And they just give them the car. Then he buys out, you know, like a Play it Again Sports, like they sell sporting equipment that's new and used. He buys out one of those but he calls in local coaches from like neighborhoods that don't necessarily have as much stuff and tells them just to come and get as much as they can. So they're getting like football pads cause they haven't had football pads in 10 years. Right? Like, which is insane and crazy. And then finally he goes in to buy out an entire grocery store but after getting halfway through him and the manager discuss and they think it will be best for the community if they don't buy out the entire grocery store. so he just buys out half, he just buys out half, and he lets us know that, "Hey, here's the deal. The trucks are coming back to resupply in the morning, but he's taking all the food because, as you know, he's a real.."., I said that wrong.

I don't know what you were trying to say.

Yeah, Phil-lam-per, yeah phil, philamper

Oh, philanthropist!


He is a philanthropist.

Yes, there you, and he's into giving stuff away. So he actually has a food pantry. So he took eight U-Hauls full of food.

My goodness.

And it's given away to his food pantry. So I think that's really dope. It's really cool that he did all of that.

The first question that I always ask when it comes to a MrBeast video is where does he get the money to buy all of these things?

Well, he's... Some videos are sponsored, right? So some videos are sponsored. This video he says was not sponsored.

That's what I'm trynna...

So he spent like $600,000 of his own money. I mean, it's probably a really good write-off.

Second question is, I love the fact that he is making being generous cool, you know? Like that's literally what he's doing in some of these videos and I think it's fantastic. I think that the more that we can have people of influence who are showing, hey, like being good to others is a really good thing to do is fantastic. Like he models irrational generosity in some of these videos. You know, I don't know the guy personally, so I don't know a ton about him, but man, like some of those videos, I'll watch em, and I'm first thinking, this is insane. And secondly, I'm thinking, man, I love that there's somebody out there who's taking what they have and using it for the good of others.

Right. I think it's a great representation at how we should be as people, that we should be irrationally generous with it. And that we should take our opportunities to better serve those that are in need and need help and wherever we see a need because those passions that God has put inside of us, right, he's also given us the gift to do something about it.

Yup. A hundred percent.

I think we've talked about a lot today. Right. We wanna thank y'all for watching. We think you should tune in, subscribe, like, comment. What would you like us to talk about? What questions you'd like us to answer? You guys help us grow this show cause we want it to be about you. James, anything you wanna add? Anything you want to say before we get outta here?

No, we're excited to get to be a part of this and we're gonna keep coming back, talking about the things that are happening in the world. And so if there's specific things you want us to talk about, like Vince said, make sure you comment down below.

All right, we'll see you guys later. Peace.

See you.
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