"We gather in faith..."

Teaching and commentary from our pastor, Bishop Francis J. Christian

Reflections

For many years, now, there has been a debate

about the influence of the media upon our behavior.

Does what we choose to watch on television or in the

movies affect the way we view the world and what

we do? This question has been most asked when it

comes to violent behavior and sexuality. There is

some groundbreaking research that suggests that

pregnancy rates are much higher among teens who

watch a lot of TV with sexual dialogue and behavior

compared with those with tamer viewing tastes.

Participants in the survey were 2000 teenagers from

13-17 who were questioned one year and then three

years later. They were asked how often they watched

shows with high sexual content. Teens who watched

the raciest shows were twice as likely to become

pregnant over the next three years as those who

watched few such programs. The study was

conducted by the Rand Corporation and released in

an issue of PEDIATRICS. The study concluded that

TV watching was strongly connected with teen

pregnancy even when other factors were considered

including school grades, family structure and

parents’ education level. It seems to me that findings

such as these should come as no surprise. While the

“everybody is doing it” excuse is something none of

us accepts as a good reason for anything we do, still

we are social beings and what other people value and

do does influence us. The way we understand things

is in large part determined by the society in which we

live. If the popular culture condones and promotes

certain behaviors, it is no wonder that so many

people adopt them as their own. More and more it

seems, the values and community of the church is at

odds with the values and community of the poplars

culture. Parents take note! But more than that, each

of us needs to be honest about what we allow to

influence our values and choices.