This sermon is part of the sermon series "Love and the City". See series.
A few months ago, Karen and I went to the movies. We were in the mood for a romantic comedy, so we went to see a film called Love, Actually. We didn't know too much about it, but it had a handful of British actors and actresses we like, and sounded like the kind of film we were looking for. We didn't realize till we were standing in line that it was an "R" movie, which we don't typically go to, but it looked pretty harmless so we decided to go ahead. Forty-five minutes later we scooped up our coats and walked out of the theater. It wasn't the offensive language or the flashes of nudity which drove us out. It was the trashing of love; the trivialization of sex; the trifling with people's deep longings that I just couldn't take anymore.
At first I was angry. Angry that this film purported to be about love, when in fact it was about adultery and flirtation and lust and confusion. It bothered me that all over the country people were sitting in theaters soaking it up, subliminally surrendering to the notion that what they were watching on the big screen was Love, Actually. I felt like standing up in the theater and shouting out, "No, no. That's not it at all!"
I left the theater mad, especially since we'd blown $18 and a night out. But as I drove home, I became afraid. Afraid for what our culture is telling people about love and sex and marriage. Afraid for the damage people are doing to themselves and to one another and to society.
That movie was just one of many value-shaping forces in our world today. There are the reality dating shows—The Bachelor, the Bachelorette, Joe Millionaire. I happened to catch a few minutes of The Bachelor this past week, as one of the women contestants described how she ...
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