RSS Feed

Tag Archives: sitcoms

Stimulate Wholesome Thinking

When I was younger, the FCC held higher standards, limiting adult content to late night television.  Now, whether its sitcoms laughing at broken marriages, questionable commercials during sporting events or indecent lyrics within modern songs, wholesome thinking is being phased out.  In a recent Philadelphia radio ad, charities are now selling tickets to hear local celebrities made fun of, mocked and roasted in public.  I guess sin does sell.

Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving, Ephesians 5:4.

Unfortunately, negativity is nothing new.  In a letter to church officials in Ephesus, Paul addresses a concern he experienced first hand during his long stay.  When an individual steps across an unwritten line, there’s a temptation to join in, similar to a feeding frenzy.  Even if you didn’t start teasing someone or throwing another under the bus, resisting the desire to jump in is difficult.  Weekly, I find myself participating, indulging in unwholesome talk before its too late to take something back.

Dear friends, this is now my second letter to you. I have written both of them as reminders to stimulate you to wholesome thinking, 2 Peter 3:1.

The disciple Peter who also had a reputation for running his mouth came to a crossroads.  At some point near the end of his life, Peter became an advocate for wholesome thinking.  Torn up inside over the collateral damage of hurtful words, Peter encouraged believers to embrace wholesome thinking.  Therefore, if you’re feed up by societies destructive vocabulary, join this fight by stimulating those around you to engage in wholesome thinking.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

 

Empty Again

The saying, “absence makes the heart grow fonder” first appeared in 1602, published within Francis Davison’s Poetical Rhapsody.  This expression applies to several aspects in life.  Thus, while working nights since July, I began to miss some of the television shows I use to watch with my family.  Until Saturday, a marathon to check up on a few of my favorites, I forgot how empty entertainment can leave a soul, void of any significant meaning.

Although spending an entire day as a couch potato sounds appealing, boredom is a likely destination despite how many channels your cable or dish company provides.  According to Philippians 2:4, every human does need to be refreshed, before they can be of any benefit to others.  Yet, indulging in comedies, movies and sitcoms provide temporary pleasure before fading fast.  If you choose this path, emptiness is unavoidable.

Subsequently, individuals need to look in a different direction to experience a complete restoration.  Emptiness can be replaced by practicing Romans 12:1-2, leading to a transformed mind.  Depending upon your own desire, devotion and discipline, the timing on this change varies.  Whether you’re listening to or reading the Bible, Romans 10:17, faith will not disappoint, making the empty feel whole once again.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

Last Call

Every classic movie or sitcom filmed in a bar has at least one scene based upon the notion, last call for one more round of drinks.  In the 1996 film Invincible, Mark Wahlberg plays Vince Papale, a bartender who fulfills a life long dream of trying out for Philadelphia Eagles, his local NFL team.  As the plot develops, several of the beginning scenes take place at the establishment where Vince hangs out and takes a part time job after losing his teaching position.  Like the closing bell on Wall Street, the last call serves as a two minute warning before closing up for the night.

In life, few people receive a clear indication that their time on earth is up.  Sure, those stricken by an incurable disease have an inclination that the end is near, yet countless are cut down, killed in accidents or murdered without any signs or notice.  These individuals don’t have any time to prepare for eternity.  Instead, their destination is determined by the life they have lived.  Unfortunately, no one is perfect, Romans 3:9-12, falling short of God’s expectations, Matthew 5:48.

In Luke 23:32-43, three man were sentenced to death.   As curious spectators got their kicks, watching 3 men die on a cross, one man took advantage of this last call on life.  Acknowledging his crime publicly and worried about his future, one criminal pleaded with Jesus, Luke 23:41-42.  As a result, this fortunate soul received something better than a last drink, the gift of eternal life, Luke 23:43.  May you seize the moments God gives you during the living years so that you will enter the place Jesus calls paradise, 1 John 5:13.

by Jay Mankus

Christless

Seinfeld was one of the first sitcoms to mock Christmas, establishing Festivus for the rest of us.  Meanwhile, Jewish holidays weren’t exempt as Saturday Night Live, known as SNL, created their own version of Hanukkah sung by Adam Sandler.  At one point in American culture, certain topics were taboo, to avoid offensive language.  However, a growing trend has erased the line eliminating boundaries, opening up every religion to verbal attacks except for Islam.

When you subtract the presents, songs and exchange of gifts, what else remains?  Sure, there are decorations, lights and manger scenes, but is Jesus still Lord of this holiday?  Or has the good news of a Messiah been X-out by cards too cheap to print the reason for masses across the country and throughout the world?  As I look around the roads, shopping malls and desolate streets, cheers of good news is a rare sound.  Rather, complaining, gripes and moodiness fill the air, opening the door for another Christ-less season.

If political correctness continues to be a guiding light for Americans, I’m afraid the days of Christmas may soon be over.  In a recent interview, Christian singer Chris Tomlin vowed he’d go to jail if celebrating Christmas ever became illegal.  For those who think, “that would never happen here,” don’t be so sure.  For whenever a nation curses Israel or harms their ability to remain free, God promises to curse those countries that don’t stand with God’s chosen people.  In the Silent Nights that remain, may the Holy Spirit touch your heart, persuading you to invite Jesus back into your home, neighborhood and perhaps local schools.  If not, Christmas will be another day for the homeless and orphans, waiting for a brighter day.

by Jay Mankus

The Brady Bunch Generation

One might say Sherwood Schwartz was a pioneer, conceiving a sitcom for blended families well before society was willing to accept divorce.  Inspired by a 1965 column in the Los Angeles Times, Schwartz developed a vision for a show which took 3 girls and their mother played by Florence Henderson, joining them together with Robert Reed who had 3 boys of his own from a previous marriage.  When you add Alice, a live in maid staring Ann Davis, the Brady Bunch was born.  This suburban family related to average citizens, coping with the same struggles a parent, teenager and sibling face daily.  As shows like Little House on the Prairie became unrealistic, not achievable anymore, the Brady Bunch’s success led to 117 episodes from 1969-1974.

My favorite episode illustrates the battle which exists between brothers, Greg and Peter, who end up drawing a line down the middle of their room, attempting to distinguish who owned what.  Relying on emotions, not wisdom, their joint decision is not well thought out as Greg has complete control of the bathroom, yet only Peter has access to the hallway door.  Unfortunately, some people never mature, participating in ridiculous feuds over animals, children and possessions.  This moral decay continues today as a typical two parent family with one mom and one dad is now a minority, on the verge of becoming obsolete.  The Brady Bunch Generation has placed its stamp on American culture, embracing the imperfections so prevalent within mankind.

Genesis 31:1-2 reveals the beginning of a Brady Bunch like dispute between Laban and Jacob, whose name is later changed to Israel.  This tiff causes Jacob to flee without talking out his differences, like a child trying to run away from home in Genesis 31:17.  Laban pursues Jacob, eager to get things off his chest, Genesis 31:26.  Like a good solider, Jacob quietly waits for his turn to respond, beginning to rumble like a volcano ready to blow, Genesis 31:35-42.  Previously afraid of confrontation, Jacob releases his feelings which had been stored up for over 20 years.  Once both men had spoken their mind, this exchange sets the scene for an unique peace treaty in Genesis 31:43-55.  Instead of using tape to divide their territories, Laban and Jacob decide to use a heap of stones, creating a pillar.  This structure laid the boundary, similar to modern day property lines, agreeing not to intrude on the others’ life anymore.

This episode and biblical account reveal several great life lessons.  First, communication is crucial to maintaining peace with friends, family and neighbors.  Second, expressing your emotions allows you to let go of any grudge or resentment that you may have toward an individual.  Finally, when you bring other witnesses into your dispute, this serves as accountability down the road to prevent you from repeating the same mistake over again.  No one can ever achieve perfection, but if you give God your best, Matthew 5:48, He can make the rest of your days on earth like a story book ending, at least as good as life can get.

by Jay Mankus

Not A Laughing Matter

Comedy and humor have been turned upside down over the past 50 years in America.  If you examine sitcoms from the last 5 decades, you will find that each entertainer tries to push the envelope a little further than the person before them.  Somewhere between the 60’s and 70’s, Hollywood crossed the line, leaving courtesy, dignity and honor out in the dark.  As cursing, indecency and swearing have replaced natural wit in recent years, the content of most comics is not a laughing matter.

When I read Genesis 9:20-24 today, I was reminded of the days of my youth.  If this event took place in the early 80’s, most of the audience would be in shock, not sure how to respond.  Thirty years later, souls have been desensitized by the acts of the sinful nature, Galatians 5:19-21.  Films like Fast Times at Ridgemont High and Animal House have stolen the innocence of our children’s generation.  Thus, instead have following in the footsteps of Shem and Japheth, our culture is now laughing with Ham.

It’s only fitting that the father of the Canaanites, Ham, became the thorn in Israel’s side.  In fact, God demanded that the Israelites destroy the Canaanites so that their life style would not corrupt God’s chosen people.  One of Jesus’ disciples has given us a new command today, to live in the world, but not of it, 1 Peter 2:11-12.  God doesn’t want us to become Amish and move to Lancaster or Puritans who isolated themselves from society.  Rather, we need to be salt and light, Matthew 5:13-14, refraining from laughing at inappropriate jokes, yet enjoying good and decent comedy.  I am just as guilty of the next guy or girl, smirking at comments made on talk radio as I drive to work.  However, its time to stand in the gap, Ezekiel 22:30, defending the principles of the Bible, Psalm 1:1-2, by proclaiming this is no longer a laughing matter.

by Jay Mankus

Faith Like the Jeffersons

In their theme song, Movin’ On Up, 2 African Americans elude to their struggles to achieve the American Dream.  As the lyrics below indicate, George and Louise Jefferson worked their way up from poverty to the upper middle class.  This 70’s sitcom served as a spin off of All in the Family, lasting 11 seasons with an impressive total of 253 episodes.

Movin’ On Up

Well we’re movin on up,
To the east side.
To a deluxe apartment in the sky.
Movin on up,
To the east side.
We finally got a piece of the pie.

Fish don’t fry in the kitchen;
Beans don’t burn on the grill.
Took a whole lotta tryin’,
Just to get up that hill.
Now we’re up in the big leagues,
Gettin’ our turn at bat.
As long as we live, it’s you and me baby,
There ain’t nothin wrong with that.

Well we’re movin on up,
To the east side.
To a deluxe apartment in the sky.
Movin on up,
To the east side.
We finally got a piece of the pie.

For the average middle class family in America, times have gotten tough and if the recent down turn in the economy is any indication, its only going to get worse.  Like the Jefferson’s, I have big dreams for a deluxe apartment in the sky, yet I currently find myself as a lowly peon.  When you start over or begin a new job, you’re at the bottom, looking up at everyone else.  To accomplish your goals, you have to stand out, Philippians 2:14-15, going above and beyond the basic expectations of your employer.

Although you might feel like Cinderella at times, lost and forgotten, you must possess faith like the Jeffersons, Matthew 21:21-22.  Their vision for a better life didn’t happen over night, they had to work for it.  Thus, the next time you feel like you’re not where you want to be, bear down by trusting in the Lord, Proverbs 3:5-6.  Aim yourself with the attitude of Christ, 1 Peter 4:1-2 and the desires of your heart will be within reach, Jeremiah 29:11.  Keep the faith!

by Jay Mankus

%d bloggers like this: