I’ve been watching Friday Night Lights over the last couple of weeks. It’s an interesting show that tackles some tough issues in unexpected ways, but it has also reminded me of something very sad. Originally, I started watching it when it first aired on television but then backed off because I did not like the depiction of Christian teens on the show. I still don’t like it, but now that I’m older and hopefully wiser, it is showing me something that we all need to be aware of: that many of our young people today are growing up in the Church, but not with a Christian worldview.
The series is about a high school football team in a small Texas town, but the personal stories revolve around the lives of the girls that go to the school, the football players and their friends, and the head coach (played by Kyle Chandler, who is as cute as he ever was). These are “good” kids. They go to church. They bow their heads and pray. They stand up for one another. But they also drink, and have premarital sex. Some of their church-going parents even hook up outside their marriages. It isn’t good. My parents quit watching after two episodes for that reason. But I hung in there, both because I was caught up in the show, and because I needed to think about what it was saying about America’s Christian teens.
In Hollywood, Christians aren’t that much different from anyone else except we tend to be more sanctimonious about it. We like to pretend that we’re better than the masses and we should be… but we’re not. I’ve gone to church with girls who grew up in the faith and still got knocked up. I’ve had godly discussions with girls who professed to be a believer but were unconcerned about giving the wrong impression, or courting temptation, by spending the weekend with their boyfriend. It was a bit of a shock to me, because I’ve always held to my faith, even at the point in my life when I wasn’t saved. There are things you do and do not do, and that’s that.
Kids are growing up in church but they do not have a scriptural worldview. Worldview makes all the difference. It is the “filter” through which you see life and make decisions. It influences how you vote, how you dress, what comes out of your mouth, and how you treat others. Many people call themselves Christians but don’t act like it, because their worldview is not godly. For the kids in this series, Christianity was regulated to Sunday mornings and praying before football games. But the rest of the week, their worldview was no different from their peers. That’s why there was drinking, and premarital sex, and other problems… because their worldview did not include God. It did not include the fear of God.
If someone really believed that God is sovereign, would they still choose to be disobedient to Him? No, since that would contradict their belief in His right to have moral authority over their life.
But we see it again and again… in movies like Footloose, where a minister’s daughter wears slutty outfits and is blatantly disrespectful and disobedient to her father, and in our own lives. Churches are losing their youth. It’s a tragic thing, but it is the natural consequence of lacking a godly worldview. Without it, you can’t make it in this world. Without it, you’ll adopt the world rather than be repulsed by it. I should know. I did grow up with a Christian worldview, but as I got older, as I started attending more “relaxed” churches, it began to slip. The world started to creep in. And it was only when I got back into a traditional, scripture-based church that I realized how much my worldview had changed, and how far it was from what God wants it to be.
Accepting that Friday Night Lights has a point about my Christian peers is hard, and I don’t have to like it, but it has shown me that what matters most is making sure that my worldview is in tune with Christ… not the world. I don’t want to be one of those girls who is religious on weekends, but doesn’t let that influence every decision, every word that comes out of her mouth, every moment of every day. I don’t want to be the person that Hollywood thinks I am. I will make mistakes. That’s a certainty. But these mistakes do not have to own me.