Monday, March 14, 2005

Being In The World, But Not In The World

Last week between seminary, work, homework, class, homework, seeing our best friends leave New York forever, homework, and homework, I've been following an interesting post at Millennial Star about parenting and media. Geoff B makes some interesting points as he lays out his children's television-viewing schedule (none hours a week). There have been some interesting comments as the post is still moving forward. In one comment Geoff defended his techniques using the Mormon favorite, "Aren't we supposed to be in the world but not of the world?"

Now, I don't know who originally penned this silly saying, but it's not from the scriptures. I suspect it is a modern-day translation/interpretation of John 17:14-16 though I can't imagine that Christ meant it in the same way in which we express it. It seems that most members interpret "in this world" to mean "on this earth". In other words, we should live on this earth, but we shouldn't participate in "worldly" things. I agree we shouldn't participate in "worldly" things (though that definition is up for debate as well, but that's a topic for another post) but why do we have to limit ourselves to just being on this earth? Can we not be among the wicked? Shouldn't a faithful member seek out a job in television so that he can have influence on the industry for good, rather than completely avoid television? Shouldn't we live in the "mission field" so we may have influence over those in need of a good example, rather than live in Provo?

In verse 15 Christ says, "I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil" I don't think Christ is telling his Father not to remove us from the earth. I think He's specifically asking Heavenly Father to not remove us from the wickedness around us, only to help us not be susceptible to it.