Summary: This is the first of four sermons preached for the series "Reality Room." Using reality TV has a hook to talk about real issues, not contrived or assisted TV scenarios.

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1 Timothy 2:9 and Selected Scriptures

INTRODUCTION TO SERIES: (Drama: “The Bachelor” )

That drama is not too far from reality. In a January 2004 interview with Joe Millionaire’s Evan Marriott, he told how the whole show had been faked. From adding “smooching sounds” so that the audience would think he and one of the girls were kissing (and more) in the woods, to the point that the entire “Joe Millionaire” show was scripted. In fact, after the show ended he and Zorah Aldrich, who we thought he chose as his life long mate, returned the $25k ring that the TV audience saw and never saw each other again. On “Live with Regis and Kelly” Zora said, “The relationship ended as soon as the set lights went out.” It was all rigged. But it’s not just “Joe Millionaire.” An episode of “The Apprentice” shows an apartment being rented for a certain amount as part of the test when in truth it had already been procured for an entirely different amount just to stage that scene. Even some of the Survivor Islands that look deserted aren’t once you see a real aerial view. One ABC executive admits that “Reality TV” is actually “assisted reality.” He said, “We have to set up situations, edit and splice conversations and rig scenarios, otherwise reality tv would be a real bore!”

But are we surprised? In our more honest moments we know it’s not all real. And yet it is real popular! Over 50 “Reality TV” shows populate the tube. One poll suggests that over 2/3 of Americans watch reality tv. So the more important question is not “is it real” but, “why is it so popular?” Susan Ungaro, editor of Family Circle Magazine, told Hanna Storm on the CBS/Today Show, that she believes it’s because people are craving a dose of reality, even if it’s rigged. She said, “We have so much pretend glitz and glamor, so many “cons,” such an abundance of contrived advertising that people are looking for something that at least has a `ring of real.’ Reality TV allows us to get caught up in characters that make us wonder, `What would I have done or thought about that sceenario?” I believe she’s right - that there is a cultural hunger for what is real. For so long we have turned our backs on absolutes and have looked at fantasy and fiction that when something comes along that even seems to be real - we are all over it.

That’s why for the next four Sundays we want to make this our “Reality room” and discuss a number of real and relevant topics. None of this will be contrived, none of this will be fake. Just honest talk about what God would have us think and do with some real issues. Like: How we stay sane in an insanely busy lifestyle? How can we demonstrate humility in a ME world? How we live out our convictions in a culture that constantly cries “tolerance?.” This is reality, these are hot topics and we want to use our “reality room” to see them from the most real and relevant book in the world: the Bible. PRAY

INTRODUCTION TO SERMON: (Video clip - Apollo 13 - 1:01)

I wanted to show that clip from Apollo 13 to make sure we understand that our first topic: “Modesty in an MTV World” is not a new concern. Whether it’s 30 some years ago as depicted in that clip or 30 minutes ago when you argued with your child about what they were going to wear here, modesty has always been an issue. I am not immune either. We have a beautiful, now married daughter (I may be somewhat bias). But it has not been so long that I can’t remember this issue causing some high interest and high anxiety for us too. But every generation has had to deal with this. That’s why Paul, some 2000 years ago, wrote in 1 Timothy 2:9: “I want women to show their beauty by dressing in appropriate clothes that are modest and respectable.”(GW)

And let me be quick to say this is not just a female issue! Dave Barry wrote an article that appeared in the Chicago Tribune some time ago, and asked, "Can young men wear their pants any lower? Their waist bands are now approximately at knee level. Where will this trend end, the shins, the feet? Will our boys eventually detach themselves from their pants altogether and just drag them along behind connected to their ankles by a belt?" In God’s eyes, the whole of scripture makes it clear that these words are for all of us. But this is a perpetual struggle for families.

You know the idea of modesty in an MTV culture is kind of an oxymoron. And when I say MTV culture, I am not trying to pick on MTV; I am just using that as kind of a metaphor to describe the total sexualization of our culture. And it seems in many different circles these days that there is kind of a growing consensus, in educational circles, psychology and family circles, that when it comes to the whole subject of modesty, we may have crossed a line that’s never been crossed before. And I believe that the line gets crossed so gradually in many families that we don’t realize what is happening. I mean we watched the cute little Mousketeers that were on Mickey Mouse club on the Disney channel grow up - little Justin and little Brittany and little Cristina and you know, they are just so cute. And they make some music and your kids want the CDs and you think of them as Mousketeers and see no problem. But gradually as the years have gone by, the looks of these former musketeers gets a bit more provocative. And the clothes get shorter and tighter, and the content and the dance moves get more sexual, at first kind of covertly and then overtly, and you begin to wonder at some point you say, "Wait a minute, have I crossed a line in this process somewhere?" And it is a very confusing issue for parents to know how to respond to this, if you respond at all. “Where do you draw the line? How short is too short, how low is too low, how high is too high? And I think the primary reason that we are confused is that no one has been real enough to take the risk and address this issue of modesty. Does the Bible have any guidance on these issues? Does God give us any wisdom relative to these subject matters?" And the answer is not only “yes.” But, absolutely yes.

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