More Guilt than pleasure…

A couple weeks ago I posted, “Glee is my guilty pleasure” on my facebook page. For all the world to see, for all my friends to read, in a way I stamped it with my approval. Therein lies my guilt…but not the greatest of it.

My daughter was sick that week and I was giving round the clock treatments, my husband was gone a lot, and whereas my watching television is usually RARE in our house, it had become almost habitual…a much needed break.

I love music! I was in choir and ensemble and did musicals in High School (The King and I was by far my favorite!), and in college I took voice lessons and helped in the theatre department, so a show with as much pizazz and music as Glee was just a matter of turning it on to get sucked in.

If you’ve never seen Glee you might not understand this post, but if you have, maybe you’ve struggled with some of the same themes. I don’t have an issue with the young boy that struggles as a homosexual. I naturally root for the underdog, and his is a sad story, a sad life, and I know a few that have had to walk in his shoes. “Poor Kurt,” I agreed.

My older daughter asked to watch it with me, I hesitated, but tired as I was when she used the argument, “All my friends watch it!” I gave in. Well, if ALL her friends watch it…?  So, we sat through a pretty tame episode. It was obvious that Kurt was gay, it didn’t take a genius to see through the “I adore fashion and shopping” comments, so I let her keep watching. Then, there was a show about a bigger girl and how this football player had a thing for her…but it wasn’t her time and her attention he wanted, it was her tongue and her touch. It was obvious, and I was hesitant. I suppose at this point, when sex became the focal point, I should have turned the show off…but no. I needed to learn my lesson.

I already knew that I was treading some pretty rocky ground, to the point that I made my daughter promise that she wouldn’t turn that show on without me. She agreed and she is fairly compliant so I felt I was “Safe”. As I had promised her earlier that day, I finished up some work, got us all ready for bed, and grabbed the remote to watch another episode of Glee. I should mention that my “Work” was ministry…and one of my ministries that night involved talking to a teen girl about her struggle with homosexuality. I was doing my best to assure her that she wasn’t a disappointment and that I loved her, but that I desperately believed that she was setting herself up for another heartache, girl or boy, if she didn’t learn that no human love would fill the needs that a missing father, a verbally abusive mother, and a conflicted heart had left her.

My heart was still processing that conversation when the show started, as usual with a dynamic song – well sung, well performed, and yet it was heated with sexual tension, between two guys. I looked over at my daughter and she was playing with the dog so I let it go. The next scene was two girls standing at their lockers…one was a typically mean girl, I was prepared for some slang to come out of her mouth, but then she started talking about the other girl and how they had been in love and she had looked over her for another guy. My mommy juices started to churn, this wasn’t cool. Wasn’t I just talking to a REAL girl about this very painful and disturbing issue?!

I was about to turn the television off, when I hesitated for a moment, a moment too long. Before I could stop it, (well, if I you don’t consider the million and one warning signs that I had just dismissed), the screen ignited with two guys full on kissing. My daughter’s eyes got big, I dropped the remote, groping desperately in the dark I wrestled to get it held the right way and flipped everything off.

“OFF,” I yelled in some kind of “Mommy is back to her senses, what was I thinking?!” flamboyant announcement! Then I sat there. Dumbfounded. Guilt-stricken. WHAT had I done? I looked over at Maddie, still in shock, I think, staring at a black screen,  and said, “I’m so sorry, love.” She looked at me. “No more Glee.” She nodded her head. I continued, “No more Glee for you and no more Glee for me; from now on this house is Glee free!”

But that wasn’t the end, because I had to acknowledge what I had allowed into my home…I had to talk about what they had just seen and heard, and I had to share it in a way that would not seem hateful but wise. It is one thing to happen upon these issues in life – my daughters already know that people are gay… it is another thing to show them what that means, and to explain that it is unnatural but that we are called to love them and be gracious and not speak hate or condemnation.

I was wrestling through what to say in a span of about 3 seconds when the words, “But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” I wish I had been wise enough to hear those words a couple days earlier. I wish I had served the Lord in my viewing choice, tired or not. How quickly the pleasure of a musical number and some teen angst was replaced with unbelievable guilt. I did that. I couldn’t blame Glee or the actors or anyone else in that situation. The finger pointed squarely at me. I know one picture can sit in your mind forever, that try as we might the things we long to see disappear are the visions that remain. I KNOW that. And yet, I invited that image straight into my daughter’s head.. invited it, sat down on the couch with it, and let it corrupt my daughter’s mind.

Yeah, she might forget. Yeah, it might have affected me far worse than it affected her. I pray that is the case. But, it has left with this thought, this challenge: In this battle of light and dark, where will I draw the line?  I lost one battle, but I have not even started the war… many more battles lay before me… So, Glee is no longer a pleasure but a guilt. I am sorry that I ever gave it a sloppy stamp of approval, and I realize that is just me, others might like it…I just can’t continue to blur the line of right and wrong. I can’t be ok with a show that is so blatantly different than the standards of holiness Christ has laid out for us… I remain affirmed, “BUT as for me and MY HOUSE, we will serve the LORD.”

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3 responses to “More Guilt than pleasure…

  1. Thank You Leslie! I have missed seeing you at BSF but I always enjoy reading your posts/blogs. God has blessed you with the gift of encouragement. Everything you write is so very eloquent, straight forward and from your heart. I admit I copy your comments sometimes to use with my children because you word it so much better than I could. Thanks for sharing!!
    Eugenea

  2. Thank God for His call to righteousness. It is only thru His Holy Spirit that we are guided into all truth. Thank God for His forgivenss, for His grace and mercy are new each morning.

  3. I am picky about the shows I watch. Degrassi is the one I liked and had to just say no to as it got wilder and racier years ago. I have not all been tempted to watch Glee or anything else modern. Too salacious. I have enjoyed some old Fame reruns but I have cable.

    With my daughter being 15 now I have given her freedom and permission to watch what she wants pretty much without me. This means FamilyGuy, AmericanDad, That70’sShow and a couple of others.

    She knows these things are coarse and tacky to me but she is exploring the world and I know she has truth down on the inside of her. I let her listen to her own choices in music too. These are worse if not just as bad. This week she told me she realized the John Mayer song Your Body is a Wonderland is all about sex.

    Duh I laughed. I listen to all song lyrics and analyze them. Often I ask her have you any idea what you are singing and she says “No who cares.”

    I know families without tv’s and I managed what she/I watched or listened to for many years so again I know my daughter has a good foundation. Now she has to decide for herself what is acceptable. She has had friends (girls) who have dated each other. We have all kinds of talks. Teen parenting in this generation is no cake walk!

    I am transparent about what I came out of so there is nothing off limits which is the total opposite of how I was raised. Not that I could not have talked with my parents about any topic. They just were not in a position to really listen and hear what I would have wanted to say.

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