I have had this fascinating YouTube video someone sent me rumbling around in my mind all week. It claims to demonstrate the effects of subliminal advertising, which seems to have mixed reviews in terms of research support (although it has been banned in the US since the mid-70s). If you have six minutes to view it, I think you will find it fascinating as well. (If you can’t see the image in the box below, just click on the box and it will take you to the video.)
The idea behind subliminal advertising, as demonstrated so amazingly in this video, is that we are exposed to stimuli that effect our behavior without our conscience mind even being aware that we are affected. If this principle is true, and I suspect it is, then think of the implications!
Whether we choose to be or not, we are exposed to all sorts of things, not of our choosing: immodest dress, rampant materialism, and subtle and not-so-subtle pornography everywhere we go – from the magazine covers within view while standing in line at the grocery checkout to television commercials we are bombarded with as we are sitting in our living rooms.
As believers and homeschooling parents, we know we have much higher standards than the world has. We know that we have to be careful of what we read, what we watch on television, what we view on the Internet. But as I have considered this I’ve realized that we still are affected by choices others have made–and we had better recognize that we are! If we are not actively combatting these influences, they will take their toll on us and on our families.
My pastor (Rev. Conrad ‘Buster’ Brown) made three application statements recently that seemed tailor made for this conversation I have had in my head. (I love when God does that!)
First he said that we needed to actively “plead for the empowerment and leadership of the Holy Spirit.” We know our quest for holiness should not be static, it should be dynamic. We are to “work out our salvation with fear and trembling.” Phil. 2:12. Going beyond ‘not’ doing something, we are to earnestly seek godliness and holiness through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Secondly, Pastor Brown urged us to “understand [our] culture,” giving us two quotes that hit home:
“Keep in mind while few Americans possess a biblical worldview, most are immersed in daily exercises of covert, worldview training via the mass media, public law, public school education, the internet and conversations with peers. Only an intentional process designed to develop, integrate, and apply a biblical life lense can protect us from the savage mental and spiritual assault that occurs around us every day. The failure to grasp and live out a biblical worldview can only result in a lifestyle that contradicts God’s perfect and eternal moral and spiritual code that was desgined to foster our relationship with him, each other, and the world he entrusted to us.”
George Barna, Think Like Jesus
“I believe that the challenge of living with popular culture well may be as serious for modern Christians as persecution and plagues were for the saints of earlier centuries…enemies that come loudly and visibly are much easier to fight than those that are undetectable.”
Ken Myers, All God’s Children in Blue Suede Shoes
Those we and our children spend the most time with and consider our closest friends should be those with whom we have shared values. At home, dinner table conversations should include discussion of the ideas and events we observe in our daily lives and how those things align (or not) with what the Bible describes about how Christians are to live. Moreover, dialogue often about what it means to be ‘in the world’ but not ‘of the world.’
Thirdly, we are to meditate upon scripture. We should encourage –in ourselves and our children–regular scripture memorization. How can we incorporate this into our lives and homeschooling? One of the easiest ways we have found is to institute a Scripture verse or passage to discuss, meditate upon, recite and memorize each week. Especially when children are younger, fill their minds and hearts with Scripture and you will see it bear fruit when they are older!
Some significant verses to consider:
- For the ear tests words as the tongue tastes food. Let us discern for ourselves what is right; let us learn together what is good. Job 34: 3-4
- A simple man believes anything, but a prudent man gives thought to his steps. A wise man fears the LORD and shuns evil, but a fool is hotheaded and reckless. Prov. 14: 15-16
- Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. Phil. 4:8
- Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations. Jer. 1:5
- My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you. James 1:19-21
- God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them. We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, in order to make your hope sure. We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised. Heb. 6: 10-12
The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways, but the folly of fools is deception. Prov. 14: 8
So let us remember to be aware of our surroundings and our culture, and to turn to the Holy Spirit and to the Word for help living the lives we are called to live as well as in training our children.
From Phil 1: 9-11: And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.