The ﬁrst entertainer we encounter in the Bible is Jubal. He was the great great great great grandson of Cain, the son of Lamech. He was the “father of all who play stringed instruments and pipes.” And that’s about all we get. Yet it’s interesting to note that the name “Jubal” is connected with being productive.
It’s not clear whether we are meant to put great significance in that semantic connection, but how often do we think of entertainment as having anything to do with being productive? Our culture often pits work and entertainment against each other (e.g., “work hard to play hard”).
But as NAE President Leith Anderson points out in his column (p. 26), entertainment isn’t necessarily unthinking. We don’t turn off our minds the moment we turn on a screen. Many evangelicals who want Jesus to be Lord over all aspects of their lives ask “What kind of entertainment is acceptable for me? What is acceptable for my children?”
This issue of Evangelicals magazine offers insight from thinkers and innovators in entertainment and pastoral guidance on practical issues. Together we consider how to personally engage with the onslaught of entertainment options available in the 21st century and to help others navigate these questions. While there is a particular focus on movies and TV shows, the principles that permeate the articles in this issue can be applied to other forms of entertainment, such as music, books, sports, video games, etc.
Thoughtful consumption, critique and creation of entertainment provide evangelicals with an opportunity to present a narrative to others who consume, critique and create entertainment (which is just about everyone!). If we do it well, others will be drawn to the greatest story of all. Armed with wisdom and discernment, may even our entertainment be productive for the kingdom!