I try to stay aware of current cultural motifs. Yet I was surprised by the furor over the recent Twilight movie, New Moon. It was at work, a couple of weeks ago, when I caught first glimpse of the phenomenon. A co-worker complained that his wife was dragging him to a movie which, as he put it (in referring to me), “your teenage daughter is looking forward to.” When I asked what movie that might be, he referred to something about a “New Moon”. I must admit that my first inclination was that the feature was actually a documentary on certain astronomical events, however a Google search quickly dashed my hopes.

As point of fact, though, I must say that “no, my daughter is not interested in this movie” (note: I made it a point to ask her whether or not she was interested in the movie and whether any of her friends were, and her answers were very reassuring).

That being settled, I pretty much forgot about the release, save for the obligatory TV or web news items showing adolescent girls, and their moms, queued-up for the midnight showing. However, a curious thing happened upon release of the movie. I began seeing various posts, mainly on Facebook, from otherwise sane Christian females, celebrating the fact that they were attending or going to attend the movie. Likewise, those that had seen the movie were enthralled by what they witnessed. It was also interesting to note that the age range of those commenting spanned from pre-teen to 40+.

Why all the squealing adoration? From IMDB.com, a “plot” synopsis,

Bella Swan is still very much in love with vampire, Edward Cullen. The rest of the vampire coven who call themselves the Cullens, especially Alice, decide to throw Bella a private party for her eighteenth birthday. Things go wrong when Bella slices her finger and thirst overcomes the vampires. As a result of the danger Bella was put through, the Cullen family decide to leave Forks, Washington. At first Bella exempts herself from all social activities, until she realizes she can coexist with childhood friend, Jacob Black. As usual for Bella, things aren’t what they seem. Something is happening to Jacob that he can’t explain to Bella, and their friendship starts to deteriorate. But when someone from Bella’s past comes back to haunt her, everything will change again.

It used to be the vampires were the one the woman ran away from.

In Top 20 Unfortunate Lessons Girls Learn From ‘Twilight’, John Scott Lewinski provides us with a funny / sad list of secular impacts that derive from an obsession with entertainment such as New Moon. Some excerpts,

1. If a boy is aloof, stand-offish, ignores you or is just plain rude, it is because he is secretly in love with you — and you are the point of his existence.

3. It’s OK for a potential romantic interest to be dimwitted, violent and vengeful — as long as he has great abs.

6. When a boy leaves you, going into shock, losing all your friends and enduring night terrors are completely acceptable occurrences — as long as you keep your grades up.

10. Even though you have no intention of dating an alternative male who expresses interest in you, it is fine to string the young man along for months. Also, you should use him to fix things for you. Maybe he’ll even buy you something.
11. You should use said male to fix things because girls are incapable of anything mechanical or technical.
12. Lying to your parents is fine. Lying to your parents while you run away to save your suicidal boyfriend is an extremely good idea that shows your strength and maturity. Also, it is what you must do.

14. If the boy you are in love with causes you (even indirectly) to be so badly beaten you end up in the hospital, you should tell the doctors and your family that you “fell down the steps” because you are such a silly, clumsy girl. That false explanation always works well for abused women.

18. When writing a book series, it’s acceptable to lift seminal source material and bastardize it with tired, overwrought teenage angst.
19. When making or watching a major feature film, you should gleefully embrace the 20 minutes of plot it provides in between extended segments of vacant-eyed silence and self-indulgent, moaning banter.

Is the adoration that evangelical girls (and women) give for a movie like New Moon indicative of how we, as the evangelical church in general, lavish praise on the secular world? In what other areas do we, men, women, boys and girls, soak up the sugar water the world feeds us, at the expense of what is good?

We can do better.

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