More Cutie Questions
Lately, it seems like everyone is on edge. Maybe that’s just me. Maybe it’s time to switch to decaf. Probably not but it’s definitely time to mellow out.
One area of deep contention is the Netflix film Cuties. There are a lot of opinions being thrown around and a lot of folks are getting angry with each other. I believe the main reason, especially for followers of Christ, is that we all love our children.
So, here’s my question.
Can the first person that reads this, who has no sin, please throw your stones?
Remember the woman who was caught in adultery? The Pharisees and other religious leaders dragged her from that sinful encounter to Jesus, in order to force him to pass judgement on her. The problem is that they came under the influence of a false dichotomy.
False Dichotomy Arguments
A false what?
To simplify, false dichotomy is a form of argument distraction that limits the options of an argument in order to force a decision, usually one that is favorable to the person using false dichotomy.
This story is a perfect example. Let’s completely put aside the fact that the religious leaders did not bring the adulterating man along with the woman. After all, the law states that they both should have been stoned.
Interesting. They only brought the woman. Sounds like a set up to me. Maybe a hair salon is some how involved in this too.
Anyway, the religious leaders brought this woman to Jesus so that they could trap him. They stated what the law said and then asked Jesus for his opinion. They wanted a very black and white answer, one in which they could accuse him and haul him off to jail.
The problem with false dichotomy is that there are almost always more than two options. I will agree that sometimes there are only a few choices but usually, if the eyes of our hearts of fully open, there are more options than we are aware of.
In the mind of the religious leaders there were only two possible responses: stone her or don’t stone her. They were counting on him saying something about not stoning her but the argument went a different direction.
Before I go any further I need to say something regarding the film Cuties: I absolutely do not agree with it and think it should never have been made. I also believe that everyone involved in making it or distributing it should be charged with child exploitation. That is my firm conviction and I will not relent.
Now, moving on.
The Jesus Way
Jesus did something very different, regarding this adulterous woman. He presented an opportunity for a discussion. In this instance, it was a one-sided dialogue but there was a conversation, nevertheless.
He started by diffusing the situation. He allowed a little time for everyone to breathe and relax. He didn’t react to the religious leaders. He gave himself time to respond in a healthy way.
That’s good advice for most of us nowadays, including me. Sometimes I get so passionate about a thing that all I want to do is make everyone understand that my passion is right.
We all do that in certain ways.
Jesus showed a better way.
This woman’s life was at stake.
Our children’s lives are at stake.
Reacting is what the rioters are doing. It only brings destruction.
Responding is what, well, the First Responders are doing. They bring healing, safety, stability in tense situations.
How can we better do that even in the midst of this horrific film that grossly sexualizes children?
I believe the answer lies in how Jesus responded.
John 8: 6-8
They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger. They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust.
That last part is where the dialogue begins. Jesus started it by asking a question. He did not react to their trap. He responded with wisdom, grace, and, finally, mercy.
“Let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone.”
Sometimes we get so passionate that we are willing to throw each other under the bus. I could be wrong but that seems to miss the point of that one verse that says, “They (the lost) will know you are my disciples because of your love for one another.”
Quick rabbit trail.
John 13:35 doesn’t say the lost will know we belong to Jesus because of our love for them. It says they will know because of our love for other believers. I really hope we get this. The Church will win the world when the world sees how much we love each other. They will want that love and come running to it.
End of rabbit trail.
Jesus started a dialogue and the religious leaders finished it inside their heads. I imagine his words were bouncing around their brains like a ball activating the Backbox Spinner in a Pinball game.
DING! DING! DING! DING!
No one said anything but, we all know, actions sometimes speak louder than words.
One by one, the accusers left, dropping their stones at their feet.
Go and sin no more
Right now, with so much chaos being released around us, we need to remember the way of the Master. He is the one we have to emulate. The entirety of scripture points to Jesus. It is all his story and we are called to reflect him in order to continue that story.
When all the accusers were gone, Jesus looked at the woman and began a dialogue with her. Same dialogue, different words. He finished this encounter by saying, “Go and sin no more.”
Just because the religious leaders had already walked away doesn’t mean that phrase wasn’t for them too. It was. It was also for all the people that were sitting there, watching this entire scene play out.
Go and sin no more.
We have to stop missing the mark. We need to NOT react, and that includes me, to what is going on around us.
We need to release more Jesus and less of the carnal mind.
Now that I’ve said all of that, I’d like to present you with a dialogue.
Moving the conversation forward
My friend, Mark Merrick, put together some talking points based on an NPR article he read. Whether we like it or not, the movie Cuties is already out. Whether we want to admit it or not, the movie is causing us to talk about child sexualization.
You don’t have to watch the movie. In fact, please don’t. I still think you should cancel Netflix. Not boycott but cancel. That, however, is my opinion. What we all need to do is have a healthy dialogue about what’s going on so that we can be educated and also educate our children.
Here are Mark’s talking points.
- Why does the film writer, Maimouna Doucouré, say she wrote the film?
- Where do you agree with Maimouna?
- Where might you disagree with her or the way the film was made?
- In the series eleven-year-old Amy starts dancing in reaction to seeing her mother’s struggle with men. Describe the inner-conflict/journey that Amy is experiencing.
- How does her journey relate to things that you have experienced?
- What types of support can we offer to girls like Amy?
- What types of support can we offer to women like her mother?
- What do you need when you are struggling?
- Humankind has long had a fascination with discovering personal value and meaning. In our search we sometimes experience and do both evil and good. How would your personal journey change if you knew: that you were born of the Father in heaven, that you have his image (DNA), that you are a fully accepted child of God who he calls clean and beautiful through the work of his Son Jesus, and that you are irrevocably loved and cherished?
- How would this knowledge help Amy and her mother?
- How would it help the people around you?
What’s your next step?
Those are the talking points. Will you be brave and go through them without getting emotional, irate, or throwing stones?
As Neo said at the end of The Matrix, “Where we go from here is a choice I’ll leave to you.”
(Cue outro music).