Gene Veith posted a question that I often wrestle with mostly because of my taste for books, movies, TV shows, and music that often do not fit under the Christian cultural umbrella.

The controversy got kicked off by semi-positive review of the “Sex and the City” film at Christianity Today. Apparently, that really ticked a lot of people off! I can appreciate that. I am no big fan of “Sex and the City.” I usually refer to it as “Whores and the City” and complain that if the show were realistic in any sense, all four of its stars would be afflicted with some serious STDs by now. But, I have not read the review and have not seen the movie. Vieth links to the reviews and criticisms at issue.

I am more interested in Veith’s larger questions:

When engaging works of culture, is it possible to praise what is good without reveling in what is bad, or must Christians throw out discernment altogether? Furthermore, when another Christian praises what we regard with spiritual or moral dubiety, what should our attitude be?

I would submit for example, HBO’s “Rome” series. It is off-air now, but I was addicted to it while it was on. It was extremely well done and surprisingly highly accurate with certain liberties taken to intertwine the shows fictional characters with the historical ones. It was also quite raunchy and at times pornographic. However, it depicted the Romans as they were. Is this something I should not have watched? One could say the same thing about the Sopranos. Yet, I tuned in, along with my 80-year-old grandparents, for every season even after it started to stink. Was that a problem?