As I read Scott Thomson’s post the other day on  the Movie Theater Dilemma, I could really relate to it.  Having young children myself, it has always been a concern of mine about the previews at the theater.  There have been times when they were much younger that one of us would hold seats and the other would take the kids out until the movie was starting.  There are still times that we have the kids close their eyes or look away due to content.

However, my biggest struggle with movie theaters has been something else. When my oldest daughter was around 5, I took her to see a movie.  She was a very early reader and read everything around her all the time. So after we bought our tickets and headed towards the ticket guy that was going to tell use which theater room to go to, she started sounding out a sign.  It read, “Please no outside food and drinks allowed.”  She said, “Mom, what does that mean?  Outside?”  I paused and then said uncomfortably, “Well it means not to bring in snacks that we didn’t buy here.”  All the while, the can of pop and multiple bags of candy that we had just bought at the dollar store that I had hidden nicely in my purse seemed to grow heavier and heavier.  “But Mom….!” At that point I quickly shushed her and gave the ticket guy our tickets and nervously guided her along towards our theater.

We had another discussion about it later. “Is that a rule we don’t have to obey?”  I tried to justify my actions by saying they charge too much for their food, but in my heart I knew that this was something I was going to have to decide on.  This was a learning moment for my daughter, and to be honest, even moreso for me, though I hated to admit it.  I even quietly asked the Lord, “Lord, are you teaching me something here?  Wouldn’t it be ok to just smuggle things in?  Everyone else I know does it. In fact, even every other Christian I know does it.”

Last Christmas we were in Ohio and we were all going to a movie where we had many young kids going with us.  So we called the theater ahead of time and said we had a large group and wouldn’t be able to afford to buy everyone snacks but that it would help them stay quiet during the movie.  The staff actually said that we could bring in anything we want.  So we joyfully raided the dollar store and openly brought our snacks in.  That was such a relief!

I had mentioned to someone that we don’t smuggle snacks in and explained why.  She laughed and said, “Ok so you won’t smuggle in candy to the theater, but you didn’t bring a booster seat for your daughter even though it’s the law.”  I again had justified the situation.  Surely my daughter was almost old enough to be out of one – she was in the 95th percentile for her age so she probably didn’t need to be in one anyway.  But my double standard was pointed out to me and I got the message.   Guilty as charged.

The “no smuggling” thing at the movies isn’t something that I take pride in.  It was just a choice I felt we had to make for the benefit of our own children.  Now that my oldest son goes out with friends for movies and they all smuggle stuff in, I have no doubt that he probably is a smuggler too at times.  I will leave that up to him and the Lord.  It’s a conviction of mine that was almost forced upon me by my 5 year old daughter years ago.

We recently were going to see another movie in the states.  I again justified to myself that since we had called one theater down there that had told us we could bring food in, it was probably fine to do so at this one.  The people we were with wanted to buy us snacks and decided to do so at the dollar store.  I didn’t speak up.  And there I was thinking it was fine to bring the food in, yet why did I make sure I had my licorice under my coat where it couldn’t be seen just in case?   It ended up that we didn’t go to the theater with the snacks after all because it was sold out.  So we rented a movie and ate our snacks at the house instead.  But I knew that I had really broken a conviction in spirit.  I could have called ahead to ask.  So I needed to ask the Lord’s forgiveness instead. Humbling.

What about you?  Do you face any of these dilemmas?  Which rules do you feel are ok to break?  From the big screen to the laptop screen to the iPod screen… these are issues we face all the time.  Should I download that movie or watch that show illegally, should I rip my music and pass it around to my friends?  Nobody is pointing fingers here.  I just wanted to bring this up for discussion and see where it goes.

What’s your opinion?