Writer Lauren Windle encourages Christians not to completely reject the idea of watching Love Island as it can hold more opportunities for sharing the gospel than you’d think.
My wise owl vicar was very set that we should not be watching Love Island. His reasoning was beyond valid – it was sensible and biblical. He wanted us to fill our eyes and minds and hearts with what was good and Godly. He didn’t want us all getting body dysmorphia as the scantily clad buff contestants pranced about in their swimwear. He didn’t want us soaking in the idea that relationships and intimacy were to be rushed to win popularity and a prize. Also, I’m sure he just thought it was all tripe and there were far better uses for our time – but I’m putting words into his mouth there.
I sort of agree. I don’t think it’s a helpful show. It doesn’t celebrate the incredible joy and value of being single – if you don’t “couple up”, you’re out. It does make people feel that their, perfectly normal and healthy, body shape is in need of a crash diet and weightlifting session. And it makes people think that the way to get a partner is to be as ridiculously good looking as injectables and fake tan will let you. None of this is true, helpful or reflective of the kingdom of God.
But… it is, hands down, the most influential show on TV for people between 15 and 25 years old and that’s why I think you should watch it. If you lead a church, or even attend a church, with a decent number of people in that age bracket, you’re missing a trick if you don’t at least stay up-to-date with the main goings on.
Love Island is, hands down, the most influential show on TV for people between 15 and 25 years old.
I remember a few years ago I was in my church and the children’s and youth pastor was heading out to run a Bible session at a nearby girls’ secondary school. As she left, she told me that they would be talking about Love Island. She explained that the week before, a woman had lamented the physical intimacy she had shared with a man, who had ditched her a few days later for a new arrival to the famous villa. The teenaged girls had discussed, in depth how that would have felt. They debated how to know that you are in an “exclusive” relationship and therefore able to step up your sexual contact. This gave an incredible opportunity for the pastor to explain that she felt a couple was sufficiently committed when they got married. Having just seen a woman desperately upset at her treatment, they were far more open to hearing about the emotional consequences of rushed intimacy.
From then on the youth leader watched the show. The young people would have done better to avoid it, sure. But they were never going to do that, so she decided she would join them and offer a Christian perspective on the trials and tribulations of villa life. It was a stroke of genius and meant that the girls welcomed the discussion and looked forward to hearing her take on the series.
She decided she would join them in watching Love Island and offer a Christian perspective on the trials and tribulations of villa life.
I believe we have a responsibility to familiarise ourselves with the key influencing factors in the lives of the young people in our community. Genuinely, whether a teenager watches it or not, Love Island will affect the tone and expectations of their relationships, particularly romantic. So get ahead of the game; surprise the young people in your life by learning some of the contestant’s names, be confident in bringing up the key themes from the show and take the opportunity to speak God-ordained truth over the lies that could otherwise take hold.