Would You Like a Brownie?

One night, quite a few years ago, a friend and I were getting ready to go to the movies. Right as we were about to leave the house, my friend’s dad asked what movie we were going to see. Upon hearing the title and rating (PG-13), he had one word for us: “poop.” A little disappointed and annoyed, we both whined about how it wasn’t that big of a deal. “Poop,” he repeated.

Now, this may seem like a strange comment for him to make, but there’s a history there. My friend’s dad was referring to a story he had once told us about a dad who baked a very special batch of brownies for his teenage sons one day. That day, the smell of the baking brownies had filled the whole house and no sooner had the oven timer gone off, than the dad heard the sound of sneakers running down the hall towards the kitchen. As the boys arrived, the dad smiled and said, “Okay, I just need to cut them and they’ll be ready to go!” He cut the brownies into squares and then hesitated before handing them to his sons. Before they had a chance to take a bite, he said, “Now, hold on just one second.  There’s something important you need to know about these brownies. When I baked them today, I added one new ingredient. It’s kind of different, but I found it right in our back yard. It’s dog poop.” Stunned, the boys looked incredulously at the brownies and then back at their dad. Had he lost his mind? He told them, “Don’t worry, it was just a little bit. You won’t even taste it. Eat up!” The boys, of course, didn’t eat the brownies and the dad explained his motives.

The point of the story is that just a little bit of poop ruins the whole batch of brownies. In the same way, just one inappropriate scene or just a little bit of swearing can ruin a whole movie or TV show. I don’t know where that story originally came from, but it has always stuck with me. The past few years, the same message started to echo in my ears as I prayed the Liturgy of the Hours. There is a line in which King David declares, “I will not set before my eyes what is base” (Psalm 101:3). Obviously, back in the day, there wasn’t TV or movies, but he still had to protect himself from looking upon evil. It’s amazing to me how alive scripture is, and that the Lord could speak to me so clearly through this Psalm written thousands of years ago.

This is, for me, simply one way that the Lord is answering my prayers for him to purify my heart. The Lord has moved, and I feel called to stop ingesting ruined brownies. The hard part is that they still look and smell so good. What the Lord is calling me to means saying, “no” despite the obvious appeal of different shows and movies and despite the fact that “everyone else” is watching them. I need to have the same repulsion towards watching an immoral movie as I do towards eating poop-filled brownies. Lord, grant me the grace.

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