Friday, January 06, 2006

Growing up "churched"

The American Family Association is so concerned about NBC's The Book of Daniel they want us to email NBC and contact our local affiliates. The AFA would like us all to join them in telling NBC that this show is not what we consider a favorable presentation of Jesus or the Christian faith.

Instead of jumping on the Boycott Bandwagon, I thought I would look into the show and what it is about a bit. Turns out the AFA assessment of the characters is pretty accurate: pill-popping Priest, his martini-slugging wife, gay son, and drug-dealing daughter, and my favorite, a “kum-by-yah, Jesus is my buddy” Jesus who pops up when the priest needs him.

Still, I’m not quite ready to write letters to everyone with a dog in the hunt. I wonder what the point of the show is. Ought we automatically assume the intent is to denigrate religion in general or Christianity in particular? I’m not quite paranoid enough to make that leap. (after all, my high school geometry teacher taught me what it means to ASSUME)

The creator of the show, Jack Kenny, considers himself a “recovering” Catholic. Dare any of us really try to deny there are people out there with legitimate issues from having “grown up churched”? The Roman Catholic Church may have finally learned its lessons about reappointing pedophile priests; I’m not sure my own denomination has learned that lesson about Predator Pastors. In any case, it took a civil court and huge amounts of money for the church bureaucracy to admit there was a problem. Now we cry when someone clever enough to write a screenplay brings it out into the open?

No, I tend to think that any religion weak enough not to be able to withstand a sitcom probably requires a rethinking anyway.

In fact, I hope Mr, Kenny can make peace with his past and with God; and if writing this show helps, so be it. Writing out our pain is very therapeutic. On the other hand, sometimes the best thing to do with such writings is feed them to the shredder and let them go.


At 1:13 PM, Blogger Sleepwriter said...

Nice job. I'm willing to give the show a chance. That family is certainly not the ideal American family to most of us, but there are a lot of people who identify with them. Those are the people we, as a church, need to be reaching for Christ. If, and it's a big IF, even one person decides to return to church because of Jesus being presented as a friend (is he not?), then I'm willing to forgive the bad theology that the show may contain.

After all, Jesus didn't come to save the saved, but to save the lost. He walked daily amongst people most of us would just as soon pretend didn't exist.

At 1:41 PM, Blogger Steve Heyduck said...

Jesus is, indeed, a friend. I take great, deep joy and hope in his having said "I no longer call you servants, but friends."

However, he is anything except a friend who pops in and out of one's life only at moments of stress, anxiety, etc. That's the image I have of how that part is played in this series. I guess we won't know until we see it, though, will we?

At 3:47 PM, Blogger Sleepwriter said...

Exactly. I don't have high hopes for the show by any means, but I am unwilling to condemn it blindly.

I hope to do a review of it on my blog later, but from the reviews I have read, I may not watch the whole show.


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