Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Good Christian B's, Really?

I have not seen nor plan to see an episode of ABC's new series, GCB.

I do, however, have some comments about what the premise and promotional videos have to say to those of us who call ourselves Christian. If you have hung around this blog long, you know I am not an alarmist nor do I call individuals or groups out, but I need to do a little of both on this one.

The fact that GCB can find a foothold in prime time television and the money to shoot, promote, and air an episode says much about the culture in which we now live.

I must give the writers this much:
  • Yes, Christians have provided those who want to caricature and/or criticize them plenty of ammunition.
  • Yes, some Christians live hypocritical, religious lives. Pick a religion made up of humans and you will find a phony in the group. No exceptions. No argument here.
  • Yes, in the South where Christianity has become part and parcel of our culture and less and less a movement of the Spirit, it is easier to create buffoon stereotypes in order to sell a show.
Now, a warning to my Christian brothers and sisters in Christ:
  • Yes, now more than ever you must demonstrate your allegiance to Jesus as one of his apprentices. No more easy, religious cliches, regular church attendance or Bible verses out of context will do. Those are now fodder for scripts of television shows.
  • Yes, once you announce you are a Christian, you will be judged according to the person judging you ideas about what and who is a Christian. (Don't use some other title to avoid embarrassment. It's a biblical word that was given to you.) The announcement of your trust in Jesus is only the beginning of the proof of your faith.
  • Yes, you continue to live in a culture that has become more intolerant--in all of its glorious tolerance--of the biblical message and lifestyle of a Christian. Get used to it.
  • Yes, you will read and see more about what's wrong with institutionalized Christianity than the good it brings to the world.
A word of hope. This movement called Christian has not only survived but thrived in hostile cultures and under repressive governments. The ekklesia (church) does not require the support of culture and government to exist.The kingdom of God is an entirely different reality that provides salt and light, hope and joy, love and peace to those who have finally given up on culture and government to satisfy their deepest needs.

Go ahead and write and talk about this series...like we did against The Last Temptation of Christ, The Life of Bryan, and Madonna's "Like a Prayer" video; examples of so-last-twenty-years-ago offensive media that didn't stop the surge toward GCB. Don't get your hopes up that this cultural ship will change its course any time soon. But don't lose hope either.

While Christians will continue to lose status in a secular culture, which will free us to be who we truly are in Christ Jesus, what at will survive is the authentic, Jesus-like lives of Christians who serve and love others in the name of the One who "rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves." (Col. 1:13

But, hasn't that been true since Jesus commissioned the eleven apostles as he ascended to heaven?

Take a look at Margaret Feinberg's CNN blog on the new series. I like what she has to say.


Marshall Parker said...

Great comments about how we as the church should respond in our new culture. I think this is further proof of how we are living in a post-Christian America.

Your call to hope is spot-on, when we get comfortable is when our witness is hidden. Even though it will bring pain, when persecution comes, even when it is only words & emotions, that will help our witness as bearers of Christ's light to shine.

Tammy said...

Ok, so here's my alternative thought about GCB. You should watch it just once. First of all it's satire. And within satire there is always by definition a tiny bit (or a lot) of truth. I think the show portrays one of the ways our culture sees Christians and that's very sad. So my suggestion would be to strap a few Christians into their easy chairs, turn on GCB and ask them how much of themselves do they see in the characters. Maybe it would do us some good to do a little self-examination. And if enough Christians in the U.S. were really living out the radical call that Jesus has placed on our lives, maybe there wouldn't be so much fodder for such television scripts.

Anonymous said...

First of all, I do not want this commentary to come across as harsh or an attack. However, I do feel that for one to have validity in their opinions they must first watch the show. Think about it...you wouldn't have accreditation as a pastor if you haven't ever read the Bible. I feel that to interpret things and have an opinion on something, one must experience it firsthand. By us stating such strong opinions without having seen the show gives the world another chance to call Christians ignorant.

I agree with what Tammy stated above, as this is a satire based off of a book that was written by a Dallas woman. I think that a lot of times we as Christians take things too seriously, which reflects poorly on us. We need to learn to laugh at ourselves and the stereotypes this show portrays. I grew up going to church, Christian school, and even a Christian University; and can think of a few people/instances where these stereotypes are true. Just because they are bringing these to light does not mean that every Christian is like this…nor do I believe viewers will automatically think of every Christian they meet will act like this. No one watches the Jersey Shore and automatically thinks of every Italian American in the North East as a ‘fist pumpin Guido’. If they do, then shame on them for being that ignorant. The Bible says that we should ‘be in the World, but not of it’, well this is the World! We need to know how they view Christians (even in an exaggerated way) and change what we don’t like. Ignoring and protesting this show will not create any change, but just another reason for people to think we are na├»ve. You do not have to agree with everything you are watching, but that is why we read scripture so that we can filter ourselves from the ‘secular mindset’. From my experience, I have been able to shed more like to non-believers by showing them that Christians can be part of their world. This doesn’t mean that I have to act the same as them, and in return they are able to see that and acknowledge that there is something different about me. This difference has been more impactful than any words or Bible verses I could throw at them. They see that there are Christians that are not in a constant battle with ‘their’ world, yet are just living with a different mindset.

I think that it would be good to take this show and spin it in a different way than as a taboo. By taking clips that we may be able to relate to or do not agree with; and then backing that up with scripture would be way more beneficial than simply saying 'don't watch this'.