Friday, February 03, 2006

Book of Daniel

This week "The Book of Daniel," an NBC series, was cancelled due to pressure on the network and sponsors from crazy Christian fundamentalists.

The complaints against it were varied, but included the fact that the main character, a priest, and his family had an assortment of issues. The priest popped pain pills, the wife was a semi-alcoholic, the son was gay, the other son slept around. I never understood why this was an issue of contention for Christians. Isn't it about time that Christians are portrayed in the media as real people with real struggles? Do we all really want to be looked at as Ned Flanderses??? Moreover, the family was also portrayed unconventionally. Sure they had their problems, but they all really loved each other, despite their problems.

Another source of contention was that Jesus was portrayed as a character in the show. The priest would often talk to him, seeking encouragement and advice and help. Jesus was kind of a hippie on the show, but in the good sense. He was laid back and kind, and even funny. There was never a time spoken where I thought to myself, "Hey, Jesus would never say that!" In fact, I thought it was quite a good portrayal of what Jesus would probably say. I don't know what the beef with Jesus was, but if the detractors actually watched it they might realize it wasn't bad.

The other big issue was the fact that the church portrayed accepted homosexuality. This is the only issue I could see as being an actual stumbling block to Christians. But the church depicted is an Episcopal church, and that reflects their beliefs (I guess, I haven't really studied Episcopalian creed). I think it comes down to people saying, "I don't want people to get the idea this is what I stand for and accept as a Christian when it isn't." BUT. If we're going to start getting mad about a misrepresentation of Christianity, let's get Pat Robertson off the air. How about all those "send me your retirement and I'll pray for you" televangelists?

Ugh. I'm pretty ticked about the whole deal. I liked the show. Yeah, it was a little "busy" with it's 2345 story lines, but I enjoyed it.

I don't know, maybe some of you guys wanted the show cancelled. Care to share your thoughts?


jettybetty said...

Since I never watch tv--and have never seen the show--I'm pretty sure you want my *expert* opinion. LOL!!!

I have heard lots of talk about this show. I have friends that have unceasingly called sponsors and tv stations trying to get the show cancelled.

I have even more friends that believe as you do--it's a fairly candid look at life--and if nothing else--it just might--maybe--get people to thinking about Jesus at all. And, if they do think about Jesus, perhaps they will understand they don't have to be perfect to be Christian.

I kind of land on your side of the whole issue for the show. I don't like most of the so called Christain programming either--and even more people connect that to the kind of Christian they *think* I am--so can I get that cancelled too?

Anonymous said...

If the Episcopalian church really wants to be taken seriously, they shouldn't call their leaders "primates."

I haven't seen the show, and didn't particularly want to. It looked like they were trying to be an edgy version of Seventh Heaven, which is about enough to make me gag.

Anonymous said...

Amen Ann! I really cannot understand why there isn't a mass mobilization to do something about Pat Robertson. I was actually visiting a church recently where the break-out session question was "Someone at your office sees Pat Robertson on the office tv and asks you, 'Hey, he calls himself and Christian and so do you. What's the difference?'" Everyone in the group was at a loss to find a humble way of saying, "The man is a lunatic and somehow, amazingly, God forgives us both."

In any case, I have not seen the show, and I very much wish that we could find a way to talk about /work on the things that DO matter to Christians, instead of allowing politics and "moral majorities" to dictate our issues for us.

crittermer said...

I don't know. I stuggle with this one because I do think that even though they will mess up a lot, Christians should always be continually striving to live holy lives. It seems from some of the content of the show that perhaps some of the characters were making no effort to live holy, set-apart, Spirit-guided lives. I never saw the series, so I could be jumping to a wrong assumption here. Those of you who saw the show will have to tell me if you thought the show portrayed a flippant disregard for sin (which is what I fear was portrayed) or a constant struggle to rise above sin with Jesus' provision and mercy (which is what I hope was portrayed.)

Since Scripture calls us to be aliens and strangers, I don't necessarily know that we're called to project some kind of "cool" image of ourselves to the world. I think it's inevitable for some people to look at the holy lifestyle of a Christian and declare it foolish or unexciting or whatever.

For these reasons, I don't know if portraying Christian characters who fully accept and partake in the pleasures of the "world" is really the way to go. But as you said, we also don't want to swing to the other extreme and portray Christians as Ned Flanderses without struggles and without a need for grace (not to mention the nauseating "holier-than-thou" acts that often accompany that kind of mindset.) To do either would be to cheapen the message of God's grace, in my humble opinion.=)

Where I agree with you 100% is that the Pat Robertsons of the world have done far more damage to the image of Christianity than anybody in Hollywood has. I often find myself having to fight back anger towards the wacky fundamentalist Christians, as well. I don't have a whole lot of answers for that, but I do believe that love conquers all and that God is still able to draw people to himself in spite of some of the crazy things going on in his name around the world.

I also don't think that protesting television networks and throwing big fits about shows is the way for a Christian to go, either. That just makes Christians look contentious and unloving. And if I were a non-Christian, I certainly wouldn't be attracted to a group of people who were known for being contentious and unloving. The way I handled this Daniel series is the same way I handle almost all TV shows; I simply chose not to watch. If somebody else chooses to watch, that's fine and I lovingly respect his/her decision to decide what is good for him/her. I maintain that my calling is to love and serve the world through Jesus Christ, not to dictate what is good and evil and go around forcing my opinions on others. I find loving and serving to be much simpler and more effective anyway.

Great thoughts, Ann! I have been very challenged by this post.=)

Anonymous said...

good thoughts crittermer. i often hear christians talk about grace in a way that disturbs me. you hear people say "im not perfect. never will be. but by grace im saved." christians should be all about perfection. its who we are. jesus demands no less. we cant start there of course. but gods grace isnt some kind of quick fix for our sin problem. it is a gift that empowers us to change, and be changed. so strive to be perfect every day. and dont strive aimlessly, as if its something that wont happen. make it happen. jesus has called you to it. and you had better get there, or else you better die trying.
god has given us a mighty gift. will we bury it in the ground? lets instead take up our cross daily and follow the master, erradicating our own wickedness and bearing good fruit increasingly.