Worldview Perspectives-January 2006

It’s time now for me to “walk where angels fear to tread,” I’m going to address some worldview issues and their impact on the church. I just recently had an opportunity to look at a survey on church attendance in Britain and Ireland, and it was interesting from several viewpoints (which I may delve into on a more in-depth basis at a later date), but I was specifically interested in the estimated current church attendance (around 5%) and why those who no longer attended chose not to do so. Very briefly, the respondents indicated it was because the church had abandoned its primary purpose for existence: declaring the sinfulness of man and preparing the disciples to answer the great questions of Who am I, Why am I here, Where did I come from and Where am I going. So, as you read this next compilation of reports from across the nation, keep in mind what has happened in Britain and Ireland.

“The Mother in the ‘Medium” Diana McKeon Charkalis, special for USA Today, posted 11/20/2005,

When NBC’s Medium first aired last season, it was touted as a crime drama based on the experiences of a real-life psychic who helps out law enforcement in Phoenix. But show creator Glen Gordon Caron didn’t see it exactly in those terms. He was more interested in the complicated, often stressful life of a woman who sees dead people for a living, then goes home to her aerospace engineer husband and three kids.

“Clearly, the home is the focus. That was the reason for doing the show,” says Caron, who also created the 1980’s hit Moonlighting. “For me that was the meat of the thing. Family is a big part of who she is.”

“There have been working parents on television for decades, but there’s something more realistic that’s happening this season, even on shows like Desperate Housewives, which is meant to be a dark comedy,” says Andrea Barbalich, executive editor of Child magazine, which features a special section on balancing work and family in the November issue.  TV’s emphasis on working moms is “reflecting the truth of what’s going on,” Huffman (Felicity Huffman of ABC’s Desperate Housewives) says. “They’re showing women in their entirety with their real trials and tribulations, not just, ‘Oh, honey, you forgot your lunchbox money.”  Housewives writer Julia Sweeney, also known for her androgynous role of “Pat” on Saturday Night Live, says much of the material for
Huffman’s harried working mom springs from the writers’ lives. Sweeney and other writers are working moms.

(I will go onto the next article before commenting)

“Controversial TV Show about Episcopal Priest Draws Opposition,” Jason Davis, The Christian Post, Saturday Dec. 31, 2005,

A television show that has yet to air and features an Episcopal priest as the main character is being opposed by one group, which says it objects to Hollywood’s focus on negative aspects of Christians and has called on supporters to contact the show’s sponsors to pull their advertising. The program, The Book of Daniel, portrays the lives of one Episcopal priest and his family. The network airing the program, NBC, describes the relationship between the priest and his family as loving, but challenging.

The actor portraying the priest, Aidan Quinn, addressed potential objections, saying they were misplaced. If ‘Daniel’ offends some Catholics, “I don’t really care that much,” he said, according to the Associated Press… “It’s a good thing Daniel started off so neurotic,” he said. “He wants to be an evolved, spiritual man who takes care of his family. He’s got miles to go before he sleeps.”

The AFA’s (American Family Association) depiction of the show’s characters included mentions of a drug-addicted Episcopal priest; his alcoholic wife; his son, a 23-year-old homosexual Republican; his daughter, a 16- year-old drug dealing daughter; a 16-year-old adopted son who is having sex with the bishop’s daughter; his lesbian secretary who is sleeping with his sister-in-law; and a very unconventional white-robed, bearded Jesus who talks to the priest.

In a press statement addressing the concerns about the show, NBC describes the family of the Reverend Daniel Webster, an unconventional Episcopalian minister; Peter, his 23-year-old son, who struggles with the loss of this twin brother; Grace, his 16-year-old daughter who doesn’t try to push her father’s buttons but succeeds at it nonetheless; Adam, his 16-year-old adopted Chinese son, a handsome and cocky high school jock with a wicked sense of humor; a loving wife with a fondness for mid-day martinis; and an actor portraying Jesus, whose frequent chats with Daniel serve to remind him of his strengths and weaknesses.

I spend a modicum of time perusing the many news websites and I have found more than one article praising the way in which Hollywood is becoming more family friendly. If the above TV programs are representative of just how friendly Hollywood is becoming, we are a lost cause.

I once heard a comment made in reference to how TV influences our lives that has stuck with me for several years; and it would appear that it is being justified ever increasingly as the years go by. Whoever this sage was, he indicated that TV exerts a subtle, yet irresistible pressure to conform to its ethics and morés.

So, how would this theory play out, if true? Let’s take a real brief historical look at TV programs. For Baby Boomers, this list will ring some bells: Bachelor Father, My Little Margie, Andy Griffith, Petticoat Junction, The Rifleman, Jeff’s Collie (The actual precursor to Lassie), The Big Valley, Fury, the Guns of Will Sonnet. Then for those of you who are a little younger, perhaps you can remember: The Courtship of Eddie’s Father, The Brady Bunch, The Dukes of Hazard, Sanford and Son, Laverne and Shirley, etc. Now, I’m not trying to take us all down Memory Lane, I have a purpose for listing these programs… have you seen it yet? Well, let’s cut to the chase: all of these programs showed ‘family” settings without a complete family.  Not that they were dysfunctional in the sense that we have come to understand it today; they just didn’t have a father+mother+child nuclear family for some reason or the other. Most of the time, when we knew the “why, “it was because of a death. Nonetheless, each one of these programs made us feel “good” with a “broken“ family (in the case of the Andy Griffith show, we were extremely comfortable). Please don‘t misunderstand me: I am not saying that these programs were somehow evil in their portrayal of their respective families, and I understand that in the real world, there are situations that are not perfect. What I am saying is that over the course of the last fifty years, Christians (at least the ones who watch TV) have been slowly introduced to a break down in the conventional/Biblical family structure to the point that the non-typical family has become as common to and within us as the typical. Each decade the Hollywood depiction of the family has become increasingly more non-typical; the 1980’s saw a new “illustration” of the “typical family:” My Two Dads, and Three’s Company. While the first simply introduced the idea of two parents of the same sex (under what was supposed to be rather benign circumstances one of the two men had fathered a child with this woman, but she didn‘t know which one. When she died, she left all her money to these two men… with the understanding that they would both raise the child), the later one introduced the first “threesome,” all within a “family” context, i.e. they experienced all the emotions, problems, etc. of a typical family. This type of slow infiltration of anti- Biblical relationships has benumbed us to the point of apathy. However, due to the recent blatant, in-your-face depravity that has “graced” our air-waves and silver screens, many in the Christian community have raised up and shouted “Stop!” Enough of this, combined with the threat of Congressional action, has convinced Hollywood to become more ‘family friendly.” But as I said at the beginning of the comment, it is not exactly what we had in mind. Rather they have taken it upon themselves to once again, define for us what a “normal“ family is.

Perhaps the greatest tragedy of the two programs mentioned in the above articles, especially the Daniel program, is that our attention is drawn to a “lightening rod” subject (that of attacking Christianity), while we are unconsciously indoctrinated with the “normalcy” of the family life being depicted. As I have indicated, this is but another example of the incremental and subtle infiltration of anti-Biblical mores into our nation‘s hearts and minds.

And now the lighter side.

Golf is a game invented by the same people who think music comes out of a bagpipe.

“If a woman has to choose between catching a fly ball and saving an infant’s life, she will choose to save the infant’s life without even considering if there are men on base.” – Dave Berry

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