“My heart is stirred by a noble theme as I recite my verses for the king; my tongue is the pen of a skillful writer. You are the most excellent of men and your lips have been anointed with grace, since God has blessed you forever. Gird your sword on your side, you mighty one; clothe yourself with splendor and majesty. In your majesty ride forth victoriously in the cause of truth, humility and justice; let your right hand achieve awesome deeds (Psalm 45:1-4).”
It’s not exactly news that Hollywood movies and TV dramas and sitcoms seem to glorify the profane. The nature of these media is contantly debated.
Novels and biographies also seem to glorify the seedy aspects of the human race as well. It is perhaps because I read a novel the night before whose protagonist is a less than stellar man that I woke up thinking about why the characters in our electronic and paper-based productions are so popular.
I came to the conclusion that it is because the people in our movies, TV shows and books are interesting. This led me to ask,”Why can’t righteousness be interesting?”
Being holy and good conjures up images of boring churches, tedious activities and mundane people. Who wants to be bored? Life is hard enough.
Oh, occasionally our press glorifies the godly among us. Mother Teresa was praised for her work among the poorest of the poor in India, and rightfully so. Yet, when this saint died on the same day as Princess Diana, the glamourous, yet troubled, royal personage of England, guess where all the attention went?
Even this week there was a TV program in which Diana’s secret tapes were aired. They were full of self loathing, adultery and dysfunction.
I haven’t seen much on Mother Teresa since her death. I guess her life of hard work, suffering and self sacrifice just isn’t something we want to dwell on.
The formula that works in novels and stories is a crisis that builds and gets progressively intense. The storyline is exciting and the characters involved are at risk.
Much of the risk in our current day cultural realia is caused by the destructive actions of struggling people. This is what draws our interest.
The majority of us, as Henry Thoreau said, “lead lives of quiet desperation.” More than likely, these days, we are desperately bored.
This is one of the factors cited as the cause of recent violence across the globe by young people. Some say their riots and destructive actions aren’t the result of political disenfranchisement or poverty. These kids just have too much time on their hands and need to stir up some excitement.
What makes immoral behavior and violence thrilling? I believe that what appeals to us about wretched TV doctors, illicit and stupid fathers, sensual vampires and bloody crime scenes is their extreme natures.
Even our sports exhibit extremity. We want far out danger and we want excessive risk when we either participate in them or watch them. Folks are even willing to give up their lives to get the thrill.
Is it possible to go to extremes of goodness? How about engaging in a high degree of holiness and out-of-this world kindness and compassion?
Would this get people’s attention? Can there be enough risk and danger involved in righteous activities and enterprises to titillate the senses of people? Is the personhood of God sufficient to stimulate us?
Many, many times the people of Israel didn’t think God was exhilirating enough for them. For example, at one time Israel was ruled by God Himself,. His prophets carried out His governance.
This system wasn’t adequate for the people of Israel, despite God’s previous miracle working among them. They wanted glamour and pomp, so they asked the last of their judges,a man named Samuel, to find them a king.
Samuel did so, but as he stepped aside he gave the people a little history lesson. He reminded them of God’s supernatural deliverances in the past, including one worthy of a Hollywood production: the dividing of the Red Sea which allowed the Israelites to escape from the armies of Egypt (I Samuel 12:6-10).
As a parting exhibit of God’s electrifying capabilities, Samuel arranged for the Lord to send a major” shock-and-awe” weather event. The people were sufficiently “wowed”, even to the point of fearing for their lives. They got the message that God was pretty awesome and exciting (I Samuel 12:16-19).
Samuel’s response to the people’s change of heart was to tell them to serve the Lord in goodness with all their heart. When they were tempted to get bored, he advised them to think about all the crackerjack stuff God had done for them in the past (I Samuel 12:20-25).”
If you want something in the media that will thrill you, and reflects how wondrous God is, try this on for size.
I know that even when I focus on God’s greatness in my own life that I will still get intrigued by the screw ups of those portrayed in movies, on television and in books. However, I have to draw the line at admiration.
What is admirable is the glorious God we worship and the people who get it and mirror His greatness.
Jesus demonstrated how awesome the good work of God could be:
Soon afterward, Jesus went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd went along with him. As he approached the town gate, a dead person was being carried out—the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the town was with her. When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, “Don’t cry.” Then he went up and touched the bier they were carrying him on, and the bearers stood still. He said, “Young man, I say to you, get up!” The dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother. They were all filled with awe and praised God. “A great prophet has appeared among us,” they said. “God has come to help his people.” 17 This news about Jesus spread throughout Judea and the surrounding country. (Luke 7:11-17)
Jesus comforted a heartsick woman. He was compassionate. Jesus brought a dead boy back to his Mom.
Isn’t that pretty awesome? The people who saw it thought so. It surely made headlines!
Why should my life be boring? It doesn’t have to be.
God definitely has the wherewithal to stir things up. He just wants all the excitement to be of the righteous variety.
I think I will start my own reality show which focuses on God’s goodness and greatness in my life and in the lives of others as He works through me. Sound uninteresing?