TV programs often fail to portray Christians in an attractive manner

Tales from the front pew

I have a confession to make. I like TV.

I refer to this as a confession, because I’ve found that many Christians consider television to be unwholesome, worldly, immoral and a big waste of time.

Granted, there are several programs that fit under each of those categories. That being said, good television exists if you know where to look.

For example, I’ve never found anything offensive on the Food Network (except when the host uses non-fat and sugar-free ingredients). The History Channel hasn’t struck me as particularly immoral (although the historical characters it highlights often are).

My choice of sitcoms are usually pretty wholesome (not counting that time Sheriff Andy Taylor and teacher Helen Crump slipped off to the swimmin’ hole for some moonlight spoonin’).

Now that I think about it, perhaps what Christians dislike about television is the way they’re portrayed on it.

Let’s face it, followers of Christ don’t come off looking very good in the majority of TV shows and movies.

First, there are the wild-eyed kooks who frequently pop up in horror movies, waving Bibles and intoning prophetic predictions of doom.

This occurs primarily in teen-themed slasher flicks where promiscuous adolescents find themselves systematically killed off at a summer camp by an axe, knife, hammer-wielding psycho. It doesn’t matter that the religious kook’s predictions are right on the money.

Nobody’s left to confirm it.

Then we have the saccharine-sweet, butter wouldn’t melt in their mouths Christians who harbor a scandalous secret. Who knows? Perhaps they have an extra family tucked away in a different state or operate a meth lab on the side (but never on Sunday).

They might even have a sinister past in which they carved up a whole bunch of promiscuous teens at summer camp.

Of course, we must not forget the “fair-weather” Christians who vow undying devotion to God until something interrupts the smooth pathway of life.

It could be anything — getting dumped by a significant other, not getting promoted at work, burning the toast at breakfast. Regardless of the reason, these FWC’s renounce their dubious faith faster than you can say “hypocrite.”

Last, but not least, are the God-is-love-so-he-really- doesn’t-mind-how-much-we sin-Christians.

These poor folks are so concerned with being nonjudgmental that they support, and even champion, breaking each of the Ten Commandments. Oh, they might not do it themselves, but they’re A-OK when someone else does, even to the point of making excuses.

Adultery? Every marriage has its struggles. Fornication? It’s awfully difficult to remain pure in today’s society.

Thievery? Hey, the company won’t miss those ballpoint pens. They have lots.

Murder? There’s just something about summer camp that brings out the worst in people.

Yep, watch TV and you’ll get the idea that we believers are a strange group. The Bible calls us “a peculiar people” in I Peter, but I’m pretty sure the meaning is slightly different.

So why do television shows and movies insist on turning Christians into caricatures instead of people?

Perhaps it’s difficult to understand that we’re just as human and flawed as anyone else, with one exception: The main difference is Jesus in our lives.


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