Writing fiction is tough. Whether it be a screen-play or a novel, the act of creating a world and then populating it with distinct creatures is a formidable task. Some are better at it than others.
Wes and I were watching season three of “House” (one of our all-time favorite shows. A near-perfect blend of sass and science) a couple weeks ago and there was an episode with a Christian on it.
She had gotten raped and found out that she was pregnant with her rapist’s baby. For some reason (she kept insisting she didn’t know why) she bonded with ascerbic Dr. House and insisted on a nagging and increasingly screechy quid pro quo that culminated in the expected discussion about House’s childhood and her beliefs in God.
It was not the most original storyline and one of my least favorite episodes. The reason for this is that the girl’s reasoning and explanation of her faith rang so hollow I couldn’t willingly suspend my disbelief long enough to take her plight seriously.
She attempted to explain why she was keeping the baby (“God wants me to”, “Every life is sacred”, blah blah blah) but she, meaning the writers, did such a terrible job with it that she just ended up sounding like the moron Dr. House proclaimed her to be. She ends up aborting the baby.
This is a prime example of a non-Christian attempting to explain the Christian faith in that the screenwriters tried and failed miserably to justify why a Christian rape victim might choose to keep her baby. Another example I can think of is the book I’m currently reading. It’s called Lost and Found and was written by a woman named Carolyn Parkhurst.
It’s about a group of contestants on a reality TV program who are all casted because of their copious amount of baggage. Of the 6 main characters, 3 are homosexual. Of those 3, 2 are people who claim to have been rehabilitated away from their homosexuality and now embrace Christianity and are married to each other. Neither of them are happy in the marriage and the guy cheats on his wife with another guy in the first half of the book.
The author spends a lot of time in the heads of the characters as they contemplate their baggage and in the case of the unhappy couple a lot of time reflecting on their faith. What follows, however, is a repeat of the situation from “House”. The same pat answers and simple slogans in place of actual, meaningful theology.
Christianity has its simple elements, that is true, but the actual practice of living a life of faith is anything but simple and there is never a day where I feel like I’ve figured it all out.
It’s like these authors/screenwriters think that because they’ve heard the song “Jesus Loves Me” and listened to the ignorant and often misinformed people who call into radio stations to say that “God hates faggots” they are intimately familiar with the inner workings of Christians and thereby portray them as above.
And maybe these writers don’t think this. Maybe they intended to portray these particular Christians as really being weak in their faith even while they say outwardly that they are strong in their faith. You’re right, it is possible, but I doubt it.
I just wish I could have written those scenes/chapters. Shown viewers how brave that girl would have been had she chosen to allow her baby to be born. The courage it would have taken for her to surrender her life like that. I wish I could rewrite those chapters to make those character’s decisions to accept Christ less about shame and more about realizing Christ’s love for them.
My heart breaks just a little when I come across things like this, because there is a lot of misinformation out there and I fear for the people who accept those skewed perceptions as truth. It’s probably just a symptom of the larger problems inherent in the modern-day Church but it still makes me sad.
By the way, major kudos to whoever can tell me the name of the song and band whose lyric is the title of this post…