Next week Fox will première its latest series Almost Human. Set in the not-so-distant future of 2048, the story will follow Detective John Kennex – a cop who lost a partner, leg, and stability in life; and Dorian – the ‘synthetic’ (i.e. android) who’s assigned as John’s new partner, possessing the unfortunate flaw of emotions. Full of special effects, cool gadgets, legitimate actors, and a promising plot, Almost Human has the potential to be truly entertaining and worth watching. But how should we watch this new show?
If the trailer and extended scenes are any indication, Almost Human will dive into serious ethical and existential questions, offering up answers in the process. Therefore, we need to practice wisdom and alertness in how we watch and interact with what the show communicates (this applies to all TV shows, by the way). Three questions immediately stand out that deserve our awareness. Continue reading →
For the past three weeks I’ve turned on the History Channel with over 68 million viewers to watch The Bible. The mini-series produced by Mark Burnett and Roma Downey has taken Hollywood by storm; it has surprised millions with its popularity; and it has caused the religious to stand up and cheer that the sacred is getting a in positive portrayal. As one review put it, “This time, Hollywood got it right.” Yet in the midst of all the positive hype there are some who have held back their praise, frustrated or downright upset with how it is interpreting the biblical narrative.
This has left me with the following question: did Hollywood get it right, or is this min-series an interpretive failure? Whether you are a Christian who is familiar with the narrative of the Bible or someone newly exposed to its stories, this is an important question. The Bible makes extraordinary claims about its authority and the priority it should have in our lives. For example, 2 Timothy 3:16 states:
All scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, and for training in righteousness.
And 2 Peter 1:20-21 claims:
Knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.
Therefore, it seems only right that we move from passive TV watchers to evaluating if The Bible series is worthy of our praise. Rather than go into all of my reasons for or against the series, I’d like to suggest three discretionary tips for your consideration as you continue to watch this series unfold. Continue reading →
Today is Halloween. While for many the holiday signifies costume parties, candy, carving pumpkins, and scary movies, I’ve been struck by the theme of life and death that permeates this holiday rooted in fear. In a strange twist, as we enjoy the thrills and scares related to avoiding, causing, or coming back from death, we highlight the fact that each of us longs to live. We desire to cheat death.
Let’s be honest though. The theme of life and death is not related simply to Halloween. It permeates our culture. All one has to do is turn on the television to see this is so. Continue reading →
The Bachelor and The Bachelorette have become my ‘guilty pleasure.’ Yet every week I tune in wondering why anyone would think going on the show is a good idea. I’m flabbergasted to see so many men and women my age think they can actually find love, lasting love, while cameras are rolling as they travel across the globe in the most unnatural relational scenarios. And yet, I tune in every week. What is it about this show that keeps me and countless others coming back for more? What draws people to seek “love” in such an unloving environment? While I have my theories, I’ll leave you to ponder this for yourself. But I will say that I DON’T think it’s because we “just enjoy a good love story” and want to see a happily ever after.
A lot could be said about the shows’ shortcomings and poor track record of long-lasting, committed relationships. Yet for all its faults The Bachelor and The Bachelorette have taught me some valuable lessons. They’ve taught me about the culture I live in; we long for love and acceptance. And they’ve taught me about my heart’s condition; I am far too comfortable with watching others fail.
Culture of Love
While I suspect that not every person on the shows is there to find true love, the fact remains that the goal of the series are to “help” men and women find love, something which consumes our culture. We sell love as the cure for all ailments. All you need is love. Unfortunately love inevitably fails us. So we move on to the next love. Until that love fails too, and so we continue in an endless, vicious cycle. The love we rightly long for appears hopelessly out of reach. Why is that? Could it be that we are looking for love in the wrong place, or more likely, the wrong person? There is One who offers us the unconditional love we long for. Christ offers us a love that will never fail. He promises His love in sickness and health, in riches and poverty, for better or worse, until death calls us Home to His presence.
Failure of the Heart
I have discovered that watching The Bachelor and The Bachelorette makes me feel better about myself. This season as I watched the shortcomings of Courtney and Ben I was the self-righteous Pharisee in the parable told by Jesus. I rejoiced that I was so much better than them. I was critical of their motives and decisions, basing my opinion of them on a few edited minutes of footage put together from hours upon hours of daily life. My attitude did not show the love I have been freely given by Christ. He sees my every thought and motive turned into word and deed; and He stays faithful to His loving promising to never leave me or forsake me. And He’s called me to share this amazing love that He’s lavished upon me.
While it’s debatable whether true love is found on The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, finding true love is possible. It’s a love that promises to never fail you. God has not offered you a red rose that will eventually wither away. He has offered you something of infinite value that will never die; the crimson blood of His Son shed for you. Will you accept His love?