Monday, June 28, 2010

Significance, Part 2

The thing that really draws me to movies and television is the friendships you create with the characters. It sounds a little weird, but it is true, at least for me. You watch these people on a screen, fall in love with them, root for them, cry for them, miss them when you’re not with them, go through withdrawal during the off season, but for what? It is easy and it is cheap. It is a one-way relationship. I get connected to them, but they don’t know me. They don’t require anything of me, expect that I sit there and become hypnotized, and all I get from them is a false sense of community. I don’t actually have to be vulnerable with them, to show them my heart, to open myself up to them. True love is vulnerability, all TV gives us is a counterfeit. At best, it gives us a temporary escape from our mundane life; at worst it serves as a self-contained substitute for actual relationships with real people.

Dr. Gregory House isn’t a real person, he doesn’t actually have feelings, he doesn’t really have emotional hurts that need fixing. Hugh Laurie might, but I’m not watching Hugh, I’m watching Hugh pretend to be House. It makes me wonder what good it is to create these broken characters who need fixing when the world is full of real characters who need real fixing. Wouldn’t my time be better spent with the wounded and broken of the world, doing the world of Jesus?

This is not to say that there isn’t any place for House, or whatever other show we watch, but at the end of the day, it is all just entertainment. Real transformation comes through real relationships, not through pixels on a screen. Can Jesus use masterful writing to convey a message of hope and grace to a person who would otherwise not have heard it? I’m sure he can. But I wonder at the idea of so many people getting excited about the idea that I might be able to disciple people through writing for TV or a movie, rather than actually discipling people through real, tangible relationships. I’ve been watching masterful writing on TV for quite a while now, but yet, I feel a lack, a void that can only be filled by actual relationships

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