Saturday, August 15, 2009

Ramblings on Reality TV

Let me preface this entry by saying that I know what some of you will think. Yes, all 11 of you. lol I haven't lost my mind, or changed my views on God, life, or coffee. I'm just saying that sometimes Christians can be so heavenly minded that we're no earthly good (as Oliver Wendell Holmes first said). There are times I feel that by being so seemingly strict and unbending we're driving people away from the love and light of Christ that we Christians are supposed to be.

I've recently started watching reality TV. Yes, I am strange. I've never seen an episode of American Idol. I could care less about Big Brother. And until we got the expanded channel offerings, I only watched cooking shows on Food Network, as my hips will attest. We have the big channel package before, but all I watched then was Food Network, Clean House and when my mom was in town, Bridezillas. lol The rest of the shows our family watched were on regular channels, so we got rid of the other channels. The basic package had Food Network and Hallmark, so I was good. lol Now, we have many many channels. Yes, we watch approximately 7 of them now instead of the 4 we did before.

There are two reality shows that I watch now. They will be a surprise to you. They were a surprise to me. I watch Tori and Dean: Home Sweet Hollywood and Gene Simmons Family Jewels. If you don't know, the basic premise for both shows is following a famous family through their everyday lives. There's the mom, dad, and two kids. All sorts of situations, both normal and only-the-rich-and-famous-would-have-this-happen type stuff. Now, real or contrived, what comes through in both of these shows is the love that the families show. I do know that there are many people who would say that it's all editing, or that they are only showing what they want people to see. Yes, I'm gullible. I think that there is a true deep and abiding love with these couples and their families.

For those of you still with me, I bring these shows up for a reason. I've heard people say that these shows are trash or what a "proper" Christian wouldn't watch. These same people watch movies and TV shows with content that surely is more questionable. They listen to music that talks about these same situations, they use language that is dicey, they wear clothes that are the wrong kind... Anyone else see this as hypocrisy? Seriously folks. Gene Simmons and Shannon Tweed, although not married, have a beautiful family and home, are devoted to each other and have lasted a lot longer than other marriages in both Hollywood and the rest of the world. They are hard working and take time to not just write a check to charities, but actually give of their time. Obviously, I don't agree with some of their lifestyle choices. I've never actually heard a Kiss song, at least that I know of, but I've heard it is kinda out there. The make-up is enough! lol But why throw out the good values being shown? I know people who would say I'm not a real Christian because my hair is too short (it's a little past my shoulders) or because I buy store bought bread sometimes. Get real!

Tori and Dean is based on the same premise. They are married with two very young children. They show the trials that all of us working (yes, even work from home) parents deal with. Finding a balance between work and family, wanting success at our chosen careers, even family relationship issues. They lean on each other, fight with each other, love each other. There's one scene that just cracks me up. Tori's infant daughter is fussing and Tori says this line about every mom does the check and smells for poo. It's classic parenting. Who among us hasn't had to do that smell check. My son is 11, and instead of smelling for poo, I'm now checking that he puts deodorant on his smelly man-funk pits. That's as real life as you get! As with Gene and Shannon, Tori and Dean are not Christian and don't espouse Christian views. But they are committed to their marriage (or in Gene and Shannon's case, long term relationship) and their family. They are real life people living extraordinary lives. Tori and Dean's arguments about Dean's motorcycle racing reminds me of fights with my husband about his computer games. Um, yeah, we no longer fight about that with my blogging, tweeting, facebooking, and on and on. lol

All too often, we Christians throw away great opportunities to share with the world around us. We spend too much time trying to witness to each other that we forget we are supposed to be lights to the world. That would be the world of NON-Christians. They are not going to be won over by our Christian-ese language. They are not going to be converted by repeated thumps over the head with our Bibles. And the last time I checked, a forced salvation isn't a real one. As my husband says when I'm trying to get him to do things my way, agreeing with a gun pointed at your head isn't real. (Kidding! I don't really use a gun. It's a frying pan.) The world is going to run in the opposite direction when we are negative about everything that they do. If you can't find common ground to start a dialogue, then you're just talking to yourself.

Here's the point of this long rambling post is to say that if you are serious about trying to model Christ and show Him to the world, remember, it was the sinners He dealt with. None of us are perfect, and we shouldn't try to impose our own prerequisites when God doesn't require any. Do you remember who you were, what you were doing in your life when you heeded God's call to you? I remember where I was.

I used to party. I mean, get drunk, hang out in the club, act stupid partying. The stories I could tell! I met my first husband while pledging, don't remember that, then met again at a party, don't remember much of that, and didn't remember what he looked like when he showed up for our first date. We dated for a year and a half before I became pregnant and we thought we should get married. The next year, I was saved after realizing what a horrible mess I was in. Fast forward six years later. We were divorced, our son was living with me and seeing his dad on weekends. I met and married my husband in four months. Seriously. We met in January, married in May. And I've never been happier. That story is for another post. Talk about God working out things!

God worked (and is still working) on me in tremendous ways. It took me many years to stop partying and going to clubs. It took the death of a friend to get me to stop drinking. My driving, which was legendary for it's awfulness, is now much improved. I know what a speed limit is! And I follow it! My temper, which once led me to park my ex-husband's car in the middle of the front lawn in January, in Michigan, in two feet of snow, is now under control. Imagine if that first person who told me of God's love had tried to do it by saying how wrong I was in the lifestyle I was living. I have no doubt that I would have been living that lifestyle a lot longer if that happened. Instead, the person who first planted that seed met me where I was. She didn't go clubbing with me, but she didn't tell me I was going straight to hell either. She was a friend. She was honest and real and that, more than anything, made me crave what she had.

I'm not going to start writing letters to try to convert Tori, Dean, Shannon, or Gene. I'm not going to start preaching on street corners. I'm not going to be Suzy Sister Christian with the perfect family, perfect house, and perfect bundt cake. I'm me. I'm someone who still listens to secular music. My husband calls it noise, but that's kinda what I think of that rock stuff he likes. lol I'm someone who's house looks more House Lived In than House Beautiful. Shoot, I'd love to have a housekeeper cuz I hate cleaning (hint hint John!). I am guilty of neglecting my family at times for business, and vice versa. But you know what? I have real relationship with people and am open about my faith. That's where God will meet the world. More people have been saved by craving what others have. It's the keeping up with the Jones syndrome. Let's use that to our favor!

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