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Friday, May 14, 2010
Recently, a friend sent me an email urging me to sign this petition against the upcoming "JC" comedy series on Comedy Central. Now, I am certainly sympathetic to the urge to protest/boycott/verbally excoriate this program, particularly considering that it comes on the heals of Comedy Central's cowardly censorship of images of Muhammad on South Park a couple weeks ago. Comedy Central is baldly hypocritical, and everyone now knows it. For a cable station that prides itself in its parodies, it's ironically fallen into self-parody itself. What's worse, it shows them to be the true xenophobes and bigots, since by their cowardice they imply that Muslims are uncontrollably violent. So yeah, Comedy Central is full of a bunch of hypocritical racist lefties... what else is new?

My primary concern, though, is that Christians not respond foolishly (cause let's face it, we have a recent history overflowing with examples of just that... Harry Potter, anyone?) and unwittingly heap even more scorn and shame on the name of Christ than will be thrown on it by the new sitcom. I'm not sure if a petition or boycott is the best way to make God's name great in our culture. Either of those may have their place on occasion, as they can help the petitioned group or company obtain a clearer picture of just how many people aren't pleased with their actions. But other times, boycotts merely act as a promotional tool for whatever is being protested, particularly when it's regarding a medium like books or television shows. After all, what person doesn't want to keep up with the hottest water cooler topics? So there's the utilitarian argument against boycotts; you'll just end up making it more popular than it would have been otherwise.

Another and vastly more important argument against (most) boycotts, petitions, and rabidly-upset Christians in general is this: the Bible seems to call for a different response in the face of persecution (Matt. 5:44-45). And lest we forget, the persecution faced by Christians in the New Testament was a tad tougher than hearing about some irreverent cable show.

So how should a Christian respond? This guy and this guy give some great advice.
Put down the boycott signs. Jesus promised mockery, abuse, and suffering for his name so this ain't no big shocker. Possible responses:

1. Pray for the creators of this show.

2. Ignore it by not watching it. Flag waving and sign-holding protests oftentimes don't accomplish much other than more hype and hype sells.

3. Use it as a conversation starter with your co-workers. Ask them what they think of it. Why Jesus and not other religious figures throughout history?

4. Remember that Christianity grew out of the most abusive and violently oppressive regime known to man (The Roman Empire). If Rome couldn't stop Jesus and his mission, Comedy Central probably doesn't pose much of a threat.
First, some Christians are going to be mad. . . . very mad at Comedy Central. That anger will be fueled by the fact that Comedy Central censored South Park in light of threats of violence from Muslims upset over that series' depiction of Muhammad. But I wonder if we should ultimately be more sad than mad? Should we be angry that the people at Comedy Central are doing this? Or should we be sad over the condition of the hearts from which their actions come?

Second, if the show does make it into the fall lineup, I'm sure it will develop a huge following, particularly among teenaged and young adult males. This is just the kind of irreverent cartoon humor that's been lining them up for years. They've been groomed by South Park and Family Guy. Sadly, this army of followers will include those who proclaim allegiance to the very God who the show grossly misrepresents and blasphemes. It will be another in a long line of examples of how integration of faith into all of life is waning.

Third, God's big enough to take care of Himself. The day after the premiere episode of JC airs, the God who remains the same yesterday, today, and forever will not have changed.

Fourth, that unchanging God is the God we need to proclaim to our kids. I sometimes wonder if our anger might not be sparked by the fact that too many of our Christian kids fall for this kind of stuff. . . . which might actually be an indicator of the fact that we haven't prepared them to filter this kind of stuff with any sense of discernment long before shows like JC are even conceptualized. Without knowing the truth, one has no ability to discern lies.

Finally, I wonder how much we're like the folks at Reveille, the production company that's got JC in the works? They're reinventing God in their image. The Father and Son in JC will bear little resemblence to the Father who revealed Himself to His creation in the written and incarnate Word. Don't we (the church) have a pretty successful track record of doing and still doing the same? I'm wondering if that's the thing that should concern us the most.{emphasis added}
So when this story hits the Christian airwaves in the coming weeks, consider carefully how God would have you respond. Do you want to be a clanging cymbal?


D.J. Williams said...

Good thoughts. That last boycott of Disney worked really well, didn't it.

Colin said...

Fantastic piece.

PB said...

Nice, man. Good post.

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Darius' book montage

The Cross Centered Life: Keeping the Gospel The Main Thing
Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God
Overcoming Sin and Temptation
According to Plan: The Unfolding Revelation of God in the Bible
Disciplines of a Godly Man
Money, Greed, and God: Why Capitalism Is the Solution and Not the Problem
When Helping Hurts: Alleviating Poverty Without Hurting the Poor. . .and Ourselves
The Prodigal God: Recovering the Heart of the Christian Faith
Respectable Sins
The Kite Runner
Life Laid Bare: The Survivors in Rwanda Speak
Machete Season: The Killers in Rwanda Speak
A Generous Orthodoxy: Why I am a missional, evangelical, post/protestant, liberal/conservative, mystical/poetic, biblical, charismatic/contemplative, fundamentalist/calvinist, ... anabaptist/anglican, metho
Show Them No Mercy
The Lord of the Rings
Life at the Bottom: The Worldview That Makes the Underclass
The Truth War: Fighting for Certainty in an Age of Deception
Cool It: The Skeptical Environmentalist's Guide to Global Warming
The Chronicles of Narnia
Les Misérables

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