I Love Jesus, and I Love Scandal
I love Jesus, and I love Scandal.
A lot of people would say those two things are mutually exclusive. Others, like Mrs. Sherri Shepherd, whose fun-loving spirit and message and obvious love of God I ADORE, grasp the concept mentioned in the quote above, and know that you can love the FUN of life and art and intensely engaging television shows and still love Jesus. Since I’ve gotten some flack for being a Christian and loving a show called “Scandal,” and I know others have, also…I wanted to give you some insight into my convictions.
Here is what I know.
I used to go to a church where they encouraged us to throw away our PG-13 and R-rated movies and steer clear of any TV show that wasn’t animated (and even some animated shows and movies were deemed “inappropriate,” as of course every good “Christian” knows that Disney is from the devil). Along with any CD in which the artist on the cover bared a midriff or had a tattoo. Along with all of my spaghetti strapped tops and mini-skirts (because it was completely up to us ladies to make sure the men controlled themselves and didn’t stumble, while the men bore none of the responsibility for keeping their own hormones in check). We were told MTV was devilish, riding in a car with a member of the opposite sex (to a church event) gave the wrong impression, and couples shouldn’t so much as kiss before marriage. I wore a V-necked dress to church on Easter one year and the leadership team held a meeting to discuss it. We were taught, from the pulpit, that all gay people and Democrats were evil and should be avoided and even ostracized at all costs. A couple of girls from church and I once went to a Christina Aguilera concert and we were banned from ever mentioning it again when some people at church found out (one of the girls would have risked been thrown off the praise team had the fact that we went to the concert been made public. And this was before Christina even morphed into “X-tina”!)
Over the course of the five years I attended this church, I threw away a good portion of my beloved collection of movies and my Britney Spears CDs. I started dressing how I thought a “good Christian girl” should dress. I stopped dating all together, and didn’t so much as hold hands with a boy for five years. I only associated with fellow Christians (at MY church, because of course not all Christians were created equal) and I even stopped talking to my sister completely at one point because I deemed her to be a partier and a heathen by my church’s standards (she wasn’t, by the way). I judged people, I looked down on people, I held myself in higher esteem than the average “sinner.” And I lost a part of my soul in the process.
Not once in the midst of all the rules and restrictions and laws did anyone mention God’s grace, or forgiveness, or fierce love. No one pointed out that most, if not all, of our Biblical heroes (excluding Jesus, of course) were HUGELY flawed and broken and yet were entrusted to carry out God’s promises anyway. No one told me that not everyone has to act like me and look like me and be like me and watch the same movies and television shows as me to be a Christian. And it was never shared with me that what Jesus wanted most from me was my heart, my love, my devotion…not my pathetic attempts at perfection.
I am an avid, lifelong film and TV and theater geek who has a deep passion for the arts and I recognize that art isn’t always G-rated. Some of the best art is dirty and gritty and messy…and I am able to separate art from life and not allow viewing something on the big screen or attending a concert or admiring a painting to cause me to sacrifice my morality. And I happen to be obsessed with the show Scandal. “But it’s about an adulterous affair,” (legalistic) people might argue. Right. It is. But it’s FAKE. It’s acting. It’s not really happening. And believe me…some of the stuff you read in the Bible is FAR more scandalous than Scandal. I don’t say that as a bad thing, either. I say that with the utmost respect. I recently read “The Story” (the Bible written in the format of a novel) and it rocked my world. For example, I never realized Moses killed a man. The Story revolutionized my ENTIRE relationship with the Bible. So do I think the fact that the Bible is scandalous is a BAD thing? No! I think it’s refreshing…it’s enlightening…it’s encouraging to know that throughout the ages, God has taken hot messes and turned them into epic successes. He has brought his greatest plans to pass through some of the most broken, sinful, flawed, disasters of human beings that have ever walked the earth. Do I think I serve a God who will shun me because I love to spend an hour on Thursday nights watching a show called “Scandal”? No. I serve a God will use me…because I love Him, unequivocally, passionately, entirely…every second of every day.
(DISCLAIMER: Before anyone starts messaging or tweeting me about this…because I KNOW THEY WILL…I am obviously not referring to pornographic material IN ANY WAY. This blog is in reference to normal, network, FCC-regulated, “must see TV.”)
I don’t judge people anymore, for any reason. It’s not my place. It never was. If you’re going to be edgy, I wish you’d make a statement about something, anything; rather than prance around jiggling your lady parts and sticking your tongue and or/booty out. That doesn’t make me think. That doesn’t make me FEEL. But it also doesn’t inspire me to judge you…because who am I to judge anyone? I don’t know your heart, and I don’t know the intricacies of your relationship with God. All I know is my OWN heart, and I try every day to know Jesus’s a little bit more. He has called us to love our neighbor as ourselves, so that’s what I try my best to do. I know people who watch nothing but Christian programming all day, every day, who are hardened, mean, unforgiving people. Do I think those people are more devoted to God simply because they curtail shows like Scandal in favor of TBN? Absolutely not. I have a deeper, richer, more authentic relationship with God now than I ever had during my time at the legalistic church that held a leadership meeting to discuss my Easter dress, even with R-rated movies on my shelf and Scandal on my DVR.
So whether your show of choice is Scandal or The Walking Dead or Vampire Diaries or whatever it may be…watch it, enjoy it, tweet about it, and don’t apologize or feel guilty for it. Because I firmly believe that God isn’t looking at your TV screen. He’s looking at your HEART.
Sound off! Who else loves Jesus AND Scandal? Who will be watching the season premiere tonight? Who thinks I’m completely off my rocker? Comment below!