I Love Jesus, and I Love Scandal

I Love Jesus, and I Love Scandal“If you’re not having fun, you need to back up & find out where you left Jesus.” ~Pastor Bill Johnson

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!

34 Responses to “ I Love Jesus, and I Love Scandal ”

  1. Robin
    October 3, 2013

    I absolutely love this blog, and your quotes! And will definitely be watching Scandal from one gladiator to another, you’ve handled this! Xo

  2. Sililo
    October 3, 2013

    I love this! I’m a Christian lady and love all things Jesus unashamedly- I also appreciate good TV and enjoy Scandal and Homeland :-). It’s about relationship with Jesus and bring the light and salt to the world. I chose to sit on the Mercy seat instead of the scornful just seat.

  3. Sililo
    October 3, 2013

    I love this! I’m a Christian lady and love all things Jesus unashamedly- I also appreciate good TV and enjoy Scandal and Homeland :-). I believe that it’s more about having an authentic relationship with Jesus and being the light and salt to the world. I choose to sit on the Mercy seat instead of the scornful judgy seat.

  4. Yari
    October 3, 2013

    I absolutely love this. I was in a similar church situation and since have left to a judge free amazing church where love flows. It was refreshing to read this and a great reminder to stop judging others and stop feeling guilty about what we watch or hear.

  5. October 3, 2013

    We can serve God all the while still being the person that He created us to be. I have struggled with this concept the last few years of being this completely seperate person than the one He has made me to be. He made me to be passionate, quirky, lover of all music, seeker of His face, crazy fun, grace giving individual that uses MY story to shine light into other’s lives! My God loves me for WHO I AM and WHAT I AM BECOMING…not because I listen to a type of music or watch a certain tv show. Word!! 😉

  6. October 3, 2013

    Oh, Mandy, I’ve so been there. I was publicly scolded at a youth group dance for playing Christina and it was only, “Genie in a Bottle”. I’ve even been told that working at a co-ed church camp was asking for trouble and showed that I was blurring lines of boundaries. Uh, what? Thank you for reminding us all that judging is not up to us and what our real purpose is as Christians. I’ve never seen an episode of Scandal, but I’m not missing the premiere of The Vampire Diaries tonight, so I’ll catch it On Demand some other time! 🙂

  7. Julie
    October 3, 2013

    I love, love, love that you posted this! Thanks for having the courage to share, as many Christians are closet watchers/listeners/partakers of anythng they feel will cause others to judge or be hypocritical about. I applaud you for pointing out the difference in appreciating art (be it in TV, movie, theater, song, book, etc.) and allowing it take root in your heart. I bet I know where you’ll be tonight at 8 p.m….the same place as me, watching Scandal return!

  8. Candice Wright
    October 3, 2013

    I’m with you on this!

  9. Maureen Olaya
    October 3, 2013

    Love Scandal!! One of my favs along with Greys Anatomy! I too agree with you we can enjoy just about anything in this world as long as we keep faith and love of God in the same place.

  10. Minerva Carlos Pereira
    October 3, 2013

    I love this.. Thanks for sharing. you got it all right

  11. Yolanda
    October 3, 2013

    This post was perfect. Christians who try to be too legalistic annoy me. Don’t judge my viewing habits or my listening habits. Scandal is a great show with nuanced characters. And yes I watch The Walking Dead, reality t v, R rated movies, and listen to secular music. #don’tjudge

  12. Suzanne
    October 3, 2013

    Let me first mention that I was so captivated by the title of this blog that I paused the early flashback episode of “Scandal” to read it! LOL 🙂 Next, I have to tell you how much I LOVE LOVE LOVE this blog entry!!! I’m going to print it out, frame it and hang up where I can see it every day! I agree with every word! 🙂 And I hope someday I get to attend one of your events here in Nashville and meet you in person… Maybe sit down and have a conversation over a couple margaritas and toast our singlehood because I love the way you think and I love all your uplifting and encouraging messages! Keep up the great work!! (And I’ll be sharing the link to this blog!)

  13. Jay
    October 3, 2013

    I HAD THE SANE EXPERIENCE WHEN I READ HARRY Potter..any church that preaches hate of any kind is lost…we must pray because they are doing what people did to Jesus…You are a wonderful woman.God bless your steps..

  14. cici marlens
    October 3, 2013

    Truly inspired!!!

  15. Jodi
    October 4, 2013

    Love, love, love. You broke it all the way down Olivia Pope style. Love Scandal and you already know I love you! God bless!

  16. Sphesihle
    October 4, 2013

    I realy love this blog, truly inspired!! #don’t judge people.

  17. October 4, 2013

    You broke the wall of a Christian thinking-to-be. Not because we watch this kind of movies/shows doesn’t mean GOD dont LOVE us anymore. Truly, he dont JUDGE us based on what we watch BUT through our DEEDS and sincere hearts.

  18. Eunice
    October 4, 2013

    I LOVE your post. I identify with you on so many levels… even have a similar background. I went through somewhat of an internal debate in Season 2 of Scandal- if God was going to judge me for watching etc. Came to a similar conclusion as you but you phrased things so much better. You handled it and it is great! 🙂 Thank you and wasn’t the premiere just awesome?! 😉

  19. October 4, 2013

    This is AWESOME! I am certainly a believer who watches Scandal. Yesterday the morning question on the radio was, “Do you think its ok for Christians to watch Scandal?” I posted it on FB and the feedback was very interesting. Everyone has their own personal theories and thats fine. We are all entitled. However it definitely does not dictate who I am as a women and what I stand for! I know who I am in Christ and a TV show will not change that. Its just a show…. Good post!

  20. Michelle
    October 4, 2013

    I’m not saying I don’t watch tv shows like Scandal (cause I DO…all the time)… but once in a while I DO feel convicted by it, because we really shouldn’t be watching these things. Philippians 4:8 even suggests that (and that’s not the only place). Can we love the people who act in the show/produce the show? Absolutely… but should we support it and watch it like there’s nothing wrong with the morals/values in it? Probably not… I’m not saying I’m right and you’re wrong because I don’t truly know. I’m only sharing my opinion. I still love your stuff and props to you for your blog anyhow.

  21. Kristina
    October 4, 2013

    This was awesome and how I have thought for years! One of my favorite shows is Revenge. That title alone goes against what God says. Vengeance is mine says the Lord…Rom 12:19. I agree with you completely. Personal responsibility. Not every one can separate the two, but if you can, know God wants your heart not your entertainment preferences! I am so glad I found this blog.

  22. Brittany
    October 4, 2013

    Mandy, what’s your take on Sex and the City? Ive seen you quote Carrie Bradshaw a few times. Where does one draw tbe line especially when in a position of influence and could possibly cause newer Christians to stumble? No shade, just an honest question that Ive pondered myself a few times. I love certain things but 1 Cor 10 is in the back of my mind. Anyhow, just want your thoughts!

  23. October 4, 2013

    I’m a PK! I grew up in a FAB home where we were shown and taught unconditional love! Jesus is FREEDOM… So be FREE!

    I watch Scandal. It’s not a great moral show but it’s still a good plot.

  24. Elizabeth
    October 4, 2013

    Thank you thank you! I think Olivia and her team struggle with good and evil and isn’t that what a lot of the Bible is about? I felt the same way about Harry Potter. I am an adult, I know this is fiction, I know that God has given me a brain and expects me to use it! He may have made me dumb, but not stupid.
    I’m 51 and single-never married-and am fine with that. Some are called to be single and I believe I am. I thank you for using the gifts that God has given you.

  25. October 5, 2013

    I used to love scandal a lot,not so much anymore coz it became so sexual…I still follow up tho ….now when the sex scenes come up I fast forward coz the bible says we should guard our hearts…so I’m very careful what I watch
    Nice article tho


  26. Krista
    October 5, 2013

    the Lord does tell us to guard our hearts. that includes everything we surround ourselves with. I think we definitely need to be mindful of the things we watch and what we allow ourselves to be consumed with. I think there are so many things in life that we need to do in moderation. I am a Christian who watches Scandal, loves Katy Perry and a good glass of wine. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. At the end of the day, you just need to remember your relationship with Jesus is yours and it’s personal. What the Lord may be speaking to you and telling you to not do (like watching Scandal) is for you and Jesus to know. I will say this: if our hearts are truly turned toward the Lord, and He instructs us not to indulge in certain things, it is up to us to make the right decision to glorify Him. And that’s different for each us because we are all on different places in our journey to glorify the King. I feel that if we keep the lines of communication open and follow through with the Lord’s instruction, we will know if we should cut back on the Sex and the City, Pintrest, the guy in our lives, whatever it may be. The Lord says that we will find Him if we search for Him with all our hearts. As long as THAT is our ultimate desire, and not Olivia Pope’s end game is, I feel that the Lord will honor and delight in that.

  27. NZUKI
    October 7, 2013

    Girl you are real! i love that, on my part am addicted to Korean dramas( romance,comedy,thrillers)..i just looove them though am a Kenyan

  28. Sioux
    October 7, 2013

    Loved this blog, I was raised Seventh day Adventist and your experience resonated with me so much, I was told that if I went to movie theatres god would not be in there with me. So if anything happened…like what? Lol….. I don’t think we were born to put so many restrictions on ourselves, in fact god doesn’t like religion, he wants us to have a personal relationship with him, and that means we can even go to a movie, listen to rock, and dance in my living room and GOD will be smiling down on us!!!!!! Keep up the good work Ty……

  29. olatorera
    October 17, 2013

    Thank you Miss Mandy Hale for this piece,God bless you…I hope people will learn from it ,love like Jesus and not judge…..and oh yes,I love the tv show “scandal”…I am watching tonight and thank God jake Ballard is back…

  30. Dianne
    October 20, 2013

    I’m still confused tho. Lately I’ve been condemning myself because of my addiction to celebrities. I’m a fan girl and sometimes, well, most of the time, I feel like my fangirling is just too much! I’m always praying to God that if there’s something he would like to correct about what I think about or what I do, just do it. I’m a busy career woman and my way of relaxation is by stalking my fave celebrities and talking to my fellow fan girls and watching movies and TV shows and the list goes on. I’ve been harsh to myself because I feel like God is not proud of me and He’s not happy with what I’m doing and He wants me to stop from my fangirling. I need advice. Where is this confirmation coming from? Is it valid or am I just being critical? Or do I really have to do something? Please help. I’m really confused.

  31. Sofia
    October 24, 2013

    Recently found Jesus and love everything about his love of the broken, he was able to see the beauty in all of the flawed. Scandal shows the depth of hearts in some very traumatized individuals. I love some good tv and I love God and if I can continue to see Him in everything that surrounds me then that seems better than those that close off the world to try and get close to the one who was about loving your neighbours!

  32. Tumisang
    December 26, 2013

    My dear you are right,i hv bn Christian al my life de way times i ws depresd,miserable cs i didnt open my heart to everyone as i thought it ws de right thing to do bt it didnt fl right,God is loving not eagerly waiting to punish us..its important to learn the love of God

  33. Rachael
    August 15, 2014

    Thank you for writing this! It was such a refreshing read today! and TRUE! Keep lovin’ Jesus my friend in the way he made you, it’s HIS perfection! 🙂 If HE has a problem with you doing something, He will work with you on it, nobody else needs to! Much Love!

  34. September 25, 2014

    Thank you! I have followed the same path, from a legalistic Christian view, to recognizing that the grace I expect from others is the grace I should extend to others. I am a mid-20s in transition from working in Corporate America to becoming a full-time missionary and let me tell you, I am not your average missionary. But I love Jesus and I have a passion for reaching other women and giving them hope in Christ and teaching that our identity and value come from Him alone. I won’t be watching Scandal tonight, but only because I’ll be at my part-time job in a wine bar (gasp!) but I’ll surely be catching up on Hulu tomorrow. Thank you for all that you do!

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Something wonderful is on the horizon
Turn Toward the Sun CoverLife doesn’t always look the way we want it to look. In Mandy’s upcoming book, Turn Toward the Sun: Releasing What If and Embracing What Is, you’ll find encouragement to live in the moment, sit with your experiences, and trust God with the unknown.
Preorder from Baker Book House for 40% off and free shipping!*
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*US shipping only