Christianity and TV

Reza Aslan’s recent column on how to communicate Islam (“Watching TV helped me see America. Can it help America see Muslims?,” Sept. 12)brought several thoughts to mind. The first is to congratulate Reza on understanding the best way to influence people is through storytelling. His idea of a network sitcom featuring an Islamic central character is brilliant.

The second thought is that an even rarer network show would be one featuring an actual believing Christian. While Reza found television helped him see America, it certainly didn’t help him see Christianity. The American Christian church on film and television is mainly represented by money-bilking evangelists, political activists pushing an agenda and “exposes” of hypocrites. (from “Elmer Gantry” to “Saved”)

The current identification of the evangelical church with American conservatism and especially a Republican Party that has embraced a leader like Donald Trump, a man whose life and speech is contrary to everything Jesus taught, certainly has not helped.

But the real church is millions of common people trying to live lives of love, integrity and meaning. Above all, it is people who want to share the hope that the God of the universe really cares for each of us individually. That is the message Jesus brought to the world — and any other message is a distraction from the good news the church was charged to share.

Having grown up in the church, I know us as a wonderfully flawed but beautiful group of people. We can be pretty funny too. A sitcom about us might just be the thing

James Becker


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