THE RELIGION OF HYPOCRISY

Don’t get me wrong, it’s always been here –

Between my ears –

In your heart –

Before our eyes…

I walked out of the theater the first time I saw The Lord of the Rings because it felt so dark, yet Edgar Allen Poe was my favorite author…

I walked out on contemporary Christian radio decades ago for its shallow and out-of-context Churchy tripes, yet I entertained a few Adult Alternative secular artists in my heart…

I watched preacher after preacher denouncing porn, adultery, and homosexuality every Sunday, then suddenly caught in their own net at the strip club, online, or in the closet…

And I’ve sat in the armchair of my heart pondering these things in a padded room with nicotine-laced emotional placations, half bewildered and half repulsed…

The Religion of Hypocrisy is the status quo – to borrow a line from my husband.

Churchianity At Its Best

Recently, since following The Chosen series on TV, I’ve been made aware of several videos or articles online denouncing the show for its extra-biblical content or hypothesizing that a Christian, a Mormon, and a Catholic can’t walk into a bar onto a movie set together without having a sinister purpose at heart…

Some making these criticisms make them believing that they uphold the truest of doctrines in the land and hypothesizing that their brand of Christian (be it zealot or fisherman) is the right-ness (like hotness but better).

Others, however, make these criticisms from the teetering high chair of double-standards, doubling down on anything branding itself as ‘Christian’ while simultaneously turning blind eyes towards their preferential secular fare.

Then, along came Redeeming Love, the film… and a flood of vitriol from Christians within minutes of viewing.

(I have seen The Chosen; I have not yet seen Redeeming Love, though I read Francine Rivers’ book in my youth.)

I recall that the book, Redeeming Love, was shocking and sometimes uncomfortable, so I can imagine that the film is more-so. I would agree that extra care should have been taken with the film; I am not arguing that some shots shouldn’t have been more discreet or edited out entirely. I have not seen the film, but I imagine that that much is true of the critiques.

What I am addressing here is the hypocrisy of the viewers, friends, not-so-much whether their critique was warranted for Christian audiences.

The Chosen, a film about Jesus, and Redeeming Love, a film based on the book of Hosea, are two very different offerings, yet the polarizing and excoriating rebukes of both have been very similar…

Christians criticizing The Matrix? …I don’t recall that.

Christians against Bond007? …I don’t recall that.

Christians sounding alarms about The Game of Thrones?… Okay, I saw more Christians enamored with this show than not, but the debate did exist somewhere…

Christians renouncing Harry Potter? …Me. But I’m one of the few.

Christians alarmed by the subversiveness of Frozen II and the witchcraft therein?… Hm, a few… but I feel alone.

Two Responses

There are two primary responses, I think, to contrasts such as these. The first is to weaken our criticisms; the second is to fortify them.

The first: We can realize that we’ve played the hypocrite when it comes to entertainment and decide to lower the bar – accepting in ‘Christian’ films what we would accept from the table of the world. After all, we’ve been noshing at both, right? So… might as well drop the illusions and self-delusions.

The second: We can realize the whoops of our double-standards, show more grace to Christian brothers and sisters, and cut out the worldly fare. So maybe we don’t throw the whole TV out, but we throw away anything with subversive messages, worldly messages, and ungodly messages – which will be most of what’s on TV and in film.

I’ll admit to taking a third route with Redeeming Love...

An Author’s View

It’s a good thing the book of Galatians was not written to the Corinthians. For the Corinthians, the book of Galatians is practically a license to sin… or so it seems to the liberal…

And, it sounds like it’s a good thing the book of Corinthians wasn’t written to the Galatians too. The Galatians had something to prove – namely, their own works and righteousness. The message of Galatians was fitting.

Both of these books are beneficial to us as Believers, but they were not written to us. They were written for a specific audience.

Any Bible teacher will confirm.

The first rule of writing is knowing your audience. It’s a rule I understand the importance of because I’ve spent a lot of decades trying to figure out mine. If you cannot define your audience as a writer, you will speak in too many generalities or try to say too much at once –

Hi. My name is Rose, and I am a recovering audience shirker.

I know who my audience is for my fiction book now… and, because of that, my text has changed, my methods have changed, my focus has changed, and my criticisms (even of myself) have changed.

And it changed the way I heard the critiques of Redeeming Love

So, for this alternate route, I would simply like to suggest that the film – maybe even the book – was not written for you.

Maybe it wasn’t for you.

Because, here’s the thing…

Some women grow up in Angel’s world (the whore of Redeeming Love)…

Some little girls grow up in sex-trafficking rings, abused before they even know how to read or write…

Some children grow up being repeatedly, explicitly, and horrifically abused by their own parents or other family…

What about those still trapped in these lifestyles who think redemption is but a fairytale for body and soul?

Do you think the film will be shocking to them? Do you think they won’t be able to hear the redemptive message of it? Do you think it will be too explicit for them?

(‘Triggering’ is a different issue; I said ‘shocking’.)

Conclusions

Again, I don’t say these things to whitewash whatever was not necessary about the film.

I note these things to check our hearts…

If it’s not for you, it’s not for you. You probably shouldn’t send your husband to review the film. Some things are better restricted to the written word.

But…

Were the characterizations accurate? Might God yet redeem it for those to whom the corporal has become anything but sacred ground? – You know, the sick ones (rather than the healthy)…

Let’s be real. Plenty of ‘Christian’ men are watching porn in the closet, so… I’m not sure why y’all shocked – to be blunt.

Oh – because it’s a ‘Christian film’?

I see…

And what about our Christian men and women?

Or is that in name only too?

If we are to assess the splinter, we must first asses the log, dear ones.

Your log before their splinter.

That’s what Jesus said.

Same goes for The Chosen.

If you’re complaining about extra-Biblical story-telling, I hope you are first assessing the extra-Biblical activities in your own life. To do anything less furthers only The Religion of Hypocrisy –

Not the Gospel of Christ.

He calls many to repentance and, last I checked, He still uses various means…

Shalom.

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