Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Ash Wednesday

We got Netflix recently and along with our new larger tv we have been sucked into some sort of media vortex.  Since we haven't had cable in many years I am way behind on non-network tv shows and so thought I would watch a few I have heard so much about.  I started with the show "Weeds" which while I realized was about a pot dealing soccer mom I thought could be interesting.  For reasons unknown to me I watched the entire first season during a weeks worth of lunches.  I beg you not to become curious but to avoid this all together.  My soul hurt after the week was over.  It is watching a pornographic world full of people with no morals or values who are torn between trying to pretend they have they have morals and values or just living a life of total self indulgece and debautchery.  Let's all put a big fat NO on that one.

So I mention my disappointment to some neighbors who hadn't seen the show but had netflix.  One neighbor recommended a show called "the tudors" which is based on the life of Henry the 8th when he was a young king.  I like history and so a show based on history could be good.  It isn't.  It is a show based in the whatever past century Henry the 8th lived where they have no morals or values.  Having learned from watching "Weeds" that it doesn't get better I cut my loses after the 2nd episode.

So realizing nothing made for Showtime TV should be on my viewing list, John and I decided to watch something a little safer.  We have been watching the short lived but well loved series, "Firefly".  It has been an entertaining show and we are 2 episodes away from the end of the 1 season series and are looking forward to the follow up movie.

After watching the two showtime shows I came to the conclusion that the main problem with both shows was that there were no good people in them.  The heros are bad, the villians are bad.  The writers seem to make an assumption that nobody ever does the right thing for the sake of doing the right thing.  Even people in high religious positions are corrupt only interested in the power of their position.  If a person does appear sincere in their faith they are militantly so and totally ignorant.  There are just no truly good people in these worlds.  It is disturbing to imagine what the world would be like today if that were true.  If in reality nobody in Henry the 8th's world was good.  If none of the Arch Bishops of the Catholic church actually believed enough to follow God above the king.  Now I don't want to sugar coat the history of the world or anything, there is plenty of evil and corruption throughout our history on both the winning and loosing sides.  I just know that there does exist in this world people of faith who are willing to do the right thing and there is a God who loves us, cares for us and protects us.

Last night as I was watching another episode of the much tamer and safer "Firefly" I had a realization, this show has the same problem.  None of the heros of that show are really good people either.  They do some good things and occasionally show heart but at the end of the day they aren't good people either.

So I am thinking that Hollywood has totally lost any sense reality.  OK I did figure that out a while back but it was really striking me last night.

Then today, on the first day of lent, I had an even more rude realization...They are right!  There are no truly good people!  We are all sinners.  We are all self involved, morally corrupt and lacking in values.  It is only through the redeeming blood of Jesus Christ that any of us can stand tall and even attempt to pretend it is otherwise.

Even though I have been an Anglican for 6 years now I am still learning to wrap my Baptist brain around Lent.  I am not sure I am totally ready to express my understanding of Lent but I think I may have begun to find a couple thoughts here today from my corrupt tv viewing habits.

In the evangelical protesant traditions the focus is always on our forgiveness and salvation.  We have confessed and been forgiven.  Our sin is forgotten and gone, move on.  In the Anglican tradition we remember we are sinners.  Not to remind us of our shame, not to dwell on our sin but to remember the gift.  How can we appreciate the joy and celebration that Easter is if we don't remember the sin and sorrow from which we have been freed?

Tonight we will go to the Ash Wednesday service.  We will be reminded as we recieve the ashes on our forehead that we were dust and to dust we shall return.  It is a humbling reminder of who we really are, that we are all marked for our sin, and what Jesus has really done for us.


  1. Awesome post all around - I'm sitting here reading it with ashes on my forehead.

  2. 20th century lit is all about the failure of man, while 19th century lit is where good-ness prevails. That's why it's my favorite. My fav movies are pre1955 movies. Again, goodness prevails and real heroes exist (Think Alvin C. York - awesome movie). 21st century lit and movies have ditched the hero and goodness! So sad!

    I was raised Catholic and now belong to a more charismatic denomination. So I went backwards - from focusing on repentance (never realized I was saved) to forgiveness and salvation. I love Lent and especially Holy Week. We always Go Catholic then!

    Loved your post! So agree with you!

  3. Great post. At our church the pastor has really been driving home how truly sinful we are. Like you said, not to defeat us, but to show us there is NO WAY we have any good inside us. Your post is SO on the money.
    Oh, but, Firefly is one of my ALL TIME favorite shows ever. Ever. I mourned when I ran out of shows to watch and tracked down all sorts of websites trying to find out if new stuff would ever be made again. :) I'm over it now, kind of. :) Though I am a faithful watcher of "Castle" because Nathan Fillion is on the show.