I love Story.
Most people would say they love a good story. Not me. I love Story. With a capital “S”.
Story is more to me than a narrative or a retelling of events.
Story is heroes, villains, obstacles, challenges, quests, love, hate, lust, power, money, revenge, mistakes, and fantasy.
Story is an experience.
Story makes you think and challenges what you believed to be true.
Story makes you laugh, makes you angry, makes you uncomfortable and makes you weep.
Story is life. We’re all living our own Story.
As a Christian, the greatest Story ever told changed my life. God is the Author of my faith.
I resonate with and love Story.
My passion for Story often does not bode well in church or with other Christians. I love the television shows Mad Men and Breaking Bad and have known very few Christians who would admit to watching these shows, let alone liking them. Now I’m not going to fault or criticize anyone who chooses not to watch these shows or any other. Everyone has their own line they do not want to cross and I have mine. Game of Thrones is a show I will not watch. Walking Dead is another. Those two shows cross a line I have drawn for myself.
This is not a post about judging people for where they draw their own boundaries.
I find fault with one specific reason I’ve heard Christians use for their entertainment choices. It boils down to one word.
As in, ” I won’t watch Breaking Bad because it glorifies drug dealers.” or “I can’t believe you watch Mad Men. It glorifies adultery and drinking.”
Umm, no. No, it doesn’t.
Glorify means “to cause to be or treat as being more splendid, excellent, etc., than would normally be considered” (Dictionary.com).
This is where I get frustrated. Breaking Bad is the story of Walter White, a high school chemistry teacher who is diagnosed with an inoperable lung cancer. His life wasn’t that great to begin with. He works two jobs, lives in a house he can’t afford to make necessary repairs on, his teenage son has cerebral palsy and his wife is pregnant. Now he has cancer. This is a man who is at the end of his rope, knows he’s going to die and makes a decision to secure his family’s financial future after he dies…by cooking meth. Throughout the series, we see Walker make choices he never conceived he would have to make. He has opportunity after opportunity to get out but he’s blinded by his goal and lies to himself to get there. Many people are hurt along the way.
There’s no glory here. This is a story of a good man going bad. A man who makes one decision that casts his life on a spiral downward. Something that many of us do every day.
Mad Men is similar. Don Draper is an advertising executive in the 1960’s who has it all. The job, the wife, the kids, the house, the money. But he’s a tragically broken man. Initially, I couldn’t stand the show or the character but the more I watched and learned about the character’s past, he became more sympathetic to me.
He still angers me. He hurts those closest to him and makes awful choices. He seems to be incapable of being faithful to any woman and given his back story, I can understand why. I haven’t seen the latest season yet but I wonder if Don Draper wants to die. I think he’s in that much pain. I think most of the characters are in so much pain, they are subconsciously trying to destroy themselves.
Or at least dull the pain.
Just like a lot of us do.
They experience the consequences of their actions. There’s no glory here either.
I guess my point is this: watch what you want to watch. Draw your own boundaries. You’ll get no judgement from me. But, please, PAY ATTENTION to Story. There’s a lot going on besides what you just see with your eyes. Do the work and think about what the writer is saying.
Those skills can then be used when living your own Story and learning the Story of others.