Thursday, March 15, 2012
GCB: Good Christian What?
At first you might find the name offensive. After all, the "B-word" is not a very nice thing to call a lady, (unless your name is Bill Maher, then you can pass it off as "comedy" and call someone whatever you like...but I digress). You may even have tuned in just to see what the hype was all about and found their horrific use of Scripture rather ludicrous - verse after verse pulled farther out of context than a bad set of blond extensions. No doubt, using the Scripture in such a manner is wholly offensive. Poor Biblical interpretation doesn't sound any less heretical coming out of a pretty mouth.
No, my main contention with the program is not what was said or done during the show, but what was missing. While GCB has a real flair for revealing hypocrisy (not to mention the stereotypical cat-fights and petty cheap shots that ensue), not to mention all the gossip in the pew and the ritzy neighborhood, the 8th commandment wasn't the chief commandment breaking I noticed. GCB was rich in pharisees, but poor in tax collectors. A wealth of pointing the finger, but a poverty of forgiveness. A whole bigger-than-Texas helping of, "Thank God, I'm not like that woman across the street." And not enough of, "Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner."
The two main scenes between the main protagonist, Amanda Vaughn (played by Leslie Bibb), and the primary antagonist, Carlene Cockburn (played by Kristin Chenoweth), both take place in their local church. During the prayers of the church no less, they vale their not-so-subtle attacks at one another in the form of a public prayer. The church is the one place where hypocrites are welcomed, in fact highly encouraged to come. We can always use one more (Chief of sinners though I be...there' always someone worse than me!). But church is also the one place on earth where all of us hypocrites, sinners and GCB's should be guaranteed to hear the one thing that really matters any given day we come through those doors: forgiveness. That's what we need. To hear the words: "In the stead and by the command of my Lord Jesus Christ I forgive you all your sins in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit." Again. And again. And again.
This is what Jesus told his disciples the church's main (and only) task is: to proclaim repentance and forgiveness of sins to the end of the world, to every corner of the sinful world. You are forgiven for Christ's sake. By his cross. By his death. By Jesus becoming the hypocrite and the pharisee and the sinner for you. He loved his neighbor as himself, actually better than himself. He loved his neighbor to death. Your sin - no matter how salacious or dramatic or downright ugly - is paid for. Redeemed. Gone. Buried in the tomb of Christ. And your pastor is there to deliver this Good News to you with water and Word, Jesus' body and blood and the proclamation of Christ himself: You are forgiven all your sins.
What else is the church all about if it is not the forgiveness of sins? If this is lost, so is the church. And that's why, believe it or not, I am going to keep watching GCB just to see if forgiveness does come into the show at some point. I pray that it does; it would be refreshing. After all, that's what it means to be Christian - to be a forgiven child of God, as we pray in the Lord's Prayer, forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us, not matter how pretty or ugly the sin is.
Y'all come back now ya hear!