WHAT I REALLY WANT TO TALK ABOUT IS A THEOLOGY OF ENTERTAINMENT...
...but what USA Today wanted to hear about was Revelations, the new show airing on NBC tomorrow night about the end times. The article is on-line here.
It's always so interesting seeing what comes from being interviewed. The journalist on the piece emailed me a list of questions which I answered thusly...
"The problem with Revelations, and almost all of Hollywood's attempts to engage religion, is that they lack reverence. Some things are sacred because they were before us, and they will be here after us. (As a Gen-Xer I have to expand...Amazingly, there are thoughts that came before the baby-boomers, and there will be life and thought after the last one of them has finally given us the planet back!) These TV shows that try to mix it up with God, most often end up making God in Hollywood's image - a cool dude with attitude who hates the Christian Right and cares about humanity in a vague sense, but doesn't really care what individual people do.
From a Christian perspective, putting words in God's mouth, beyond the words He dictated Himself in the Bible, is always going to be problematic. Frankly, as good as the writers are in this town, nobody is THAT good.
Revelations also falls into the problem of mixing real stuff with sci-fi stuff. Again, a lack of reverence. Because things that are true should be accorded an attention and a consideration (ie. reverence) that we do not owe to things that are fantastic speculation. It is very insulting to people of faith, to see our Scriptures and doctrines mixed-up with weird occultic imagery and scenarios, as though they were on the same level. For this reason, I think that the red-state, religious, Passion of the Christ loving, audience whom NBC is trying to attract with this kind of programming, will actually be repelled. Oh well.
From a writing standpoint, I find the show well-crafted. Certainly the production values and acting will be of high-caliber. But, in the end, you can't sell a lie. And mixing the Bible with sci-fi is selling a lie.
Brooding over the end times makes Catholics wince. That kind of useless speculation is one of the ways Catholics have always been distinguished from Evangelical Protestants. I was raised thinking the 19th century "rapture" notions were weird. As Jesus said, "You don't know the day or the hour," so we are supposed to live uprightly at all times, just in case.
However, the times do feel ominous, especially here in America. We have had our illusion of security smashed, and our fears at so many threats are sending us looking for signs that there is a Loving Mind somewhere that is in control.
Most of the "End Times" frenzy these days can be attributed to the narcissistic baby-boomers who as they age into irrelevance, can't believe that the world could possibly go on without them. I wish it really were a search for God, but I think it is a frantic clinging to their vision of themselves."
Here's what ended up in the article:
Barbara Nicolosi, who heads Act One, a non-profit group that trains religious writers and executives for careers in Hollywood, says the pilot script appears "well-crafted," but "it's very insulting to people of faith to see our scriptures and doctrines mixed up with weird, occultic imagery and scenarios. I think that the red-state, religious, Passion of the Christ-loving audience whom NBC is trying to attract with this kind of programming will actually be repelled."
Anyway, Inside Edition is coming over this afternoon to get some more from me. It will probably be on tomorrow night.