Friday, January 07, 2005

Jerry Springer

This week I have recieved several emails inciting me to protest against tomorrow's screening on the BBC of Jerry Springer: The Opera. This despite the fact that I don't actually have a TV, and am therefore neither able to watch it nor do I pay the BBC License fee.

But let me offer a few observations nonetheless...

1. Talk about what you know - It strikes me that my fellow Christians are protesting about something on the basis of heresay. That is a little unwise, particularly as some of the Radio Times' original comments about the content of the programme are now reported as a little exagerated.

2. There's no such thing as a Christian country - Critisism is made on the basis that this is a Christian country. Whilst technically 70% (ish) of the nation call themselves Christian when it comes to census... the statement is patently false. Not primarily because it is obvious that the vast majority of that 70% aren't actually Christian, but because the term Christian country is thoroughly unbiblical. The only Christian country is the church. So, please lets have an end to that myth. I know the UK was once run on supposedly Christian values - but you can't legislate "Christian" values... because living Christianly only works when you have the Holy Spirit.

3. Don't moralise unbelievers - People who aren't Christians cannot be expected to be morally good. You can't make them be moral and it actually doesn't achieve anything. God isn't most concerned that people be moral and respectable, he's looking for sinners to repent and recieve grace. That is a different matter. Trying to make people whose hearts are fundamentally sinful act morally leads to legalism and a perversion of the gospel - according to the Bible. So, when the BBC (supposed christian constitution or not) or anyone else, Jerry Springer for that matter, acts immorally I am not even remotely surprised. Since the Bible tells me that Christians will sin, I'm not exactly shocked when people who aren't Christians sin. Non-Christians don't like being moralised anymore than Christians do, and it doesn't help them get to heaven.

4. Less pro-test, more pro-claim - External Moral Respectability isn't really the point. Whilst I concede that some things can me more explicitly anti-God than others, that isn't really the point. The big issue is that for most of that 70% and the other 30% of people in the UK they are utterly anti-God in thought, word and deed, by negligence, weakness or deliberate fault. That is because they are not Christians, and thus by definition they (explicitly or implicitly) declare the death of Christ to be meaningless. Whether or not a TV programme is shown doesn't really change that. What people need is to be told more about the Cross of Christ and their need to repent, than to be told they should be morally decent.

5. Less Anti and more Pro - It is high-time Christians started being known for being pro-God, pro-grace, pro-love, pro-faith, pro-forgiveness, pro-creation, pro-marriage, pro-mercy, instead of constantly portraying themselves as anti-everything. Christians more than anyone should know how great God's creation is, and how it is to be embraced and enjoyed with thanksgiving. How about we start acting like it! :)

6. TV is optional - TV has an off-button. And you don't even have to have a TV.


  1. good stuff Dave; even without a cup of coffee I agree with you.....have a good weekend (Phil)

  2. Your post is very true and totally see your point. Yet I see why people are a bit upset about it, I think its a case of not setting a good example if we dont protest against this which is proposed as against Christianity. If we sit back, people may think..ohh they dont care about their God and the BBC loses its guidlines on what it can display or not. If the program was about race, age or perhaps any other religion...then it wouldnt be right or PC. Its such a shame that society has to sink so low to catch a bit of entertainment.

    If there is a protest, it should be peaceful and we should set an example of the Grace that God has blessed us with. Maybe talking to the people that are doing the show and show them how God really is in the bible and what Jesus has done for us. There is no point shouting and waving banners at them..that means they have succeded in getting a reation out of the nation - therefore the ratings will be high cos people want to see how "bad" it is.

  3. Yeah, thought your thoughts were v good, and wished I had saved the names of the people who had sent me the jerry stuff to send your thoughts to! I´m pretty fed up of us reacting to stuff rather than holding out the word of life in a positive and God exaulting manner. Seems like we end up preaching legalism and a subculture to be adheared to, rather than the spring of living water. See ya Mon

  4. Thanks for the comments guys, keep them coming.

    High time we started getting more proactive than reactive about making the wonder and glory and beauty of our good news known to the this world.

    They don't know that they need it and they probably wont like it (as someone said - it's the stench of life, and of death). But the fact remains that it is the only good news there really is.

    Jesus crucified might look powerless and foolish... but it kinda depends on where you're standing.

  5. My broader thoughts, after having watched it, are here: Je-rry eleison.

    But I just wanted to say "amen brother!" (in a specifically reserved anglo-catholic way) to much of what you've said there. I'd say to anyone that it's best to get in the world, our culture needs redeeming, and that can only be done as we live it for ourselves and become fully part of it. And if that involves a bit of prophetic witness, then organise your petition against the really offensive television - the reality tv, the makeovers, the cheap sub documentries, ect. are the real degrading filth! Up with quality engaging productions, like JSTO, they need our support all the more in the face of screen banality...

  6. Amen...Thanks for putting into words what I often feel but never seem to quite be able to express in words. Thanks for clarifying my clarifications...!

  7. I think it is always good to have a perspective from both sides. I can understand the need to make a protest but we also have to do it insuch a way that shows we are Christians.