I have to know...
Why is virtually EVERYTHING marketed as "Christian TV" such unmitigated crap, such as is unworthy for my compost heap. (Yaaay! My "Most Hated Christian Blogger" award is in the mail!)
Seriously...I have lived in Flandersville, with a diet of "Little House" and "Where the Red Fern Grows", and I have moved. Now, both of those worthy examples are secular works, and delightsome in their way, but they serve to illustrate that the best that "Christian Programming" has to offer...is produced by the secular world.
Come on, the best thing that "Christian TV" has ever had to offer is "Davey and Goliath" (pre-70's) and "Flying House". OK, I'll spot you "Gospel Bill" for the sheer quirkiness of Kenneth Copeland as the black hat. And "Bananas", the family-friendly stand-up comedy show. But that is IT!
I received an ad for SkyAngel, a satellite TV service featuring different "Christian" "Inspirational" and "Family" TV and radio channels. Hear what the SkyAngel blurb saith:
To provide a global communications platform as an instrument of unity to equip the Body of Christ to fulfill the Great Commission.
Our Mission: To build and operate a global communications system as the most effective means of assuring that the Gospel will penetrate every nation, culture and people.
Mercy. It is so sad that Jesus had the bad luck to come to earth 2000 years before global communications technology was available. All that apostolic sandal-leather gone to waste. The Vision of SkyAngel is breathtaking, and utterly vain.
"To provide a global communications platform as an instrument of unity"
Hmmmm....seems the New Testament has a thing or two to say about that:
(1) I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beseech you that you walk worthy of the calling with which you are called,
(2) with all lowliness and meekness, with long-suffering, forbearing one another in love,
(3) endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
(4) There is one body and one Spirit, even as you are called in one hope of your calling,
(5) one Lord, one faith, one baptism,
(6) one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in you all.
The seven unities expressed in the passage form a basis for our unity, the unity we are to strive for.
Eph 4:11 And truly He gave some to be apostles, and some to be prophets, and some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers,
Eph 4:12 for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.
Eph 4:13 And this until we all come into the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a full-grown man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;
God gave apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors (shepherds, bishops) and teachers to teach and equip us to be in unity and maturity. To whom did he give these gifts?
SkyAngel? EWTN? TBN? CBN?
Once again, men have a Real Good Idea (see the vision and mission above) that utterly fails to bow the knee to the Lord it purports to serve. God did not call a satellite network to preach the Gospel, or to promote unity. He called the church, commissioned the church in Christ to spread the Good News. Don't misunderstand, I am no King James Luddite, insisting on sword-and-sandal evangelism, with but a papyrus sheaf of Aramaic verse clutched earnestly in a sweaty palm. My point is that it is the church, not some business or company, that is called upon to do the work...of the church. The church may do radio, or even have a satellite uplink, I reckon, to spread the Good News. But for the job of making disciples (where this unity business happens) you must have face time, one person taking the edges off of another, learning to live the Gospel, to do the Gospel. That is how "the Gospel will penetrate every nation, culture and people.", by men and women teaching other men and women how to be Christians.
Part and parcel with the "evangelistic mission" of Christian TV is having stuff to watch when you're not watching preaching and teaching. After all, a steady diet of Joel Osteen, Benny Hinn, and Jessie DuPlantis would be like eating a steady diet of Twinkies and Cap'n Crunch. You need some meat and potatoes...like Ozzie and Harriet reruns, nutritional supplement infomercials, and kids shows. Kid's shows like this. And this
To truly understand my horror, go here:"The Legend at Gaither's Pond" (by Live Bait Productions). Ugly AND twaddly. Sweet. Seriously...the character design scares me! Shucks...just go down the list.
Can I do CG animation? No, but I know what looks good. The Veggie Tales do an excellent job of writing and animation (OK, I'll spot you Veggie Tales, but NO MORE).
I remember when Focus on the Family began its run of the MOST excellent "Adventures in Odyssey" radio dramas, there were some homeschool-type mothers (yes, we have homeschooled our four kids) who would write in to Dr.Dobson to complain about the Bad Guys on his show.
Pause and savor the irony there.
Dobson, or one of his production staff, explained the need for conflict to move the story.
Silly man, he doesn't need conflict or drama. to tell the story. I mean, God didn't use conflict in the Bible to get the spiritual message across.
(pauses a beat)
There is no need for twaddly treacle to instruct children, or to entertain them, but sadly, twaddle seems the bill of fare for most Christian TV. Second-rate animation or set design does not present the Kingdom in a good light, nor the Excellence which should befit the work of the church.
Please, PLEASE. If you are a Christian, and in Media, PLEASE do it as unto the Lord, with excellence. If it is to promote the message, make that a double.