That exception is 24.
It has been my guilty pleasure.
Now with the show re-launching a new season, I am already hooked again after just two episodes, even without Jack Bauer to save day.
For those unfamiliar with 24, it is an action packed, suspense driven, often political thriller of a show where there is almost always a race against the clock to diffuse some catastrophic terrorist plot (often multiple ones at the same time) that is about to go down and threatens thousands, if not even millions of people. Often chock full with conspiracy theories with some bad guy(s) always working from the inside, one is never sure who to trust (except Jack, we can always trust Jack), each week is left with a cliff hanger as disaster is perilously close to happening.
Obviously there is much drama built into the show as last second aversions (and failures to avert) of disaster and political conspiracies add much suspense and intrigue and help draw in and keep viewers. How much of the show reflects what reality is actually like in regards to terrorist threats for government and top government defense and security agencies, I don’t really know. One would probably have to be a legitimately pertinent government insider who is plugged in to some top secrets to really know how much of the show reflects some measure of reality and how much is just Hollywood sensationalism.
Since the show revolves around fighting terrorism, the antagonists are most often Muslims and/or Middle Easterners. This gives the show an air of reality as we recognize in our world that most terrorist attacks, especially the larger and more intricate ones, are carried out by radical Muslims and/or people of Middle Eastern descent. It does give picture to the very real danger that we face in this world by a radical Islam that believes it is righteously and triumphantly killing anyone it views as an infidel.
Which leads me to think about the refugee issue. Now, my intent is not to make this a debate about refugees and/or President Trump’s executive order, although the discussion can easily end up going that way and there’s probably not much I can do about it. But I want to reflect on a few different thoughts or aspects akin to the issue.
First, I echo Michael’s thoughts that he gave in last week’s Calvin’s Corner podcast (At the time of this writing, I haven’t yet listened to this week’s podcast so I can’t speak to anything additional there). Those thoughts being that this is a complicated issue and it’s not nearly as simple as being for or against refugees. That there are competing considerations between loving the refugee and showing mercy and compassion to them and also loving your family and neighbor and showing love to them by protecting them from potential harm. Moreover, although this is a state issue as far as deciding who or how many or where from that we allow refugees into our country, as Christians we can always work to try to influence our governmental leaders to do what we believe is the right thing to do.
From a personal standpoint, I have thought through the issue and have come to the conclusion that Trump’s executive order is in the wrong and is the un-Christian thing to do. Again, I am not trying to start a debate about it, and so I am not going to argue or detail all reasons which have brought me to such a conclusion. However, this is what I believe on the issue and my belief was primarily informed by my faith.
Which brings me to how people react to either myself or many others saying that their Christian faith has helped bring them to such a judgment. It is an interesting juxtaposition of sorts. In many different instances, when a theologically conservative Christian says a political view is informed by their faith, there are cries from political liberals, some who even are Christians, that they should be keeping their faith out of politics or out of the government. Sometimes the words of cultism or extremism are even thrown out there. This often happens on issues like abortion or gay marriage or religious freedom.
But then when one states that their Christian faith was integral in their decision to oppose Trump’s executive order on refugees and immigration, or to support environmental issues, or to support the same religious freedoms for Muslims, there are frequently similar cries about wrongfully applying faith to political issues, except this time they come from the opposite camp – those who are political conservatives, some who even are Christians. Some who will so strongly fight against abortion or for Christian religious freedom with their faith driving their fight, will now say that you’re mixing up church and state issues and you should keep your faith out of this one. Or there will be the condescending remarks of, “Oh now you want to apply your faith to a political issue.”
We cannot expect different from those who aren’t Christians. We can try to appeal to them, but we should not be surprised if they choose not to accept or even respect our religious convictions. But we could and should expect more from our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. We are free to disagree with political conclusions and the reasoning that led to them, but we should be the last ones telling other Christians to not allow their faith to inform their political beliefs and actions. Sadly, it seems in our increasingly political divide, we much too often allow our political inclinations to override how we should rightly treat each other, including even those who share our faith.
I am not advocating for a type of Christian nationalism where we should work as Christians to take over the government and remove any line between church and state. But what I am saying is, especially within our own Christian brethren, we should be respectful and even encouraging of people to allow their faith to illuminate how they think and act on the political issues of the day that surround them. We should even be respectful of those who aren’t applying a Christian faith, but are still thinking and acting and expressing their political beliefs with some modicum of reason and care. Just maybe if we were successful in accomplishing this, it could be a significant spark in helping to heal the unhealthy division we have in this country. Just maybe the church could set a good example for the rest of our citizenship by acting like Christians should.
Just maybe it could even help to heal some of the unhealthy division we have in the church.
It sure wouldn’t hurt to try.