Way back in Genesis 1:26 Holy Spirit said the gospel would be known through us. We humans were created in God’s image—if people were to see God, we need only to look at ourselves. Although our mirror is “but a poor reflection” (1 Corinthians 13:12), it nonetheless tells us much about the God we serve.
God loves family and faithfulness in His created beings. If we look carefully, we can see these attributes in ourselves as mirrored by the media we create and consume.
For example, through NetFlix Sandra and I have become recent devotees of Parenthood. “Family” is the paramount theme of NBC’s hour long drama. Parenthood’s drama ebbs and flows with Braverman family crises and their resolution. Our hearts are warmed weekly as we see siblings stick up for each other, uncles hire nieces, and parents sacrifice everything for their kids.
The drama of Parenthood is driven also by marital faithfulness. Infidelity is sometimes temporarily tolerated, but is nonetheless vilified. Faithfulness serves as the benchmark for relational success in Parenthood.
Adultery is, thank God, still a source of dramatic tension in the media. When infidelity no longer creates anguish, then we humans have indeed forgotten our roots. God created us to be faithful, and to recognize un-faithfulness as something improper, if not downright evil.
But, what about God? What gospel do we see when human attributes, even Godly attributes, are put on a pedestal? In Parenthood, for example, “family” is golden, celebrated and praised as paramount. Make no mistake about it, God Himself supports this value—after all, Scripture says we are worse than infidels if we do not care for our family (cf., 1 Timothy 5:8).
But when “Family” becomes our raison d’être, our very reason for being, we lose sight of Who gave us this wonderfully potent attribute. Bottom line? “Family” is the idealized idol of Parenthood. Their struggle to pray, even at Thanksgiving says it all. Parenthood’s gospel? Family saves.
Are we going to keep watching Parenthood? Probably. It is an engaging series with considerable social and entertainment value. But now we will watch with caution. To celebrate God’s attributes within us without recognizing the Source of those attributes is at least spiritually retarded, if not downright seductively idolatrous.
Is a gospel of “family” or any human attribute, even a Godly attribute, the gospel? No. The gospel needs to be our benchmark—Jesus saves.
I encourage you to share with me your analyses of media you like to read, click, and/or watch but also recognize your need to consume cautiously, if at all.