Discover more from Contents and Containers
I saw Jesus on TV twice last week
So what if I’m reading into the TV shows that I’m watching? I think it’s good to see God in all things. And on the season finales of both Mad Men and The Americans, I saw God, again. I want to tell you two stories about that.
Roger Sterling becomes a leader
The first one comes from Mad Men’s mid-season finale. Before I begin, let me clarify that, among many other things, the show is all about being able to change. The characters that don’t change, either die off or just become irrelevant, and at the end of the middle of the seventh season of Mad Men, one Roger Sterling is close to his death, so to speak.
One of the last conversations he has with the only father figure he has left, Bert Cooper, leaves him feeling criticized. Bert tells him that he is not a leader. Another charismatic partner is leading the ad agency down a path that both Bert and Roger disagree with, but because Roger lacks leadership, he can’t change it. Bert dies later that episode.
And then Roger finally wakes up out of his coma, cuts a deal to merge McCann Erickson, the agency that during the third season of those show they’d be caught dead merging with. This move keeps the company moving in the direction that he wants to, and it’s so lucrative that even the most cynical in the group go with it. Roger becomes a leader. And it takes a good punch from Bert to do it. He changes and he saves the company, and his friend Don. We’ll see if this ends up being a good leadership move in the rest of the season, but Roger changed.
Leaders need vision. Roger finally got some. And so as leaders in the church or anywhere, we need to develop a vision to lead our people, sometimes it’ll take a kick in the pants like Roger needed. And other times, it’ll need to be a vision to do something. Jesus had the vision—and he gave it to us in the Great Commission. I’m convinced that we aren’t following that explicit vision, which the rest of the New Testament writers exemplify, we are missing the train.
Paige Jennings becomes a Christian
My favorite character on TV right now is Paige Jennings. She’s the daughter of Soviet spies in the U.S. Her parents are militant athiests and they disapprove of her venturing off with the church to which she’s been connected.
Interestingly enough, Elizabeth and Phillip agree that it’s OK for her to go to a nuke protest with her pastor and youth group. They think it’s a noble cause, not surprisingly. Anyway, she gets back and she tells them the story of her pastor getting arrested. Apparently, it’s because of the civil disobedience he engaged in when he chained himself to the fence which led the way into the military base.
He parents are trying not to blow their cover when she explains to them what cane was doing. "We know what civil disobedience is,” they utter. (They also think it’s BS, since their way of causing change is to be as violent as they are.)
[googleapps domain="docs" dir="file/d/0BzA077U4k3KBa1dFUFp4MXNwUTA/preview" query="" width="640" height="385" /]
Paige tells them they wouldn’t understand and exclaims that her faith isn’t just about the Bible, it’s about Jesus and what he represents. She actually says its about the sacrifice he made! “This is the whole point of the church.” Whoa! I was so excited, I nearly jumped out of my seat.
Someone writing for this show is getting some of the ideas about the church right, and I’m thankful. Now Paige will face the decision of following her parents’ down the road to Soviet espionage or continue on her path to follow Jesus. The show is tense, and I hope she makes the right choice.
Say what you will about the motivation I got from Roger Sterling to be a good leader, but Paige explicitly helped my faith. And for that I am motivated! It’s almost like God meant her to impact me.
Keep your eyes open, God may speak to you in a lot of different ways, even when you’ve opened a big of chips on your couch and your catching up on your favorite TV shows. Have you seen Jesus on TV lately?