Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Reality TV and Real Reality
The reality TV thing has really gotten out of hand. Just a partial list of current programs includes, The Amazing Race, American Idol, America's Got Talent, America's Next Top Model, The Apprentice, The Bachelor, Big Brother, The Biggest Loser, The Contender, Fear Factor, Last Comic Standing, Project Runway, The Real World, Rock Star, The Simple Life, So You Think You Can Dance, Starting Over, Survivor, and Treasure Hunters. There are others I can’t even name on a family-oriented blog. There are cooking reality shows and there are web sites devoted just to reality TV. At least a couple of these programs feature British critics who’ve apparently come to this country to say that none of us have any talent whatsoever.

I don’t watch them. When I want to see a reality show, I watch the Red Sox. I see enough reality every day and it’s not always pretty. But my penchant for steering clear of this type of television programming doesn’t mean that I am anti-reality.

Jesus Christ taught through a grid of reality. Especially when He was questioned, He responded with what we might call reality therapy.

In John 2:23, we read, “Now while he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many people saw the miraculous signs he was doing and believed in his name.” Jesus did perform miracles; Not for those who demanded it, but for those who would believe. And they did believe. They saw what Jesus did and they came to Him knowing that He was not just a sorcerer – but the Living God. But now comes the hard teaching.

The text goes on to say (in verses 24 and 25), “But Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all men. He did not need man's testimony about man, for he knew what was in a man. He did not entrust Himself to them!” That is not written about the hard-hearted Jews. It was written about the converted; believers. Jesus did not trust them! This is hard teaching. But it goes on to say that Jesus knew what was in a man. You see, the Christ believes in sin and its power - even over believers. He has a realistic, Biblical view of sinfulness. He knows that even the saved continue to be sinners. He knew then that even strong people like Peter could fail Him. Is there any question that Peter was a believer? Yet, he denied that he even knew Christ! What would it take for any of us to deny Christ? Are there any reasons we might turn on His people and His Church? These are tough questions for us all to ponder.

God alone is fully worthy of our total trust. He is the sovereign Lord of the universe. He alone is without sin and without malice in His heart. One cannot know the thrill of riding a bike until the training wheels are off. Are the training wheels still on your faith? Can you – do you – trust Him in everything? Or are you one of those experimental Christians who say they trust God until something tough comes up; then you lean back on the training wheels: the coping strategies of the world; your own strength and intelligence; your friends? We should all know better than to lean on such faulty, rusty, broken crutches. We need to continue to learn to trust Him. Easier said than done? Absolutely.

Take the training wheels off.