Monday, November 07, 2005

The Not-So-Amazing Race

Shari & I became hooked on The Amazing Race a couple of years ago... couples racing around the world, traveling, running, doing crazy stuff. So we were intrigued when they announced the Family edition this summer.

Unfortunately, the newest season hasn't been nearly as enjoyable as previous seasons... lots of the tasks seem pointless and there's a greater reliance on completely random elements to determine who wins a particular leg of the race. Sigh.

In addition, one of the families is very forward about their Christianity. Now, normally, I'd think that was a good thing - I'm kind of partial to people who love Jesus enough to talk about Him and live their life according to His principles - but the Weaver family? Double sigh. (In all fairness, you need to know that this family is made up of a mom & three teenage kids - Dad was killed in a racing accident a couple of years back.)

What follows are quotes from one of my favorite websites,
Television Without Pity. Let's listen to someone who isn't "inside the Christian bubble" and see how they perceive these Christians.

In maybe the creepiest off-the-mat talk ever, one of the girls explains, "We've been raised since we were born not to trust other people, but to trust your family and to trust God." Wow. Not to trust other people? I mean, I would have gotten it if she said they were raised not to worry about what other people think, but to have a girl that age saying she's been raised not to trust anyone outside the family is unhappy thing. It explains why they relate to other people in a manner reminiscent of the Coneheads, but it feels sad. Anyway, there is more talk about how they can't control other teams talking about them, and then the other daughter, I think, adds, "We're all Christians, and we're above that." Well, I can't argue with that. Jesus did speak extensively about the importance of crowing and placing oneself above others. I think that's what all the stuff about how you're more important than the birds of the air and the lilies of the field was about. It's like I finally understand the Book of Matthew...

Oh, and then Rachel prays, adding at the end, "And let us beat the other people if it's your will." My sense is that she wants to pray for God to make her win money, but some part of her is conscious of how cheap it sounds. She sort of wants to hedge her bets because maybe God and anyone watching might be offended by her asking for straight-up monetary gain at other people's expense, but she holds out hope that maybe God will make her win if she asks and won't make her win if she doesn't ask. Just in case it's an order-fulfillment system like getting books off Amazon, she doesn't want to miss her shot. So you get that (ironically) a**-covering prayer where we ask to win, but only if God wants us to win. Ick...

Back at the Yield, the Weavers are still b***ing. Mama explains that they're "responsible to a higher authority." (God: "[Looking around.] Me? Oh, don't bring me into this....")

The Yield sand runs out in the Weaver hourglass, so they are into the coffee bean Roadblock, where Tammy still has no bean. Boo! Rachel goes, starts into her pile of beans, and is ordered by her mother to begin praying. Gross. I'm sure they only want their bean if it's God's will. Boo, boo!...

My two cents: you can read this snark-y recap as an attack on Christianity & Christians - you know, "Look how persecuted we are." But I think you'd be missing the point.

We are our own worst enemy. When we casually toss God-language and God-behavior around without following it up with authentic Christ-lives, the stink causes people to recoil in horror. If we're supposed to "let our light shine before all men" (Matthew 5:16), then we could certainly do with a little more shining & a little less pointing at how nifty our light is.

And it's not just about the Weavers - as if them being eliminated from the race would somehow advance the cause of Christ. It's about each one of us - where are we "the ugly Christians"?

Look, I'm not talking about perfection. None of us, follower of Christ or not, can stand up to 24-7 scrutiny without breaking down. But there is a graciousness & contentment that bubbles up in people who've genuinely experienced the grace of God that echoes throughout their lives - both through the good behavior and the "I wish I could take that back" kind of stuff.

So, what's bubbling up out of you?

The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.

Luke 6:45 (NIV)


Anonymous said...

good post. well said.

Scott Rushing said...

I love that show also, but I haven't seen a single episode past the opener for this season. I'll pick it back up in the spring.

I'm sorry to hear about the Weaver family. Hopefully they will listen to themselves on television, and come to some realizations about the way they sound to others. Often times we have to stick our foot (feet?) in our mouth before we can hear ourselves and improve our conversational skills.

Nord said...

Two things:

1 - At face value I agree with the critics and the Weavers do make me cringe everytime they open their mouths.

2 - On the other hand and to be fair, the Weaver family may be the victims of selective / creative editing. Remember Collin a few seasons back. Reality television does not give us the whole story - just the story the producers wish to portray. Other Christian contestants in past seasons have been portrayed doing some of the same things the Weavers do. This may be coicidence or it may be evidence of the producers' perspective of Christians. My point in all of this is to say - we don't know all the facts and we might look just a silly if we were placed in the Weavers' shoes.

Mark (aka pastor guy) said...

Jeremy, you may well be right. But until this last week, they weren't showing much of the Weavers that I wouldn't have layed off to stress & some overly works-based teaching in their home church. This last week, though, yikes. (I didn't even try & quote the recapped section of the Weaver's dissing the other teams based on their looks.)

Look, I'm not trying to bash the Weavers. I don't want anyone following me around with a camera crew, ever. My control of my tongue is just not that good.

Anonymous said...

The Weavers disgust me. They portray a very bad perception of Christians. They are hypocrits.

Scott Rushing said...

To be fair to the Amazing Race, I have seen some other Christian participants who were portrayed in a positive light. I'm thinking specifically of Chip and Kim a few seasons back...they were sunny, positive people, and gave thanks to the Lord without making it sound like they were in anyone's face.

As for Colin, that wasn't as much of an editing issue as it was the fact that he cracked under the "pressure" of the race.