Once upon a time, there was a little town that had a park where talented thespians from the local theater would perform plays for onlookers. They brought their own props and costumes and, to their credit, gave impressive performances there under the bright blue sky.
There was a respectable level of interest in the troupe from the beginning, but things really took off when they began to showcase a series of plays with a fantastical medieval theme; they titled the series “Game of Thrones.” The storyline was replete with action, intrigue and interpersonal drama — enough to keep audiences on the edge of their seats and coming back week after week.
To accurately reflect the unfolding narrative, it naturally became necessary for the actors to occasionally strip off their clothes, at times until they were completely naked. Then, because the storyline warranted it, they would simulate graphic violence, sex, and even violent sex — including rape — right there on stage.
They became famous — even celebrated — for this. When local prudes began to complain about the potentially deleterious effects of the show, the troupe pushed back. This was art, and you don’t spare your audience when artistic integrity is at stake. People need to see with their own eyes things like rape and sex and nudity to understand what they really are.
As you can imagine, the performances became a huge hit and the audiences grew. About this time a curious group started showing up: church people. Not just the folks who stumble in to services on Christmas and Easter. These were the weekly attenders, the regular tithers, the small group leaders — even the pastor.
“Keep playing on the swing set!” they would holler at their kids while staring forward, entranced by the scene in front of them. “We’ll come get you when we’re done!”
Fellow believers caught wind of this and were disturbed. Why in the world would a Christian watch a performance featuring naked people? And in public?
The Christian fans of the park performances shrugged them off. They liked the story, and it was just fiction anyway. Besides, it made them a lot more relatable to the unbelievers around the water cooler at work. They’d have a lot to talk about on Monday, and they didn’t want to miss out on what would certainly be some spirited discussions.
See, I’m just like everyone else, thought the theater-going believers, with a sense of pride.
And so they were.
Sex and Death by the Numbers
I haven’t seen “Game of Thrones” (and I don’t have HBO, so there’s that). But my question is: Why, with its level of graphic sex, nudity and violence would a Christian want to see it?
“But, wait,” you say. “If you haven’t seen it, what do you know?”
Here’s what I know: Sara David over at Broadly wrote an interesting piece in 2017 titled “Counting Every Instance of Rape, Death, and Nudity on ‘Game of Thrones” and here’s what she reported:
Number of onscreen rapes: 17
Number of instances of nudity: 144
Onscreen deaths: 865
This doesn’t even include data from the last two years.
Can someone please tell me why I would want to go to the park and watch the local theater troupe strip naked and pretend to have sex and/or commit rape within a couple feet of me? Is there really any justifiable reason?
Fixing My Thoughts
I’m sure there are dedicated fans out there who will come up with all kinds of arguments for why I’m being a judgy prude. Whatever. I can’t watch stuff like that and believe that Jesus could sit next to me and enjoy the show.
Maybe I’m weak, but that could be a good thing. Maybe I’m really literal with passages like: “[N]ow, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise” (Philippians 4:8, NLT).
You say, “We can apply this verse and point fingers at a bunch of ‘non-excellent’ things Christians do.” I agree.
But “Game of Thrones” is sure a great place to start.
Copyright 2019 Joshua Rogers. All rights reserved,