Tuesday, January 17, 2017

CBC Drama "Pure": Gift or irritant?

I watched the first episode of CBC's new mini series entitled "Pure."

Understandably the various expressions of Anabaptist/Mennonite faith will feel misrepresented. The depiction lumps them all together like a typical potluck plateful of various foods.

As anticipated there is discomfort when particular shortcomings of the 'quiet in the land' is given national profile. We like to be known for our humble service not our humiliating deviations.

The spotlight is not a comfortable place for Mennonites. But it feels better resisting praise than it does refusing blame.

I don't know of any Mennonite who would feel comfortable being called "pure". But neither do we like faults being publicly flaunted.

However, this time of discomfort might offer a gift of self reflection. I think our discomfort mirrors a common Protestant aversion to facing shortcomings. To acknowledge the need of a Saviour is not problematic. But to describe the areas of personal struggle is.  When the confessional booth was discarded, our admission of sin was driven into private, unnamed remorse. Forgiveness then has also become a private struggle of acceptance.

We feel most comfortable looking like we have it all together and avoid portraying our frayed and frazzled selves.

I wonder how our God of grace views either the hesitation of admitting guilt or the fixation of holding onto guilt. Grace has never been an easy thing to accept.

The attention could provide the watching world with a refreshing display of self comfort. A faith community that is confident in Gods grace is able to smile at its own short comings. A faith community rich in experiencing grace is able to more easily extend grace to members of its own extended family without a nervous need to distinguish itself from bad behaviour. Such a comfort with who we are could be a refreshing contrast to the marketing culture dependent on having individuals feel bad about themselves.

This might be a gift to us as Mennonite communities. And we have the next few weeks to accept and use this gift wisely.


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