Back to the Border Watch after a colleague submitted an article while I was busy last week.
This week’s article starts in reality TV and ends up with the Holy Spirit.
It also makes use of a thought attributed to Simone Weil from this review by Peter Adam as one of its turning points.
The paper chose to title this one ‘Reality Different From Television’.
When it comes to reality competitive television shows I prefer the cooking ones to the renovation ones. Not that I actually cook any of the recipes; but I do like food more than bathrooms and bedrooms. Why would anyone put a dozen cushions on their bed anyway?
Regardless of the type of show, any format that features a competitive element with a winner at the end will have good guys and bad guys. With each new series, as competitors are introduced, we wait to see who it is that we’re not going to like.
You have to be patient. They don’t emerge wearing a black hat, twirling a long moustache and laughing in sinister fashion. More likely they’ll be uttering passive-aggressive criticism, or even aggressive-aggressive criticism. They’ll talk everyone else down, while making all the same errors and demonstrating a lack of skills themselves. The longer they stay in the competition the more our desire to see them ejected increases. They are the villains.
We know we’re being manipulated through the selective editing of hours and hours of purposefully created recordings, but we still emotionally invest in a storyline where we want to see our favourites come out on top. It’s an element of all drama. The villains create the tension and maintain our interest.
Oddly enough real life is the opposite of entertainment.
I recently read a comment attributed to Simone Weil “that in fiction evil people are interesting, and good people are boring, whereas in real life, good people are interesting and evil people are boring.”
In a culture that increasingly blurs the lines between real life and entertainment this distinction is very helpful and needs to be remembered.
Navigating the incredible complexity of each of our own lives is best done in the company of those who have faced their own adversities and inner demons and made their way forward with integrity. We draw wisdom, strength and direction from their example and presence.
The disciples had found this to be true of the three years or so they had spent with Jesus. They had learned much, but more than that, they had grown simply by following him. They feared for what their lives would be when he was gone.
Meeting their fears and concerns, Jesus told his followers that they would have another companion, the Holy Spirit. All of Jesus’ people would know the presence of this one who brings comfort, encouragement, counsel, and is our advocate before the Father. The work of the Holy Spirit is just like having Jesus personally present with each Christian, all the time.
The presence of the Holy Spirit is not the splashy loud exuberance that we experience in dramatic entertainment. In the tradition of the Christian church the adjective most associated with his work is ‘quiet’. But if you desire the steady presence and support needed to sustain you through the challenges of your lifetime he’s the only companion who’ll see you all the way home.