[[image:sixfeet.jpg::right:0]]Over the last few years of my life Ive begun to start looking at this world in a much different way. Its been the first time where I have been able to hold the truths of the world around me AND my spirituality in the same hand. Much of my life there has been a partition between what was my every day life full of real moments and this other vision of what a religious life should look like. Growing up I waited for this religious picture to clear up but after sixteen years or so, it never did. This is not to say that I deserved and clear picture or that there even IS a clear picture for any of us to truly see. But I was told that its out there. I should expect it. I should be seeing it. Where is it? I would be asking myself. I would hear language like chosen ones or elect and I was beginning to sense that they werent talking about me. Then there was this last straw of being in the junior high group at my church where they proceeded to show us a video called Hells Bells: The Dangers of Rock and Roll. If you havent seen this, you should. Its really funny. Imagine for the Daily Show fans out there, that the whole thing is just one long moment of Zen. It basically chronicled the evils of the whole music world ranging from Whitney Houston to Bruce Springsteen to XTC to Phil Collins and all the obviously satanic people like Twisted Sister, AC/DC
..you get the picture right? The most outrageous commentary was that Bruce Springsteens amazing song Im On Fire was about pedophilia because there was a line that read Hey little girl, is your daddy home? I mean, I was in junior high, still drinking a fair amount of the conservative Baptist flavored Kool-Aid and even I knew that it was all total bullshit. It felt wrong. Something inside me said, Thats just not right. Whats the point of all this? I didnt know it at the time, but it really was a tipping point. On that day, my radar was switched on. I began to realize that this world just isnt black and white. We can no longer run from the black. Its here, now, a part of us whether we like it or not. Even with the MTV and local rock radio station turned off and the rated R movies unseen, it was still there, like its here today. We cant escape it. What was the need to point out the evil in a Whitney Houston song? The real evil would be how damn cheesy it is but not because of any deeper, theological reason. It all came from just assuming the worst of somebody. If a lyric could in any way be stretched to mean something that falls outside this narrow theological view of life, then that artist was evil and dangerous for me to be exposed to. This video fed an incredibly damaging idea to us that if someone has communicated evil, then they were not worthy of being appreciated in any way, shape or form. It’s so damaging because deep down, all of us know we communicate evil on a daily basis. So by the logic of this video, we are just alone, trying to figure life out without the help of others. It makes no sense. Later on, by the time I was Sixteen, I had officially taken down the partition between the real and fake compartments of my life. At the time I really didnt know what it meant to do so. It just had to be done. It wasnt easy or fun, but it was necessary.
Not until a few years ago did I start processing how to view the truth in the world around me. I was exposed to this idea that all truth is Gods truth. Anything we can identify as true was from God. If it was true, God was in it. No matter where it was found and no matter how small, this truth was of God. If it was found in an R rated movie or a rock song, it was still Gods truth. Now, I am no longer conflicted about taking ownership of truth outside of where it is to be expected. This isn’t to say that I have this accurate “truth” radar where I can discern all “real truth”. I just mean to say that I am open to seeing a possible truth God may be revealing to me in an unexpected place. Test everything and hold on to what is good. (where have I read that before?) And to respond to my friend John: Yes you can find truth in the Hells Bells video, but it’s still more funny than true.
One television show that Ive come to love dearly over the last few years is Six Feet Under. If you are not familiar with this show, I guess I could say that its not exactly a Focus on the Family favorite to show the kids after dinner. Its dirty, messy, heartbreaking, beautiful, dysfunctional, maddening, surreal, profane, spiritual and, best of all, full of both darkness and light. The show is based on a family that runs funeral home. It deals heavily with death and inevitably with the hardest questions one could ask about the human experience. The answers are never clear-cut or easy and thats the beauty of the show. It may not pass the Focus on the Family decency standard, but in my eyes, its the most spiritually deep show on television. It doesnt put on a fake smile like everything is ok and easy. It dives deep into issues that we are so afraid to look in the face. It reminds us that at any point, we can just keel over and die. It reminds us that everything is not what it seems. It reminds us that we are all complex, hurting people who are trying to find healing. This may sound really weird, but its moved me closer to an understanding of how God has created me. It honors life by exposing its fragility. It nudges its viewers to really deal with those issues that are eating away at a life peacefully lived. My favorite exchange of the whole series is when a woman has lost her husband and asks the funeral director, Why do people have to die? and he answers, To make life important.
The last episode of Six Feet Under airs Saturday night and it will be sad to see it go. Although I could watch it for many more seasons, it seems to be the right time for the story of this family to come to an end. So I guess this is my good-bye letter to this show. RIP. You will be missed. Continue reading