I'm watching Trading Spouses with my sons (a Fox show featuring two women who exchange homes for a week in order to bless each other's families with their presence and $50,000). In this episode, a winsome Massachusetts New Age Mom is empowering an oppressed Southern Christian teen to "be herself." Meanwhile, a harsh Christian Mom is judging and rejecting her host family in the name of Jesus. She's ranting against evil, swearing and screaming without any self-restraint, completely lacking in humility, gentleness, and grace.
"Mom, this is making Christians look bad," my son observes five minutes into the show.
"Do you think this woman is acting like a Christian?" I ask.
"I don't know. She's whacked."
It's ugly. But my heart aches when the New Age mom admits that she hypnotized the Christian Mom's youngest daughter. I'd freak out, too.
The New Age Dad: "Margaret wants to enlighten me, but she doesn't want to learn anything from me. She's not going to change." Why can't she learn one new thing from them? Just one? It doesn't have to be anything spiritual.
This Christian Mom is trying to share the good news of Jesus but her means are annihilating her ends. Of course, the show is making her look extra bad, playing scary horror movie music when she's on. Meanwhile, when the hypnotherapy-astrology-mandala woman appears, sweet, peaceful music plays in the background.
"I brought an ungodly person into my house," the Christian woman rages.
"Isn't that what Jesus told us to do?" I ask the boys.
The show is now spiraling out of control, ending with the Christian woman kicking everybody who doesn't believe in Jesus out of her house and refusing to accept the "tainted" 50,000. (A note at the end tells us that she changed her mind and accepted the money -- of course.)
"I'm sad that people watching think that Jesus might be like this woman," I tell the boys, grateful once again that we're journeying together into the confusing world of pop culture. Through the warped, negative example of a broken woman professing faith in Jesus, we've realized again that we must live graciously with people who don't believe as we do -- and that love and truth are inseparable.