Private Practice and Total Depravity

A television show or film does not need to be redemptive in order for it to be good or enjoyable. Furthermore, I would contend that if a show or film is to quickly or easily redeemed, it will not appeal to the masses.

You can call it a guilty pleasure, but I enjoy Private Practice on ABC. Now, I’m not religious about watching it, but I appreciate that most episodes are not redemptive.  In other words, everything isn’t always peaches and cream when the credits roll.  (By the way, Carly introduced me to the show, because it’s a spin-off of Grey’s Anatomy, one of her favorite series.)

Paul Adelstein plays Dr. Cooper Freedman, the pediatrician. He’s a straight shooter and a bold guy, but he has more issues than Rolling Stone. He wears his emotions on his sleeve. He’s angry and proud. He’s impulsive.  He had childhood troubles.  He can’t hold a steady relationship.  He’s broke: he couldn’t afford to pay $50,000 to be a partner in the practice, even on a doctor’s salary because, as he said, “I like porn too much.”

That’s not what you see when you take your kid to the doctor for his sore throat. If you knew that your child’s doctor was that screwed up, would you still take him? Something to think about.

Some people might think that their doctor is a model citizen, a good family man whose relationships, emotions, and finances are in order.  Cooper Freedman, and the other characters of Private Practice tell us otherwise.

What does Private Practice and every other television show depict? It depicts a particular reality. The producers and directors know that humanity as a whole has problems. Reality tells us that there are relational, social, sexual, financial, emotional, and professional problems in our lives and in the lives around us.

These problems are caused by sin. Our sin. Even if Hollywood doesn’t use that word, I will. These problems need a solution. These people need to be redeemed.  These sins need to be forgiven.

To be continued.

Abortion and Artemis: The Damning Desire of Lust for Wealth

FoxNews reports that a Planned Parenthood worker in Texas quit after seeing an ultrasound of a baby being aborted.  Here’s a snippet:

Abby Johnson, 29, used to escort women from their cars to the clinic in the eight years she volunteered and worked for Planned Parenthood in Bryan, Texas. But she says she knew it was time to leave after she watched a fetus “crumple” as it was vacuumed out of a patient’s uterus in September.

The most intriguing part of this article was when Johnson described the driving force behind the clinic’s abortions:

“Every meeting that we had was, ‘We don’t have enough money, we don’t have enough money — we’ve got to keep these abortions coming’…It’s a very lucrative business and that’s why they want to increase numbers.”

Immediately, Acts 19:21-41 came to my mind.  Paul had been preaching the gospel in Ephesus, and he was preaching against the goddess Artemis, the Greek deity of hunting and fertility, who later became associated with wealth and prosperity.

Some Ephesians were angry at Paul, who “persuaded and turned away a great many people, saying that gods made with hands are not god” (v. 26).  What was the driving force of their anger at Paul and zeal for this goddess?  Verses 24-25 tell us the answer:

For a man named Demetrius, a silversmith, who made silver shrines of Artemis, brought no little business to the craftsmen.  These he gathered together, with the workmen in similar trades, and said, “Men, you know that from this business we have our wealth.”

Just like the Ephesian silversmiths, the Planned Parenthood workers acquired their wealth from a god (i.e. abortion) they made with their own hands.  In a word, they were greedy. Greed and abortion, like Artemis, are idols.  And when the idol of greed is threatened, the result is either repentance  toward Jesus or rage, chaos, hatred, and only more idolatry and greed.

The lust for wealth is a damning desire.  Truly “those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction” (1 Tim. 6:9).

What if Jesus Was an Academic?

From psychiatrist James T. Fisher, in A Few Buttons Missing, defending the mental stability and power of Jesus:

If you were to take the sum total of all authoritative articles ever written by the most qualified of psychologists and psychiatrists on the subject of mental hygiene — if you were to combine them and refine them, and cleave out the excess verbiage — if you were to take the whole of the meat and none of the parsley, and if you were to have these unadulterated bits of pure scientific knowledge concisely expressed by the most capable of living poets, you would have an awkward and incomplete summation of the Sermon on the Mount.