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I just read an article on CNN by Kathryn Reklis, associate professor of theology and co-director of the comparative literature program at Fordham University, and a “doubtful and backslidden,” “previously homeschooled teenager raised in the heart of evangelical counterculture in the 1980s who is now a cultural historian of modern Protestant Christianity.” It is a critique of the popular TV show about Jesus entitled, The Chosen.
Basically, her criticism of the show is summed up by the comments of her students, which I found extremely telling:
But when I pressed her and other students on why they all felt the show wasn’t as good as other television they loved, it had little to do with production values or Christians making cheesy art. They all felt like the show wanted something from them. It is not like other shows don’t want to be liked, they said. But the best thing about great shows is that you can disagree about what they mean or debate their merits with others, or love and hate them at the same time. “I can tell this show really, really wants me to like it and it feels like there is something wrong with me if I don’t,” one of them summed up.
According to this way of thinking, classical Christianity can never produce great art because it “wants something from” us and it makes people “feel like there is something wrong with me if I don’t” like its message. Great art, according to this claim, always let’s ME remain on the throne. But something like The Chosen can’t be great art because it asks me to get off the throne and bow to Someone else.