Why I Watch Downton Abby As A Christian

Why I Watch Downton Abby As A Christian
by Pastor Lee Hemen
01-06-14

Here is why I watch PBS Masterpiece Theater’s Downton Abby: It is not only well photographed, it is well written and safer than much of what is already on TV. It smacks of the biblical motifs we discover in King David’s often questionable life and the heartthrob we feel when we read the Song of Solomon. The biblical themes found within the series are striking. From the struggles of those who find true love that must overcome huge hurdles while remaining true to their core beliefs, to those who suffer from their cruel, cold calculations of others and themselves that come back to haunt them and affect their lives and those around them because of their foolishness.

Unlike much of what is on the air as “family” TV in our day and age, Downton is a whole lot safer for a Christian family to watch and discuss than shows like The Big Bang, Modern Family, Parenthood, Betrayal, or Mistresses! While it discusses such mature subjects as homosexuality, immorality, family, rebellion, betrayal, greed, and strife; it also portrays grace, morality, integrity, and how one reaps what they sow in life. And it does it without being crass or in your face as much of what is portrayed in movies and TV does today. It is classy in its photography and theme of how the society of that era was changing from an old world view of a strict social class structure to one of European modernism. While we as Americans and as devout evangelicals may not adhere to some of what is portrayed, it does teach tacit biblical themes. Now, do not get the notion it is for all ages because it is not. It is mature in its themes, just as is many of Shakespeare’s plays are and so it would not be suitable for those under preadolescence to watch.

Christians are to be in the world but not of the world; however there are some things that come along whereby we as mature believers can use them to instruct sound biblical doctrine. In a world where everything revolves around the great spiritual “me”, such shows as Downton Abby can be used to focus on how a life lived like that influences future generations. In our world today we have replaced the fiefdoms, servants, and social class structure with a ego-centric notion that everything is about us. Which, by the way, is what most of that era was about as well. Things do not change much except the get distilled into its purest sinful form of the individual first and God being left out. Also, be mindful that it is written by a modern day Brit and is influenced by their modern day notions of political socialistic European correctness.

There are those who are attracted to rebellion, thinking that in it they will find some kind of personal freedom. When a child of the King desires to appear or appease themselves at the sake of their life in Christ, they are not just being a rebel; they are in full-blown rebellion against the Lord! We live in a self-centered society whereby we think our prayers, our worship, and our churches are all about us. A “peel me another grape” kind of attitude.  We leave a church when we no longer get anything out of it. We judge fellow believers or leaders by what they do or not do for us! And we attend and give only when it is convenient to our lifestyle! Believe it or not, Downton Abby graphically displays how such lives lived this way are destructive and hurtful. In fact, it is not much different than reading the works of Charles Dickens and seeing how ungodliness hurts those around us and how integrity and principled beliefs stay the course no matter what others or the world dictates.

This article is copyrighted © 2014 by Lee Hemen and is the sole property of Lee Hemen, and may not be used unless you quote the entire article and have my permission.

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