Folks, we are in a dark place. Exactly how dark came home to me the other night as I sat down to find something to watch on Netflix. Among the thousands of shows they have on offer is a category called “Netflix Originals” which has been getting a lot of attention for its creativity and success. I’d already watched some episodes of several of them, and as I scrolled through now, I realized that most of them were either murder mysteries or sci-fi heroes fighting evildoers. The crimes we are watching are no ordinary felonies, they are horrific rapes, tortures, dismemberments, cannibalism….you name it, some writer has come up with a script for our amusement. We are offered deranged cult leaders, serial killers, pedophiles, drooling sadists or megalomaniacs wielding apocalyptic weapons of mass destruction, and the murders are the most gruesome, disgusting, horrifying deaths any demented scriptwriter could ever conceive, with the camera often lingering over mangled corpses, caressing them like a lover for our viewing pleasure.
We have become a nation of ghouls.
Never mind worrying about our kids–this is what we’re feeding ourselves a steady diet of night after night. No wonder people are jumpy, paranoid and mistrustful!
It’s not that some of these shows aren’t well written, it’s not that they don’t raise interesting moral questions or illustrate important aspects of our humanity–they often do. But, I’m telling you, friends, get away from it! Living with these stories day-in, day-out is making us kind of crazy. It’s a subtle way for the Dark Side to slip into our very beings and turn us all against each other.
There is one show that consistently takes us along the higher road: Call the Midwife. In this British import we find a paean to the Sacrament of Birth and its extension, childrearing. In 1950s London the midwives are the heroines, along with the nuns who in their generous, open-hearted spirits remind us why becoming a bride of Christ has been so appealing for so many through the years. It’s all about compassion, something we all have to offer no matter what our place is in the world. Perhaps the show is a bit saccharine at times, but a taste of sugar feeds the Spirit a lot better than a mouthful of gore.
So get out of that pool of blood you’ve been wallowing in and get back to normal! You don’t have to become a Catholic nun, just look around for the sacred in life. Go play with your children or your grandchildren. Celebrate life every day.