In case you’ve missed the headlines this week, The Bachelorette wrapped up on Tuesday in a “shocking” two night finale.
It was a viewing extravaganza to say the least. And I, like much of America, was glued to my TV screen to watch the drama unfold.
This season has been fraught with scandals, particularly surrounding Christianity and chastity. And to say that the world has had a lot to say about it, would be an understatement.
The drama can be boiled down to this quick recap:
a) Hannah – “The Bachelorette” – is an outspoken Christian. She’s from the Bible Belt, an Alabama football fan, and very open with her sexuality. Her season of The Bachelorette can be summed up in this quote from halfway through the season: “You know what, Luke? I have had sex. And Jesus still loves me.”
b) This aforementioned, Luke, was the villain of the season. He is also an outspoken Christian. He was a womanizer in college, and decided to change his ways when he had an “encounter with God in the shower” and from then on, has been a “born-again-virgin” for the last four years. Throughout the show, he has been aggressive, — to the point of body-slamming another guy to the ground in a game, — and, in my opinion, has used his faith as a manipulation tool to win Hannah’s affection.
But what the media has really latched onto, was his final conversation before the infamous “Fantasy Suite” overnight dates. During the dinner conversation, he says, “Let’s talk about sex and how the marriage bed should be kept pure.” He continued, “Let’s say you have had sex with one or multiple of these guys, I would be wanting to go home.”
Hannah, took major offense, feeling “judged and shamed” for her actions, and then told him off, with her token, “Jesus still loves me” line, after revealing that she, quote, “F*%#ed in a windmill” — not once, but four different times. There’s a bit of a stand off between the two, there’s a literal storm raging outside with thunder and lightening, he asks to “pray over her before he leaves,” and she finally sends him home and flips him the bird as his limo drives away.
In the final episode where they bring all the contestants back on to recap the season, Luke is questioned in the hot seat for over an hour, where he says, he was there on a “rescue mission” for Hannah, and that it’s a “man’s job to guide a woman in a relationship.”
So now you’re up to speed. The entire viewing audience, as well as all the other men on the show — adamantly hated this guy. Openly. And, I can understand why — Luke was arrogant, prideful, instigative, and frankly – he gave Christianity a horrible, horrible, name.
But here’s my take:
This is reality TV, and they can edit you however they please. And at the end of the day, it’s all about ratings and viewership. And you know what made a darn good story? The “narsisstic, psychopath Christian misogynist” who was a born-again-virgin after God “spoke to him in the shower.”
So yeah, do I think that Luke has pride issues, and didn’t quite handle very well being a man of faith on a secular TV show, admittedly where sex is a huge storyline? Yeah, he’s guilty. But you know what? We all have flaws that, if put under a microscope on reality TV, producers could manipulate into any number of mental health diagnoses.
But here’s the thing. I think there’s a much, much bigger picture here that is being lost for all the minute details of this season that make headline-grabbing one-liners. And it’s the state of Christianity at large.
Hannah is being celebrated as this “new-age, feminist Christian” that is finally out of the “oppressive dark ages” of Christian thinking. She’s the face of “Woke Christianity” vs. Luke — from the “old,” misogynist, backwards-thinking, women-controlling Christianity. Hannah is the girl-power, sex-positive Christianity, that hangs out with the Jesus that smokes weed and looks like a hipster.
And that is really problematic.
Am I saying that Hannah is a “bad Christian?” Heavens no. Am I saying that Luke is a “good Christian?” Absolutely not.
Both Hannah, and Luke — along with myself and every, single person reading this article — have our areas of sin in our lives. And you know what? We are not to judge anyone else, because we’ve all got a big ol’ planks stickin’ out of our own eyeballs, for crying out loud.
But it causes concern when Hannah boldly proclaimed, “Regardless of anything that I’ve done, I can do whatever, I sin daily and Jesus still loves me…It’s all washed and if the Lord doesn’t judge me and it’s all forgiven, then no other man, woman, animal … anything can judge me.”
Because, yes — it is true that Jesus washes away our sins and has an unconditional love for us. But that doesn’t mean that we can embrace sin and knowingly and willfully continue on doing that which contradict’s God’s will.
She quoted the woman at the well in John 8:7, about Jesus declaring that the man with no sin cast the first stone. But what she left out, was that just three verses later, in 8:11, Jesus instructs the woman to “go and sin no more.”
That is the journey we are all instructed to embark upon in the Christian walk: being in the world but not of it. To die to ourselves, and to die to sin. And it’s hard, and we fall, and that’s why there’s grace. But to willfully run towards sin, instead of away from it — that’s taking advantage of His incredible gift of grace, and frankly – disregarding His command.
The bible is not a “pick and choose” buffet of morality. We cannot adhere to one thing wholeheartedly, but bypass the brussels sprouts, just because we don’t like the flavor.
That’s not how Christianity works. But that’s what this season of The Bachelorette has revealed as a glaringly problematic — and widely accepted trend — in our faith communities. I’m going to come right out and say it — people will be whole hearted believers, and live incredible, outspoken and holy lives, but when it comes to premarital sex, they want Jesus OUT of the bedroom.
Which, again — this is not coming from a place of judgement. Because Lord knows that I have so much stuff that I need work on in my own faith journey — hello, I was anorexic for 3 years and overtaken by spiritual warfare, so my past is far from clean.
But to make Hannah the poster child for this “woke Christianity” where premarital sex is celebrated and don’t you dare judge me for it — it makes me weary. Very weary.
Because at the end of the day, our relationship with Christ is not about what we can get out of it. It’s about what we can give. It’s the handing over of self to the One who gave it all on the Cross. There’s beauty in the surrender. There’s freedom. But there’s also struggle, and pain, and sacrifice.
So TLDR (Too Long, Didn’t Read) — I think that the nitty gritty drama of this season is overshadowing something far more problematic, and that is the widespread exultation of “Woke Christianity,” which — at the end of the day — is missing the entire point of our faith.
Don’t water down the Gospel just because the truth is uncomfortable and takes sacrifice and a hard look in the mirror.
“This is what the Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life.” Ez 37:5
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