The Nativity Scandal


I haven’t heard a lot about The Nativity Story, at least not on the web nor on TV. Last week Family Life Today, a Campus Crusade sponsored radio broadcast, had a phone interview with the screenwriter Mike Rich (see an online interview at Good News Magazine), but otherwise, not much talk.

Then lo and behold, I discovered in my explorations that the 16-year-old star, the unmarried 16-year-old star, who played Mary is pregnant. Through my mind flashed the controversy in the Christian community over the movie End of the Spear because of lead actor, Chad Allen, the homosexual lead actor Chad Allen. Would similar calls for censure be forthcoming?

Apparently not. In an article entitled “Christians Urge Christ-like Response to Nativity Star’s Pregnancy” Catholics and Protestants alike counseled forbearance. Here’s a sample:

Richard Ross, co-founder of the national abstinence movement True Love Waits, responded similarly in a conversation with Baptist Press, advising Christians not to react to Castle-Hughes and her pregnancy in the way the world would expect them to react, because “to do so is to ignore the model Christ set for his followers.”

The Christ-like example, Ross noted, is marked by “gentleness and grace” and aims “to point those who stumble toward redemption, forgiveness, and a God of second chances.”

While I applaud the position, I can’t help but wonder where these people were during the Chad Allen brouhaha. Is it that the Christian community learned? Or that we have a double standard, or perhaps more accurately, a tier system of categorizing sin. Some should be responded to with gentleness and grace while others should be shunned and censored.

I’m not sure what troubles me more, the reaction to Chad Allen or the lack of consistency in reacting to sin.

I fear, as a community, Christians lose credibility because of this kind of incongruity.

I fear, some Christians have code words (homosexual, witchcraft, dragons) to which we react rather than thinking issues out.

I fear, the lack of a Nativity scandal today is as telling about us as the probable existence of a Nativity scandal was about those closed to God’s Incarnation at the end of the before-Christ era.

OK, I’m not really advocating a Nativity scandal. That last point was for hyperbolic effect.

I think we should name sin, declare it as the offense to God it is, celebrate our freedom from it because of the blood of Jesus Christ. But when we see particular sins in non-Christians?

This young movie star is not separated from the Father because she got pregnant out of wedlock. And renouncing premarital sex will not bring her into relationship with God. In other words, her problem is not the particular sin which is now obvious for all the world to see. Her problem is the same as mine, as every person born on this earth, except the baby she pretended to carry: it is the sin nature that bars God from the throne of our lives.

Lying or pre-marital sex or pride or hatred or gossip or envy or hypocrisy … these are the evidences, the inevitable evidences, of our rejection of God.

So, no, I’m not advocating a scandal. But I am grieving the evidence of sin—in the church as much as in this young actress.

Published in: on December 6, 2006 at 1:10 pm  Comments (6)  
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