mardi, avril 18, 2006

How about God AND the Girl?

Maybe its because I didn't have one date in three years at Princeton Seminary that I rolled my eyes when I noticed the premiere of a new reality show called "God or the Girl." Actually, this show is about the spiritual and emotional travails of four young men who are trying to decide whether or not to become Catholic priests. By the end of my time in graduate school, and for years afterwards, I was convinced that my clergy collar had the same effect on men as a silver cross is supposed to have on a vampire. If I had been the writer for a show on such a topic, I would have entitled it: "Why not the Girl, for Pete's sake?" But seriously, folks.Can we be optimistic about the product of a conversation in which three Jewish guys, vying with one another for the "craziest thing we could come up with," (as one of them told the National Catholic Register) decide to make a show about someone trying to figure out whether or not to go into the priesthood. It is reassuring to know that in addition to buying (I kid you not) 20 copies of Catholicism for Dummies, Darryl Silver and his colleagues also consulted many men already vowed to the celibate life.

Far, far be it from me to impugn the concept of a series that apparently pleased, or so says Silver, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops when they saw it screened. Could it be that some of them even wished that they had been given a chance, as a young man, to participate in such a show?

I must admit that "God or the Girl" did give me pause. Are decisions about religious vocation now seen as entertaining competition, kind of like a good Nascar race or the just-ended edition of college basketball's March Madness? What if these young men are expecting God to speak and He decides He's not going to show up on command? What, on the other hand, if He does and they don't like what they hear?

After giving the possible societal repercussions of "God or the Girl" serious thought for about five minutes, I decided that it probably didn't portend the end of religion in America. Maybe someone flipping the channels on a dull Sunday night will actually be inspired to think seriously about what it means to be countercultural in a trend-driven society. Possibly some watchers will admire the seriousness with which these young men make their decisions. Maybe the camerawork and location shots will be so enticing even indifferent viewers will stay tuned for all five weeks.

As an Episcopal woman in a Protestant seminary, the National Conference of Catholic Bishops could have used me as a vocational recruiter. After all, no sooner did a young, healthy Presbyterian show up anywhere near me, but he mysteriously turned into a monk. Just think what I could have done for the ecumenical movement, had they only known.

1 commentaire:

Catherine + a dit…

I did watch this "show" and found it very "interesting"? The girl won everytime, by proxy in some cases but how interesting. I have the same effect on anyone actually when wearing a collar or cross. In some ways its a relief...good writing once again, Elizabeth.