GiJiM Guest Writer: Jeremy
Binge watching “House of Cards”
I should sign up for a support group, I’m binge watching “House of Cards” on Netflix. I feel guilty—but not guilty enough to correct my bad behavior. Sins of omission are easily committed and even more easily forgotten. Here’s how I slide down the slippery slope into “sort of” sinning.
I rarely click “next episode” button. The next episode just “happened” to start. The ending credits for the last episode and the 10-second countdown for the automatic start to the next episode appear simultaneously. I have a choice.
Do nothing…and bypass the credits. The credits are a barely bearable and at best boring memorial to the cast and crew; or rather, a collection of people I don’t know doing jobs I don’t know…What is a “key grip” anyway?!
Or do something… the remote is often out of sight and almost always out of reach. To paraphrase Sir Isaac Newton, “A couch potato at rest tends to stay at rest.” Who am I to break his 1st law of motion?!
30 hours of my life
Netflix committed the theft of 30 hours of my life. I just omitted to stop the theft from occurring.
On one hand, shows like “House of Cards” prey upon our insatiable appetite for scandal— we find the shallow material, and immoral irresistible and entertaining. On the other hand, shallow and materialistic realities when awkwardly and painfully connected, cleaved, and reconnected to our rational and moral ideals yield meaning. We sit down seeking entertainment and are strangely surprised to find enlightenment and enrichment.
The plot, carefully revealed through creative screenplay and insightful dialogue strikes the source of our nature and the summit of our being. The painful, exhilarating, process of separating experiences essential to our existence from experiences essential to our entertainment lead me to one meaningful conclusion—our natures, as nations, governments, societies, or individuals, are as barbaric as they are beautiful. This conversation, taken from the series will explain what I mean.
House of Cards – Season 3, Episode 4
In Chapter 30 (Season 3, Episode 4) approximately 40 mins. Francis Underwood (Kevin Spacey), the President of the United States, meets with Bishop Eddis (John Doman).
Dialogue between the bishop (B) and the president (P)
B: “What’s on your mind Mr. President?”
P: “During the burial the other day, you talked about Abraham and Isaac. God giving up his only Son.”
B: “Between you and me, that’s the same sermon I always use at Arlington. You put enough Soldiers in the ground, you get tired of writing new ones.”
P: “It was the first time I had heard it.”
B: “-Won’t be the last.”
Justice, the Ten Commandments & Jesus
P: “I want to understand what justice is.”
B: “That’s a big one.”
P: “I know.”
B: “There’s our justice-the kind men create. We base it on things like the Ten Commandments, but those can be read a million different ways.”
P: “Thou shalt not kill’ seems pretty clear.”
B: “Who’s to say? If we didn’t kill, others would kill instead of us. There’s a lot of killing in the Bible. King David was a warrior.”
P: “How do you reconcile that with the laws that God gave Moses?”
B: “Even those laws require interpretation. There are two laws we have to remember above all else. (pointing to Jesus on the Cross) He tells us to love God and to love each other.”
P: “You can’t love the people you kill.”
B: “You sure as “h#@!” can. And you have to love the people who are trying to kill you. Jesus loved the Romans. ‘Father forgive them,’ he said, ‘for they know not what they do.’”
P: “Yeah, but why didn’t He fight? Why did He allow Himself to be sacrificed?”
B: “I ask myself that question a lot.”
P: “I understand the Old Testament God, whose power is absolute, who rules through fear, but…Him (Jesus).”
Love God. Love each other.
B: “There’s no such thing as absolute power for us…except on the receiving end. Using fear will get you nowhere. It’s not your job to determine what’s just. It’s not your place to choose the version of God you like best. It’s not your duty to serve this country alone, and it better not be your goal to simply serve yourself. You serve the Lord. And through Him, you serve others. Two rules: Love God. Love each other. Period. You weren’t chosen Mr. President, only He (Jesus) was.”
P: “May I have a few moment alone to pray?”
B: “Take as much time as you like Mr. President”.
Bishop leaves. The president walks up to the crucifix.
P: “Love? Is that what you’re selling? Well I don’t buy it.” He spits on the crucifix -in the face of Jesus.” He attempts to wipe it off and the whole statue falls off the cross, crashes to the floor, and shatters.
The president picks up the porcelain shard of Jesus’ ear.
P: “Well, I’ve got your ear now.”
End. 44min 54 sec.
I came to realize how often I’m the president
This scene hit me hard. My heart leapt, when the bishop distilled the president’s seemingly infinite number of problems, responsibilities, and rules down to Jesus’ two tasks—love God and love your neighbor. My blood boiled to witness the president acting so sacrilegiously. It hit me even harder when I came to realize how often I’m the president.
I rarely commit an attack on Jesus—that may be true.
I frequently omit to defend Jesus—that is certainly true.
10,9,8,7…Will I omit to stop it?…6,5,4,…Will I make the difficult yet memorable choice or the easy and forgettable one…3,2,1.
Jeremy is a Christian, a follower of Jesus Christ. He is a religious education teacher at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church. Jeremy is happily married to Rachael, and they are the proud parents of two teenagers
Note from Deb…
I’d like to thank Jeremy for sharing his journey of faith with us and bringing his unique flavor to GiJiM only Christian magazine. This scene hit home for Jeremy. It made him realize that there were times he was the president. The truth is, we all fall short of God’s glory, we are imperfect human beings. The only perfect ONE was, is and will always be Jesus. Thank You Father God for Your love, grace and mercy!
“Teacher, which is the greater commandment in the Law? Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:36-40 NIV
“For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins.” Romans 3:23-24 NLT
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