I am often disappointed in the way Christians are portrayed on television. A show that I watched recently had two characters who claimed to be Christians. One of the main characters, an avowed Christian, is romantically and sexually involved with a man whose wife is languishing in a coma. He’s keeping her alive for financial reasons. She’s okay with that. The new character introduced in the episode I watched, another avowed Christian, was glibly irresponsible, got drunk, and had sex with one of the main characters.

I like who-done-it type shows like CSI and Criminal Minds. Whenever a character is introduced who appears to be or claims to be a Christian I find myself hoping they won’t turn out to be the murderer. Too often they are.

I can’t say I blame Hollywood for treating “Christian” characters as not particularly different from any other character. After all, a lot of people out there call themselves Christians, even if they aren’t. Anyone can call himself a Christian. Anyone can go to church. It’s embracing the teachings of Christ, practicing them, that makes someone truly a Christian.

Now, you and I might differ in our opinions as to how that looks. Good, faithful Christians can certainly have differing opinions about the best way to live out faith. We have differing political views, support different causes, and hotly debate a lot of social issues. But, there will be some tell-tale signs. They’ll be honest. They’ll be faithful. They’ll be loving. They won’t be perfect, but they’ll be clearly doing their best to live what they say they believe.

One of my guilty pleasures is Survivor. I have to admit, though, that I often cringe when a player identifies himself or herself as a Christian. I’ve watched contestant after contestant spout Scripture and pray, then turn around and lie, cheat, and even steal. This season there’s a very sweet young man who has played well with integrity so far. I’m hopeful that he’ll turn out to be exactly what he appears to be—a Christian young man and not a “Christian” young man.


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