I happened to come across the new ‘reality’ series “God or the Girl” on the A&E Network today and watched a brief portion. I had seen some advanced discussion about the series, including in-depth interviews with the young men featured in the program, each of whom ostensibly facing the dilemma of choosing the Catholic priesthood or life with their girlfriends, which would be an automatic disqualifier against the priesthood.
The portion of the program that I saw was I would presume quite indicative of the series at large. The young men appeared quite earnest in their desire to conform to the presets of the priesthood as practiced in Roman Catholiscm with a particular emphasis on the rules requiring celibacy. It is here where the series focuses much on the anguish of the young men as they face the realities of girlfriends who (understandably) want to have the young men’s primary attention. As is common regarding much in today’s television and the culture at large, there are numerous scenes focusing on today's “skin” culture, replete with images of scantily clad females and comments regarding either the desire “to look…and be happy” as stated by a brother of one of the aspiring priests, which is countered by the young man who retorts “yeah…but you don’t have to gawk”. This I find to be a very realistic exchange in today’s society particularly where one of the individuals at the very least has a pull on him to try and live by God’s commands. When such a temptation and dialogue comes up in your presence, it will do well to remember this scripture: Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly. Their teaching will spread like gangrene. (2 Timothy 2: 15-17 NIV)
A trip to the World Youth Day Catholic festivities in Germany in 2005 reveals the young aspiring priest evidently focusing much on his desire to see an old girlfriend, as well as the near visual worship of the Pope as his motorcade drives by on a crowd-lined street.
Here I will add that the premise of this program which focuses on the need to choose between serving God as a priest versus life with a wife is unsupported by a general reading of the Bible. It is one of many doctrinal issues that separate Catholics from their Protestant brothers (of which I am one), so I feel compelled to make this very important distinction to the readers of this blog. I find it very unfortunate to the extent that it is the central "problem" facing these young men. In the very beginning of the Bible, God layed out His foundation for men when He created Eve to be Adam's "wife": Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. The man said, "This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called `woman,' for she was taken out of man." For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh. (Genesis 2:22-24 NIV). I will state that the apostle Paul did make a point that the single life is preferrable in relation to serving God without the distractions of a family life: I would like you to be free from concern. An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord's affairs--how he can please the Lord. But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world--how he can please his wife-- and his interests are divided. (1 Corinthians 7:32-34 NIV) However, it is never commanded as a pre-requisite for Biblical Leadership - see this passage of scripture where God gave Moses the following commandment as he called the first set of priests to serve His chosen people: Have Aaron your brother brought to you from among the Israelites, along with his sons Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar, so they may serve me as priests. (Exodus 28:1 NIV). Here Aaron father to four sons, was selected directly by God to serve as priest.
Any reader of my blog can figure out that I am automatically skeptical of any attempts by the modern media to present a fair view of Christianity. This program however in my opinion quite accurately captures the essence of what many young people in today’s society will face as they struggle to choose God and His ways while being subject to the devil and his ways (the allure of money, women, self gratification etc.) which dominate today’s culture. However, young Christian viewers beware, despite the earnest presentation of these young people trying to choose a holy path, that path must follow God’s focus captured solely in the following verses of scripture: In the beginning was the Word (Jesus Christ), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it…The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God--children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God. The Word (Jesus) became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1: 1-4 & 9-14 (parenthesis mine) NIV).
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