Culture bites is an inaugural regular feature at Cross Culture where we examine current events, their cultural significance, and suggest a response for Christians. Feel free to give your own feedback in the comments, and discuss how Christians might analyze these events from a biblical worldview.
Pope Not “Going Down a Rabbit Hole” with Sex Abuse Scandal
As people of faith across the country know, the reports of rampant sexual abuse by priests in Pennsylvania has done serious harm to the Catholic Church, with evidence now surfacing that Pope Francis himself likely knew about the abuse and actively covered it up. How strange, then, that a Catholic official said the Pope “isn’t going to go down a rabbit hole on this.” Those were the words of Cardinal Blase Cupich, who emphasized that the Pope wants to pursue his own agenda:
“He’s got to get on with other things, of talking about the environment and protecting migrants and carrying on the work of the church. We’re not going to go down a rabbit hole on this.”
The implications of this statement are that Catholic leadership has a set of priorities that does not include, or at least does not prioritize highly enough, the protection of its parishioners. It’s a bit strange for a Protestant to be telling a Catholic how to respond to the latter’s church’s scandal. But I will point tothe Scripture we share, when Paul tells Timothy in 1 Timothy 3 that church leadership must be above reporach. Catholic leadership clearly is not, and lay Catholics ought to demand new leadership, as some have. Political commentator and Catholic Matt Walsh, for example, has said he believes the allegations against Pope Francis to be credible, and has called for him to step down from his position because of a moral inability to lead. As a Catholic friend of mine recently said, “Jesus is not the pope, nor the pope Jesus.”
HBO Removing Pornography from its Service
Following the trend of hotel chains in recent years, HBO is removing clearly pornographic material from their service. The reason for this move? Well, don’t get your hopes up. It’s because, according to a spokesperson, there just isn’t a demand for it:
“Over the past several years HBO has been winding down its late-night adult fare. While we’re greatly ramping up our other original program offerings, there hasn’t been a strong demand for this kind of adult programming, perhaps because it’s easily available elsewhere.”
While technically a positive action, it hardly signals a change of heart. The unspoken implication is that porn addicts are getting their fix from the internet, not cable television. Simultaneously, there is no indication the channel will be reducing the amount of graphic sexual content on shows like Game of Thrones or Westworld. If anything, this simply shows us that sex sells, and providers respond to market pressures. Our opposition to a pornographic culture ought to cintinue, but this is unfortunately not the sign of a turning tide.
Geoffrey Owens Proud of Working at Trader Joe’s
In a cultural moment that ought to put its propagators to shame, Geoffrey Owens, an actor formerly known for his recurring role as Elvin on The Cosby Show was spotted working at Trader Joe’s. Initially reported by a tabloid and then picked up by larger outlets, the story portrayed an “unhappy” Geoffrey Owens in a tone intended to shame the supposedly disgraced actor. The tide turned against that tone, however, and sparked backlash from many readers. In a new interview, Owens addressed his view on work and its value in light of this response.
“I hope what continues to resonate is the idea that one job is not better than another. That a certain job might pay more, might have better benefits, it might look better on paper, but that, essentially, one kind of work is not better (or) superior than another kind of work, and that we reevaluate that whole idea, and we start just honoring the dignity of work and respecting the dignity of the working person.”
In a neat twist to the story, this exposure lead to Owens accepting a role on a television show from Tyler Perry, who expressed appreciation for Owens’ willingness to work.
#GeoffreyOwens I’m about to start shootings OWN’s number one drama next week! Come join us!!! I have so much respect for people who hustle between gigs. The measure of a true artist.
— Tyler Perry (@tylerperry) September 4, 2018