What Have We Become?

After finishing “Stranger Things Season 2,” which was fun, family friendly, and just plain great writing, my husband and I were looking for a new series to watch on Netflix. Gotta love December, when the days are short and the evenings are long.

There has to be something good with all these new shows, we figured. So we gave Amazon’s “Mr. Robot” a try. I enjoyed it until the third episode had a scene that was so disgusting I couldn’t turn it off fast enough. And there it was. I couldn’t “unsee” what I had seen. The image was seared in my brain.

Next.

This time we triedUntitled design (8) “MindHunter” on Netflix. Within the first ten minutes, a man stripped naked and blew his own head off with a shotgun. I squirmed in my seat as the image of the blown off head stuck like chewing gum in my mind. Why is it when we see something gross and disturbing we can’t stop thinking about it?

I tried to keep watching and had to fast forward during a sex scene, which twenty years ago, would have been called porn. It doesn’t shock us anymore, we see it everywhere. The last straw was toward the end when the FBI agents and a cop were describing a crime scene. It was more than just dead bodies—it was sexualized. It was vile. It was over the top.

My older daughter watches “Game of Thrones” with her friends. We don’t have HBO, so I checked it out on IMDb. Here is what the parent guide said:

Nudity and brief sex acts are frequent throughout the entire series. Scenes of topless women, bare buttocks are regular occurrences in almost every episode throughout the entire series. Male and female full frontal nudity while not as common as topless women occurs often. Examples include: implied oral sex, numerous sex scenes within brothels, sex involving multiple people, prostitutes’ bare breasts, people fighting over sex, and people bathing naked.

Awesome.

Sounds like a great thing for my teenager to be watching. Like the rating TV-MA means anything at all. We’ll produce a show that contains porn, slap a TV-MA rating on it, and call ourselves socially responsible. It’s bull! And we all know it.

I can almost hear Satan laughing about some of these shows as if to say, They don’t even know this is from me. They have no idea that I am poisoning their minds. Satan is having his way with us and our kids. We’ve been had.

My youngest daughter, who is fifteen, likes to watch movies in the evenings with us while she is doing homework. She is like sunshine and unicorns, happy and innocent. We love that she hangs out with us. But what we have to do to find movies that we can watch with her is exhausting. And anything we do watch I have to be on guard with the remote in hand, ready to fast forward.

It is exhausting sifting through the garbage.

Hearing of Matt Lauer’s firing from NBC last week was shocking. Sexual misconduct? No way, I thought. I remember watching him on the Today show when I shared a house with four roommates shortly after college. He seemed like the boy next door.

When I heard about the accusations against Bill Cosby for sexual misconduct several years ago, I was heartbroken. He was such a great role model in the 80s and 90s. And now, almost every week we hear about a new sexual harassment case against someone in Hollywood, the government, or on the news.

The thought hit me, Why are we surprised? 

Do we not live in an extremely sexually charged and perverted culture? Are there any sexual ideals or morals that we have not flushed down the toilet? It seems that anything goes these days.

We have so thoroughly screwed up sex in our society that sometimes I feel totally helpless as a parent. Is it possible to raise kids who wait to have sex until marriage? And if they actually do wait, is there any chance of them finding spouses someday that have waited? It’s almost an absurd thought.

I am fed up! I am over it! What our country has been reduced to in the name of sexual prowess is pathetic. Can we not control ourselves? Can we get any farther from God’s design?

But what do we do? Move to Alaska? Build a wall and a moat around our homes and get rid of electricity? Is that the only choice we have?

Lots of questions. Few answers.

The bottom line is, I am outraged. We all should be. We are Sodom and Gomorrah all over again. Have we not evolved past that? It would seem not. We have been reduced to behaving like animals.

Shame on us.

 

The In Between

With the fireplace crackling, eggos in hand, and Christmas lights hanging on the wall, my girlfriends and I watched season 2 of “Stranger Things” the night it was released. I have been obsessed with it since I first saw it a couple of months ago. I have a problem, I know.

ST 2 Night

For those of you who haven’t watched it, the story takes place in 1983. I was eleven in 1983 —just sayin! (Eleven is one of the main characters) It is filled with amusing characters who are decent to each other. And it is true to the 1980s.

I loved the high-waisted jeans, glasses that were as big as your face, and the telephones with cords. I remember the days of the feathered hair style made popular by Farrah Fawcett, dungeons and dragons, classic eighties music, and mix tapes. And, it is scary. It is not like the blood and guts, sawing body parts, over-the-top horror movies there are today. No, it is the old fashioned kind of scary that makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up.

A boy, Will Byers, vanishes in the first episode of season 1. They spend the rest of the season looking for him. In one of the scenes, Will’s mom, Joyce, is trying to explain her son to the chief. “He’s not like you, Hopper, He’s not like me, He’s not like . . . . .most.” Will’s friends, Mike, Lucas, and Dustin get picked on by the school bully.

Most of the characters are weirdos, nerds, or just plain “different.” These are my people.

Eleven (El) is the main weirdo. This shaved headed wonder knows more than anyoneEleven about what is going on in the small town of Hawkins, Indiana. She is the key to it all. She is the weirdo on Maple Street. And she is extremely powerful.

Most shows today depict people behaving badly. It is almost tiresome. However, in episode 6 or 7 of season 1, Lucas apologizes to El with such sincerity. He says, “I was wrong, and I’m sorry,” to which El replies, “Friends don’t lie, I’m sorry too.” And when Mike and Lucas are fighting, the very insightful Dustin explains their relationship and how each one of them needed to apologize.

Then, there’s the Upside Down. It is an echo of this life, it may look like the real world, but it is cold, dark, and dangerous. The Upside Down is familiar, but at the same time, it isn’t. It’s wrong. Sometimes my life feels upside down. Maybe that is why “Stranger Things” is so appealing to me.

NancyI can relate to the Upside Down. However, what I am experiencing I would call the “In Between.” Since finishing my book (that will be out soon), I have been in a weird space. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed every bit of writing Pouring In. But now, I am stuck in the In Between.

Writing a book is a high—spiritually, mentally, and emotionally. But all good things must come to an end, and the high becomes a low. I wasn’t prepared for the In Between. Like the Upside Down, everything about the In Between feels wrong. It is cold and lonely and dark. And I can’t seem to get my feet on the ground.

What now? I wonder.

As I wander around the In Between, I remember that God is always looking for me—always pursuing me. Whenever I find myself in a dark, scary place far from home, God finds me there. He sees me and brings me home.

I have to trust God with whatever is next for me. There are no demogorgons or shadow monsters here, just God, with me, in the In Between. He is here in this strange space with me, a weirdo, so I can rest confidently. We all have seasons. God loves us through it all, even in the spaces in between.