Recently, John and I were approached by a casting agency. An entertainment conglomerate was in the process of pulling together a television show that would speak from a more spiritual perspective to some of the deeper issues we are facing in our world today. This was not the first time we had been approached for this type of show. After a few offers by other agents who were looking for reality shows, I knew I didn’t want to be part of a spectacle. I told my staff that I really didn’t think it was a fit. But this casting agent assured my staff this time the show was different. The producers wanted a vehicle that would put their audience in remembrance of the days when people went to their local church when they needed answers. Reluctantly, we agreed to explore the idea a bit further.
John was in one city and I was in another, but we agreed to a conference call. They asked a number of questions that we answered directly and frankly. I for one did not expect to get another call, but we did. They said they liked our energy and were wondering about taking the interview process to the next level. This would entail an hour-long recorded Skype call. They sent us a list of questions they hoped we could address for them in the interview. The first one went something like this:
My 16-year-old daughter is having sex with her older, more sexually experienced boyfriend. He is her first. As a mother should I have her tested or simply put her on birth control? What should I do?
In my mind, this was a no-brainer. The daughter was an underage girl living in her parents’ house. I felt confident with my answer.
I explained the Bible said to flee fornication, not facilitate it. I recommended the family have a sit-down to explain why she and this young man would not be seeing each other anymore…
Before I could unpack the concept further, the casting agent interrupted me. She explained that (a) they were going to continue to have sex, and (b) they didn’t want us quoting the Bible. They just wanted spiritual advisors. She further explained that the agency had come up with the questions and this one was from her. It was her sister having sex and her mother who wanted to know what to do. At that point, we realized this interview didn’t need to go any further.
The agency knew we were Bible teachers, but they didn’t want us to tell them what the Bible said. They wanted us to be deep and spiritual but not biblical. Is there even such a thing? Is there any true wisdom outside of God’s counsel? It made me wonder if I had quoted a New Age guru if that would have been admissible. What they wanted from us were shallow answers that sounded deep – a wishing well.
They wanted to avoid conflict. They did not want us to offend anyone by saying something might be wrong. They wanted us to bless the wrong and tell them that evil was good. Their mindset was “it is what it is” so say what you need to that makes it right. Strike a compromise while at the same time sounding close enough to truth. They also didn’t want Christian belief to be overt; they encouraged us to keep it covert. To them that meant God is great, but let’s leave Jesus and the Bible out of the mix.
In other words, I’m sure they would have liked me to say something like this: “Yes, be a loving mother and have your daughter tested immediately for STDs. But while you are there put her on some form of long-term birth control to protect her from pregnancy. Then the next time her boyfriend is over, you and your husband can tell him how much you treasure your daughter. Tell him you respect the fact that he is older and more sexually experienced. Ask him if he would be kind enough to accept this package of condoms as a gift from your family to him. That way you will have done all you could to be certain that he does not pass an STD on to her.”
Do you see how ludicrous this advice is? But I get it. These producers didn’t want to hear biblical truth; they wanted a wishing well. In effect, they were telling John and me, “We will throw you guys some pennies, and in return you will grant the people their wishes. Bless their sin and make them feel good about themselves.”
I am afraid far too many Christians have settled for being wished well rather than hearing what they need to develop a deep well. There are far too many women with deep longings but shallow lives. They know the worldly advice they follow is merely an empty echo of their own voices, but they imagine that is all there is… so they settle for a well of empty wishes. When they reflect on their lives…
They wish they had not said this.
They wish they had not done that.
They wish they had not married him.
They wish they had married him.
They wish they had gone to school.
They wish they had more friends.
They wish they could look like her.
They wish they had not purchased this.
They wish they could purchase that.
They wish they prayed more.
They wish they read their Bible more.
They wish they were more disciplined.
They wish they were more patient.
If only wishing made it so, then we would all be brilliant, beautiful, strong, and brave. Walt Disney told us, “A dream is a wish your heart makes when it is fast asleep.” I believe this is true, but the dream and wish only become a reality when you do something with the dream when you are awake. The wish or desire drives the dream and we drive the do. It is not enough to wish it were well… you must do well. That is where depth is developed.
Watch Lisa this Tuesday on LIFE TODAY. This is an excerpt from Without Rival by Lisa Bevere. Copyright ©2016 by Lisa Bevere. Published by Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group. Used by permission.