Shonda Rhimes‘s show deals with adultery, temptation, redemption, and the need for a savior–making it a ripe, but potentially perilous, Biblical teaching tool.
The first time viewers of ABC’s hit drama Scandal see Olivia Pope go to church, she’s there to oversee the success of a “fix” she negotiated for the wife of a prominent pastor who died on top of his mistress. Pope spends much of the episode counseling and empathizing with the mistress, while the long-suffering wife–still reeling from the depth of her husband’s betrayal–has to accept both his lover and her secret child.
The second time we see Olivia in a pew, she’s mourning the loss of a corrupt mentor her own married lover murdered. She’s also there to hook up with that lover of hers–until she discovers that he knows she’s betrayed him. Then, she’s there to seek forgiveness–not from God, but from her man, President Fitzgerald Grant.
In short: Olivia Pope uses church for surprising reasons. Perhaps the same could be said for how the church uses her. Since Scandal’s debut (its second-season finale airs Thursday night), its rapidly growing audience has taken to Twitter to live-tweet the series along with its stars. Pastors are capitalizing on the series’ success by live-tweeting with the rest of the viewership, and even crafting sermons and conferences around the show and its protagonist.
It’s a familiar technique. Churches, to remain engaged with popular culture, have been name-checking television shows, films, and pop songs for ages. The more risqué or controversial the media, the more rousing the congregational response. For better or worse, scandal–in all its varied forms–grabs attention.
David Jones Jr. said he was excited to see a new Bible sitting on his front porch Monday morning. Then he looked inside and found what he describes as a “racial slur toward blacks,” written on the inside cover.
A total of 16 black residents along North Mulberry and Springmill Streets and Vale Avenue received the marred Bibles on Sunday, according to the Mansfield Police Department.
“At first I said good, because I can use another Bible, but when I opened it to see who it came from it just had a nasty statement in there,” Jones said. “I thought someone was saying it to me, but then I saw it on other porches, so I called police.”
A few doors down, Lillian Webb had the same initial reaction.
“I thought someone was trying to be funny, saying I need to read the Bible,” Webb said. “After I read (the slur), I thought, who would write that in a Bible?”
Across the street, the Friendly House received three Bibles, director Terry Conard said. Bibles also showed up at two vacant houses on either side of Webb.
Nine of the King James Holy Bibles were recovered Monday morning after Jones called in the complaint. Six more were found by police canvassing the area Wednesday. The same slur was “neatly” written in neon colors, according to victims.
SMMFH @ “neatly”
Police are classifying the act as ethnic intimidation, meaning the racial slur was meant to threaten and intimidate residents, Capt. Ken Coontz said. Those responsible could face menacing charges, a fourth-degree misdemeanor. If tied to ethnic motivations, the charge could increase the offense to a third-degree misdemeanor, or up to 60 days in jail, he said.
The police are still searching for any clues that might help them find the person(s) responsible. We suppose this is better than a burning cross on your lawn, but it still has to be a little unsettling that this type of racism is still alive and kickin’ in 2013.
Another City is rocked by a pastor scandal.
Lead pastor of Discovery Church in Orlando, Fla., David Loveless, has resigned after admitting that he had an extramarital affair.
“It is with great sadness that we announce the immediate resignation of our lead pastor, David Loveless, following his acknowledgement of his participation in a wrongful relationship over multiple years with a woman not his wife,” a statement from the church’s elder board reads. “While David indicates that the relationship was ended approximately three years ago, we were only made aware of it when he informed us in recent days. David offered his resignation and the elders prayerfully and unanimously accepted it.”
The Church Wounds co-author and his wife, Caron, have been married for more than 37 years, and they have three married sons and seven grandchildren, according to his blog. The church he is leaving has been recognized as “one of the 10 healthiest churches in America,” his blog formerly stated, and he was recognized as “one of the top 20 Christian leaders in the U.S. to watch.”
Discovery Church elders have asked their congregation to pray for them as they seek to “administer biblical accountability with the appropriate balance of grace, mercy and truth.” They have also requested prayer for the Loveless family and the “church family” as a whole, and have asked churchgoers not to rush to judgment and to avoid gossip and speculating about the situation.
“These are difficult circumstances for any church, regardless of size, and serve as a poignant reminder of the frailty of man and the need to live in honest community and accountability with other believers,” the statement says. “While we believe David Loveless can be restored to Christian fellowship and productive Christian service, we do not believe he can serve as a pastor at Discovery Church.”
The statement was first shared with the church’s staff last Wednesday, followed by the rest of the congregation over the weekend. Filling in for Loveless on an interim basis is Don Cousins, the director of ministry for Discovery Church.
Two other pastors of major Orlando-area churches also resigned in the last six months because of affairs, the Orlando Sentinel reports. Isaac Hunter of Summit Church stepped down in December, and Sam Hinn of The Gathering Place Worship Center did so in January.
Social media users have had mixed reactions to the news of Loveless’ affair and resignation.
“When will the church take responsibility for it’s actions. This is pitiful.” Twitter user Taja Fox tweeted.
“Prayers go out to David loveless and all the families of Discovery Church,” tweeted Ely Young.
Brent Bailey, lead pastor of Direction Church Orlando, told The Christian Post that his congregation will be praying for Loveless and Discovery Church during their regular Tuesday night gathering this evening.
“He’s done so much great work here,” said Bailey. “Discovery Church is just such an incredible place, and lots of lives have been changed. And we’re just going to be praying for him, that God restores him and God puts him back to where he needs to be and that this ministry can go on and still touch as many people as it can.”
Bailey, who has been in ministry for 20 years but founded Direction Church just seven months ago, says hearing about the moral failure of other pastors saddens him and causes him to reflect on his own vulnerabilities.
“It also makes us realize how vulnerable every human being is no matter how long they’ve been in ministry or how many lives they’ve touched,” he said. “There really is an enemy out there that’s trying to do his best to take every one of us out.”
She’s one of the most famous mother’s around yet Beyonce is adamant she wants to make daughter Blue Ivy‘s life as “normal” as possible.
Although her vow may only have to be taken with a pinch of salt if you evaluate what ‘normal’ means to the Destiny’s Child star – who has spent £14,000 on just one of her cribs, as well as £630,000 a year on nursery rent alone.
Beyonce spoke of her desire to give her tot a normal life during a special chat with ABC’s Good Morning America on Monday.
More than a million Chicago residents will be eligible for low-cost Internet service through a program aimed at expanding digital access to underserved areas.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced Tuesday that Chicago will be a pilot city for the national EveryoneOn campaign. The program provides low-cost Internet access and training to residents in neighborhoods where the median annual income is $35,000 or less.
Emanuel says digital skills are vital in today's workforce. He says access to digital literacy training and affordable high-speed Internet service is a "game changer" for kids and adults.
The program is expected to reach 1.1 million residents.
It builds on the Comcast Internet Essentials initiative, which has connected more than 11,000 low-income families to affordable high-speed Internet since 2011.