Honest, I had the best of hopes for A Gifted Man, a short-lived, CBS medical/supernatural drama. Patrick Wilson did a great job as Dr. Michael Holt, while everyone else was competent. Scripts were well-written, and the overall scenario was kinda fun. Backstory has Anna, Michael’s ex, dragging him to Alaska to cure the Indians’ ills, but the two doctors part ways over money-management issues—and yes, that’s not exactly novel. So Michael returns to the lower forty-eight to create a prosperous neurosurgery practice.
Time passes, and Michael happens to meet Anna, played by Jennifer Ehle, on the street, and they go to lunch for old-times’ sake. Later that day, a most curious discovery shakes Michael’s world: Anna was killed in a car accident … before they met and had lunch. Thus begins the strangeness of friendship with a ghost.
So I was sitting there doing my imitation of a couch potato—imitation, because I don’t have a couch—enjoying the show, when Anton Little Creek, a good-looking, smart, well-adjusted shaman played by Pablo Schreiber, demonstrates complete success in treating and eradicating a case of spirit possession. I asked myself, “When was the last time I saw that level of credibility given to a Christian minister’s character on prime-time TV?”
My answer? Decades. Many decades. In fact, I can’t remember such a thing happening. Imams? Yes. Buddhist priests? Yes. Aboriginal medicine men? Yes. Witches? Yes. Vampires? Yes. Serial killers? Yes. But never a Christian pastor. In fact, more often than not, the pastor character is the really weird guy who mucks things up for the normal folks.
If I were a conspiracy nut I’d say the media moguls are in this thing together, to make Christians look bad. But I’m not. Instead, I say the entertainment media’s remarkable Christian-bashing consistency can be chalked up to their almost universal hatred of Christ and his followers. You don’t have to conspire when most entertainment big-wigs share the same prejudice.
That said, I have to admit how well Christendom plays into the role of haters. In fact, loving, Spirit-filled Christ-followers are a minority among those who call themselves “Christians.” The Bible calls them, “the remnant,” because godly love and faithfulness is so unusual in churches.
But Pollyanna that I am, I keep hoping that Hollywood will one day get it right. I guess I’ll never learn.