A primetime TV character thumps the Book of Common Prayer
Iâ€™ve become a loyal viewer of the ABC drama Nashville. The story sort of comes and goesâ€”here itâ€™s a subtly observed relationship drama, there itâ€™s an off-the-rails primetime soapâ€”but itâ€™s perhaps the first TV musical with consistently great music direction, and some of the performers are pretty good, too. So I wait the silly story lines out and keep watching.
Last weekâ€™s episode followed young country star Juliette Barnes through the aftermath of her confrontation with a conservative Christian protester. He saltily disapproved of her relationship with a married man; she retorted that â€śthere is no Godâ€”[unlikely pause]â€”who would something something somethingâ€ť; the internets people clipped it after â€śGodâ€ť; God-fearing country fans went ballistic.
But Juliette does believe in God, guys! So in last weekâ€™s episode, she goes to church to pray. Specifically, it appears, to an Episcopal churchâ€”note the pew copies of The Hymnal 1982 and Lift Every Voice and Sing:
Maybe this arc is headed toward a crudely pro-progressive-faith thing, like that movie Saved: Juliette is insulted and hurt by a Bible thumper, so she goes and finds acceptance at a nice liberal church. Except that Iâ€™m as sure as I can be that the Bible thumper is in fact thumping the 1979 Book of Common Prayer:
So, hmm. I know a lot of Episcopaliansâ€”my wife, my Century colleague Amy Frykholm, a bunch of other peopleâ€”and while their political and cultural views vary, none of them is real big on going out to protest celebrities for their libertine lifestyles. I donâ€™t even think thereâ€™s a designated prayer for that in the BCPâ€™s Collects: Various Occasions section. (Though it would have been epic TV if the protester had crafted his taunt in collect form.)
When I mentioned this on Facebook, Century contributor Ben Dueholm pointed out that the guy might have been protesting not Julietteâ€™s homewreckage but rather a (far) subtler subplot about an improper application of the Episcopal rubrics for worship. Good pointâ€”another main character is named Deacon; perhaps in an upcoming episode heâ€™ll become an actual deacon and yet be scandalously denied the right to serve as Gospeller at a Eucharistic service.
Or maybe itâ€™s just another lazy effort to signify â€śreligious nut.â€ť Hey, that bookâ€™s got a big gold cross on the cover! Use that one. Oh wellâ€”most viewers just thought it was a Bible, anyway. And we all know that everyone with a Bible is just like that protester guy...