Monday, September 27, 2021

Is Your Pilot Light On?

I was watching a clip from an old episode of the Carol Burnett Show where the Mama character starts throwing insults at her daughter, Eunice.  Carol Burnett can hardly keep a straight face.  Reflecting on the relationship between the two characters, Tim Conway later commented that you could go into any small town in America and find those same two "characters" still today.

In the episode I was watching, Mama's arrows went something like this:

"I think you done sprung a leak in your dingy"

"You aren't playing with a full deck"

"I think somebody blew your pilot light out."

I can appreciate the comedy in those sketches from years-gone-by, but as I watch some of the older television shows, they really make me cringe.  To our sensitivities today, Mama's comments, for instance, about Eunice being "crazy" and that "they are going to lock you up" strike quite the nerve.

On other shows I have watched, the implicit homophobic "jokes" and innuendos are unbelievable, and I'm not just talking about All in the Family, which was intended to raise issues.  Some of the older dramas, you begin to realize, only have young black men as criminals, and sexual flirtations between bosses and secretaries were considered light comedy.

I don't think it's that we've lost our sense of humor today, it's just that these sorts of things are not funny and never were appropriate, but somehow they were allowed.  Maybe we are starting to grow up.

Or, maybe not . . .

In many cases, we certainly are no longer subtle.  Oh, we may shy away from hot-button issues, but we do not shy away from bad content.  I can't tell you how many shows I've had to turn off.

Anyway, my point isn't to go on and on about television shows.  My point, rather, is that mature perspectives can shed new light on what we may have once thought was okay.  Hopefully, that is what happens when we are baptized.

As we shed the old self who may have been attracted to things that were not good, we begin to see with what we call "eyes of faith."  Once we have encountered God, tangibly in the sacraments, in others, in moments, the world looks different.  With eyes of faith taking in the world around us, our behavior changes--or at least it should.

How does being a Christian affect the choices you make?  Is your life centered on Christ?  Do you follow the ways of the secular world in order to fit in, or do you attract others to the faith through the witness of your life?

Have you matured--or are you maturing--in your faith?  Growing in our spiritual life is a lifelong process.  I hope you will make it a priority.  We wouldn't ever want your pilot light to go out!

Janet Cassidy

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