Wednesday, May 21, 2014

So what is it about Call the Midwife and Rev?

I am one of those Anglophile types who enjoys many of the programs that come to us from the BBC or ITV.  Most Sunday evenings eventually come to Sharon and me sitting down to watch one or two of them.   I have come to expect that the Church of England in general, and the clergy in particular, will not be presented in these programs in a very flattering light.  In fact the clergy are frequently portrayed as strange and ineffective, as lazy, or alcoholics, or hiding some dark secret, usually of a sexual nature.  Those of us who live closely to this world know that sometimes such things are true, but we also know that these dramatized stories are way out of proportion to the real world of ecclesiastical and clerical life.

What a relief and happy surprise it is, then, to see positive, healthy, and realistic depictions of church people and ministry in two current and popular British programs, Call the Midwife and Rev.  Midwife is about the work of Anglican Sisters and Nurse Midwives in the East End of London in the 1950's.  Rev. portrays the life and struggles of an Anglican Vicar in the inner city today.  Of course both are made for television, but they are recognizable to me as the Anglican/Episcopal way of being Christian that I know, live in, and love.

It is a happy surprise as well to read that the gritty and unglamorous ministry of the inner city church world is actually appealing, an appeal that reaches to younger folks preparing for ordination to the priesthood.  Count it another sign of resurrection in the ruins of Christendom.