Doing Life Together

Doing Life Together

Grey’s Anatomy: The Reality of Temptation

posted by Linda Mintle

My last blog on Grey’s Anatomy ended with the hope that the writer’s would work us through April’s sexual encounter with Jackson. I was particularly hopeful that she would move from feeling as if Jesus hated her for giving in to sexual temptation, to receiving his grace and forgiveness. Just like real life, last week’s episode didn’t resolve that easily.

April, still reeling over her decision to give in to premarital sex after maintaining her virginity all this time, finds herself in the bathroom, stressed to the max during her boards. Since Mer and Christina won’t allow her in the women’s bathroom, she barges in to the men’s room and tells them to get over it. They are all doctors. But there, she encounters Jackson (the source of her temptation) once again. Jackson is distressed with mommy issues during his boards. The stress and the pressure bring the two together again. As they commiserate, they discuss the sex and April brings the discussion to a critical point. Giving in to temptation feels good.

This conflict and confusion are real. We have our values, our beliefs. We have the Word of God that gives us the guidelines of appropriate sexual behavior. Basically, sex outside of marriage is wrong.

April knows all of this but is confronted with temptation. Now that she has given in to it, she knows how good it feels.

And this is real life struggle–how to resist temptation when temptation feels really good for the moment. This is the struggle most of us face, whether it is overeating, sex, overspending, etc.  And of course, a reason we fall into temptation is because it feels good for the moment. So April, who doesn’t “flee from temptation,” but engages it once again, gives in again. She has sex in the bathroom.

Then, during her boards, she has a sort of coming out moment. She tells the reviewers that she would first pray with a terminal patient. Doubt overtakes her for the moment as she wonders if God is still listening to her given her sin.

What follows is an ah-ha moment of realizing she has been hiding who she is for years, afraid of being laughed at, judged and considered less of a doctor because of her faith.

Her strongest line is then delivered. “I’m done hiding.”

The dialogue is well-written and represents the struggle with living out one’s faith in a culture that is filled with temptation and often negatively judges people of faith.

We have no idea where the writers will take us from here in terms of her character. She completely melts down after these brief insightful moments. How will they handle the impulsive sexual experiences when every day life returns?

I liked seeing the struggle of faith–giving in to what feels good, confused by how that impacts her relationship with God, and coming to the conclusion to stop hiding.

If April stays with her faith, works through forgiveness, and learns to be true to herself, that would be redeeming and hopeful. And even if they allow the character to struggle to integrate her faith into everyday life, that could be good if it is done with writers who understand the Christian faith. But usually, writers of Christian characters make Christians look like crazy people. They don’t usually know how to make faith work or show the victorious side of living out one’s faith.

So here is hoping this could be different.

 

Does Watching TV Depress You?

posted by Linda Mintle

Last night, I was channel surfing on the television. I landed on a show that chronicled the last 24 hours of a death row inmate about to be executed. I couldn’t watch it to the end. The last hour was too graphic and the details of the execution were disturbing. I had to change channels.

Next, I found the TV show, House (a medical show). One of the main characters was taking an extreme chemotherapy treatment that could kill him or save his life. The physical agony of enduring chemotherapy was very well depicted. It was grueling to watch and I found myself praying for everyone I know going through chemotherapy. But in the face of death, there was no talk of God, forgiveness or eternity.

Next, I found one of the many cop shows. This story line was about rape, violence, infidelity and betrayal.

Finally, I just stopped watching. It was all so depressing. During all the horror and crises, there was never any talk about God, or faith as a solution or comfort. People faced death and trauma repeatedly on these shows and no one ever included faith. Yet, in my experience, it is during those times when even the weakest person, considers the possibility of  God and turns to whatever faith he or she might know.

But we rarely see a story line that offers faith as part of the human experience. Instead, we watch the results of secular angst.

So I wonder, are the writers of these shows so completely disengaged from religious faith that they find it impossible to ever insert God into a story line?

Are they reluctant to show people turning to God or in relationship with God? If so, why?

It was depressing to watch people victimized, ill, facing death and suffering with no offer of hope, redemption or spiritual comfort.

It was like watching a grueling marathon –people were bruised and injured, but trying to endure to the end! I know the Christian life can feel this way but at least there is the hope of a better day!

More than depressed, I was sad to note that the peace and comfort offered by a relationship with God is missing in most media programming. Without the faith element, life can be very depressing and that is not a place I want to go.


 

Exciting New Research on Autism

posted by Linda Mintle

Autism is a developmental brain disorder that cannot be medically diagnosed and treatment can be difficult. According to a 2008 CDC study, autism affects 1 in 88 children, a number that is up 78% since 2002.

One of the many challenges has been to find treatments that are effective. Right now, Eastern Virginia Medical School is conducting clinical trials that might bring a break through in treatment. Dr. Stephen Deutsch and Dr. Maria Urbano have been studying a type of mouse that has trouble socializing. These mice have very similar symptoms to humans with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorders) when it comes to social interaction. The mice do not interact with other mice. But in the clinical trials, the researchers gave these socially challenged mice a drug used in TB treatment called D-Cycloserine. When the drug was administered, the mice became just as social as other mice. Dr. Urbano is developing human trials with teens and young adults (ages 14-25) who qualify for the study. If the drug has the same impact on the teens, it could really improve their social skills and quality of living.

Right now, there are no medications  used to treat social impairment, a common marker of these disorders. So watching this socially impaired strain of mouse respond so positively to the medication brings hope for an effective treatment in this area of functioning. It certainly is a step to unraveling these complicated disorders.

Feeling Flirty? Not So Much If You Are a Dad

posted by Linda Mintle

In our sexually hyped culture, how does a man stay true to his family?

The answers involves a little help from his biology!

Testosterone is a major sex hormone and is responsible for sex drive and reproductive growth. It is present in both men and women and impacts sexual development. Because it is higher in men, it is often blamed for men acting out sexually. But here is what you might not know about the role of testosterone and fatherhood.

Researchers at Northwestern University noted that after a man becomes a parent, his testosterone lowers. And the more involved he is in child care, the lower his testosterone drops. Anthropologist Peter Gray at the University of Nevada Las Vegas thinks that parental care can actually shape a man’s physiology. He believes that the lowered testosterone that comes from parenting helps a man cue into his child and less into the cues of other women. The lowering of testosterone may actually help when it comes to keeping your eye on your family and not on your co-worker. Of course, when testosterone levels drop too low, this can become problematic and men need to see their doctors.

But in terms of men, marriage and parenting, testosterone levels dipping a bit may give a little boost to fidelity. Biology matters and actually works to our advantage when it comes to parenting!

 

 

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