Some recent commentary on the ABC TV program Grantchester has prompted us to post this opinion piece. Perhaps you have been watching this program. For Rodney Eivers it has been more than just a story….
[Incidently this program comes from the pen of James Runcie, son of a former Archbishop of Canterbury.]
I deliberately minimise my television viewing except for some ABC news and documentary programmes but usually because certain “family” nights occur at the weekends I have come to sit back and enjoy what generally turns out to be one or two British crime shoes on ABC TV.
I don’t pick and choose. Thus it came about that a recent show which I could not avoid turned out to be the series “Grantchester.” This features an Anglican clergyman who strikes up a friendship with a police detective. As usual with just about all popular TV shows there is a love theme with sexual tension running in the back ground.
So I continued to watch episodes of this show each week enjoying the story at face value. As time went on, though, I got caught up in the moral questions it raises. The writers certainly know their Christian church culture, especially within the Church of England environment. The preaching is intelligent and related to the struggles for human nature in being people of the Jesus way. It avoids both sanctimony and ridicule in evaluating a Christian life.
As the series drew to a close and certain catastrophes in personal relationships had to be unravelled I feared that the self-centredness of erotic love would win out.
Although God as a concept is assumed, that presence is represented as something of an internal struggle, an argument within oneself, as to what might be the priorities of a person committed to the Way.
It turned out in the end that I was happy with the way the writers wound up the story.
Although the tale focuses on sexual waywardness in relationships(after all that probably makes it more compelling for the general viewer) rather than the other “sins” which engage us, I think it paints a good story of what can go wrong and hopefully ultimately right.
This series has finished on ABC television for now but for those who like to ponder these things and may well have had their own struggles in human relationships I would make it recommended viewing if repeated or available on iView or DVD.