Why I Still Watch the (Primetime) Emmys

Over the years, television has occupied less and less of my time. Movies, books, and magazines are much more appealing when I settle in for a rarely lazy afternoon or evening. However, this past Sunday I did turn on the basic, 13-channel cable to watch an annual event: the primetime Emmy awards. Why would someone disinterested in television watch a show that revolves around television? The answer is twofold. One is that I actually did love one particular TV show that recently ended a five-year run, and it was nominated for a number of awards. Friday Night Lights, which aired on NBC, tells the story of high school football in west Texas. Critics have used a wide range of adjectives to describe it: powerful, uplifting, inspiring, funny, heartfelt, sad, and poignant, among others. But what drew me into the story of Dillon, Texas, and the family of Coach Eric Taylor was that it was so real. These characters were believable, had real-life problems, made many mistakes, and learned from life's experiences. I watched the Emmys in hopes that there would be some recognition for this series, and there was.

Kyle Chandler, who played Coach Eric Taylor, won the award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series, which led to the second reason that I watch awards shows. He was visibly stunned, humbled, and at a loss for words. He initially forgot to mention both his real-life wife and the actress who played his wife on the series in the acceptance speech. He did not pull a sheet of paper scrawled with a laundry list of names to read. He simply went to the microphone and offered a few thank-yous in a soft voice after acknowledging that he had planned on one of the other guys winning. This kind of heartfelt surprise is a reason that I loved watching the Emmys: a person who is genuinely surprised and gratefully humble receiving recognition in a glitzy, over-the-top setting. Like the TV series, Kyle Chandler was "real."

We as followers of Christ can learn a lot from this kind of "realness." In a world full of acting and showiness, Christ calls us to be sincere and genuine with one another. Even in Hollywood, such rawness possible. What makes the love of Christ contagious is not how fancifully we sing about God or how elaborately we tell the Christian story. The greatest expression of love was a raw and rugged cross. Perhaps the most effective way that we can share God's love is through open, honest, and rugged conversation with each other that is rooted in humility.

All seasons of Friday Night Lights are available to rent, buy or live stream. It's worth the time to watch, and the rewards are much greater than any gold statue. Let us ever be "on watch" for God to reveal God's self through the art that does still exist on television.

grace, peace, love, and all good stuff to each of you--
Pastor Darian