The Righteous Gemstones Shines Its Satire on a Televangelist Empire

ChristianityToday.com | 8/23/2019 | Staff
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For most of my life, pop culture and Christianity have resolved to exist separately together.

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Christ - Figures - Journeys - Culture - Tropes

Though Christ figures and spiritual journeys were common enough pop culture tropes, the entertainment I was drawn to didn’t really concern itself with contemporary Christianity. And the Christianity around me stayed in relative cultural isolation, occasionally creating its own “popular culture” of music, literature, TV, and movies.

And mostly, this was a beneficial arrangement, a kind of peaceful truce.

Borders - Spheres - Society - Peace - Church

Recently, though, as our cultural borders are blurring across spheres of society, the separate peace I enjoyed between the church I love and the entertainment I love began to crumble.

Growing up surrounded by both Southern Baptist and prosperity gospel principles, I’ve noticed the ethical fluidity that Christians can apply to money and wealth. Earlier this year, an Instagram account called “PreachersnSneakers” generated a firestorm of reaction when it highlighted certain evangelical pastors and their taste for expensive and culturally fashionable footwear. And for years, a similar ire has surrounded pastors who pay for private jets and mansions.

Corner - World—which - Feels - Satire - Life—has

And now, this corner of the evangelical world—which sometimes feels like satire being played out in real life—has made its way to HBO, in its new series, The Righteous Gemstones.

Starring Danny McBride, Adam Devine, Edi Patterson, and the incomparable John Goodman, The Righteous Gemstones is a heightened look at a family of evangelical royalty. Think the Kennedys, but less polished, more Southern fried, and strategizing Jesus instead of politics.

Series - Mission - Trip - China - Business

As the series opens, they’ve just returned from a mission trip to China and they are settling in to the business of expanding their evangelical empire, but alas, for all of the characters, the seeds of struggle are coming to bear, culminating in Jesse Gemstone (McBride) being blackmailed for a tape showing him participating in...
(Excerpt) Read more at: ChristianityToday.com
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