Exhausted from a heavy work load, I recently watched, for the first time, A Streetcar Named Desire. Vivien herself stars in this 1951 movie (“film,” I guess sophisticated people call a critically acclaimed movie, which mostly seems to mean any that attack the moral fiber of this nation).
If you haven’t seen it yourself, it’s about aging southern belle Vivien visiting her sister, who is married to the absolutely disgusting Marlon Brando. Vivien presents herself as a very refined and proper belle, but of course it turns out she really isn’t –she’s been promiscuous. When her past comes to light, she is dumped by a nice man who’s been courting her, apparently something ugly happens off-screen with Brando, and she is last seen being hauled off to the local insane asylum.
I have to admit it. I responded for a moment exactly the way playwright Tennessee Williams wanted me to respond, by thinking, “What happened to a woman like that in those days, branded with a scarlet letter and without the resources or skills she needs to take care of herself?”
Good grief! Why in the world didn’t I view this whole personal-disaster display through God’s eyes?
Why didn’t I think, “That’s what happens when we disobey God’s clear teaching on sex outside of marriage”?
And “That’s what happens to people who have swept their consciences so clean of His commands that they’ve provided demons with a nice empty place to nest”?
And “That’s what happens when we refuse to repent and leave ourselves fit only to profit the psychiatric industry”?
And “That’s what happens to those who turn their backs on, and their noses up at, the love of genuine Christians who would take them in and help them embrace the Lord’s forgiveness and the second chance that He offers everyone”?
Hollywood has been railing against that kind of thinking from the start, and we’d do well to keep that in mind as we witness to unbelievers whose thinking has been shaped not by the Bible but by the entertainment industry.
One good thing should come out of this, at any rate: what a great icebreaker this will be for discussing biblical truth with the most alert of my friends at the nursing home.