Last week, I was over at Think Christian writing about one of my favorite TV shows:
At first Orange is the New Black seems fixated on capturing the ugly in this low-security women’s prison. We are Shocked and Appalled by the cruelty, incivility and lasciviousness of the inmates. If we take any comfort in the high-schoolishness of the early cafeteria scenes, we are immediately jarred back to full alert by a single breakfast sandwich at the end of the first episode. This is danger. This is insanity. This is despair. This is prison. And it’s ugly.
Or is that just a ruse, misdirection on the part of the writers to awaken our basest prejudices about crime and criminals before serving us a powerful corrective? What we began to realize as the first season unfolded – and what has been confirmed by the recently released second season – is that this is a complex situation. Piper is not who we think she is, and neither is any other character.
The ugly criminal element is a facade. And so is the apparent prettiness of law and order, or the innocence of those “outside.” This is not a world of black and white. This is a world that turns black and white on its head.
And that’s what the real world is too. That’s the world as Jesus saw it. We might say it this way: there is no beauty in rightness. The Gospel stands in diametric opposition to the very notion of human rightness. It’s a myth; its perpetuation requires a grand lie and a supreme arrogance. And those who make claims to it are, typically, also responsible for the world’s greatest ugliness.