Monday, January 08, 2007



By Janice Price

It was a shock to accidentally catch the last half of a television program called Wife Swap. Evidently two women from opposite lifestyles trade families for two weeks. The first week the visiting wife lives by the house rules. The second week, she institutes her own rules. Controversy results and controversy translates into network ratings.

What caught and held my attention was a black woman called Big Mama telling a family of atheists the new house rules would be based on her family’s view of Christianity. The father and his children rose to their feet, threw Bibles she must have just passed out to them onto the floor, and left the room.

Meanwhile, Big Mama’s home was being stripped of all Bibles and religious symbolism by the other wife who sported a shaved head, a nose piercing and a multitude of tattoos. She let it be known she had not enjoyed having to attend their church service. One daughter was reduced to tears. The husband commented about their faith was not in things, but in Jesus.

I believe in God and his word, but not in shoving him into the faces of people who do not believe in him, which is what I felt was happening, even though Big Mama undoubtedly had the best of intentions. Her idea was to “save” them. There was a breakfast confrontation, where Big Mama tried to make the young son pray. His father stopped her and said she had no right to make a house rule the family must pray to a God they don’t believe in. And he is correct. Program rules or not, trying to force your religion onto another person is not biblical. There is no verse in my Bible that states, You will force feed the Word of God to anyone who is not ready or refuses to receive the Good News of Christ.

On the other hand, it seemed just as belligerent to force a religious family to pack up their Bibles for a week.

I am not trying to make either of these women sound like a bad person. I don’t know them or their families. I am not trying to condemn either one. I don’t even know the rules of the Wife Swap show. I merely want to point out how heavy-handed people can act to convert others to their own belief system – Christianity included. Jesus was often outspoken, yet even he did not wield a sledgehammer as a tool for converting those who opposed or disbelieved in what he taught.

Supposedly, something good did come out of these two weeks for each family, but I’m still at a loss why programs such as this are called “reality TV.” Is this type of wife swap a reality in your neighborhood? It isn’t in mine. Yes, we can learn positive lessons from one another, but trying to force one lifestyle, religion or lack of religion on others is not an effective means of evangelism for any belief system.

Artificial reality shows are becoming common fodder for mesmerized minds. Don’t let yourself be blinded to the wrong lessons and values they honor. I was dumbfounded that each woman’s main goal appeared to be to drive a bulldozer through the other family’s core beliefs. That is not the same as attacking the other’s housecleaning methods – or lack of same.

A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. Proverbs 15:1

1 comment:

Vicki said...

Hey Jan. Just stopping by to say hello. I watched that show once, and it was rather amusing. I guess the point is for each family to experience life in the shoes of the other...and they *do* agree to do this. So if one family prays, the other family must at least go through the motions. I think the particular program I viewed had one farm family exchange life with another family from the big city. So the city slickers had to feed animals and do chores they were unaccustomed to doing.

I guess producers keep wanting to push the envelope when they decide to make a segment about people with opposing religious views. They *know* that will rile some folks up.