The news blew up yesterday with reports of actor Stephen Collins' alleged admission to child sexual abuse. The recording, said to be made secretly by his ex-wife, actress Faye Grant, during a therapy session years ago has gone viral over the web and has elicited numerous reactions and responses.
Many who grew up watching the family-focused television show, 7th Heaven have responded with despair, frustration, anger and confusion. Some state that their childhood has been ruined. Some have found this an opportunity to state that no "pastors" should ever be trusted.
I feel like my childhood has been tarnished by this Stephen Collins news. #7thHeaven— Juliane Laskowski (@JulianeRose) October 8, 2014
My childhood is forever tainted. Thanks alot Reverend Camden.#7thHeaven— MegVonDee (@MegYvonne) October 8, 2014
It's unfortunate, especially since Reverend Camden is a fictional character played by an actor in a television show. More unfortunate is that there are enough real pastors in the real world who have fallen into the same sinful situations.
Collins' is a dreadful story and is leading to numerous reactions and false follow-up stories.
- 7th Heaven has been removed from syndicated view by numerous television stations.
- Collins has resigned from the SAG Board.
- He has been removed from the cast of Ted 2.
- Neighbors haver erroneously tweeted that he committed suicide earlier today.
Sadly, in the midst of this story, regardless the reason for the leaked audio tape, there is indication that at least three children were sexually molested. The NYPD is continuing to investigate, so at this point everything is alleged.
Yet, in this story of depravity is a marriage that was lost and a skewed identity of manhood. As prognosticators and entertainment analysts attempt to create fodder for conversation along with explanations and justifications for such behavior, the root of all such behavior continues to be ignored.
Yeah, it's now a term that is not politically correct and in a culture that has excised absolute truth from its vocabulary, the term seems to be relegated to a small sub-group known as the church. It has become offensive to refer to anyone else's actions as sinful, especially in a world where "what's true for you may not be true for me."
In the strange version of church presented in 7th Heaven, I'm not sure the biblical view of sin, justification, redemption and repentance was every clearly shown. Those seeking their theology from such a show will always be sadly lacking. A liberal, feel-good, tickle-the-ears, message was often presented in an imaginary church that was always way too full to be an accurate representation.
As for Stephen Collins, people are irate that their imaginary pastor has apparently fallen.
Personally, I never viewed Collins as a pastor. He was the adventurer from "Tales of the Gold Monkey" and Commander Decker from Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Ultimately, he was none of these characters and perhaps that's a revelation of a deeper problem in our culture.
Behind these false worlds and imaginary characters in film and television is a man. A real man. A man named Stephen who at this juncture must feel as if his world is falling apart. This is a man who seems to be caught in a sin that cannot just be "personal" because it impacts others (the three alleged victims) and a multitude of fans.
What should happen?
Justice. There's no debate on this matter here. Accountability for such heinous acts is not something to be ignored. At this point, the police and legal system is involved and must do their jobs. The court of public opinion has already spoken, but, as always, there's most likely more to the story than has been made known.
In the midst of this, the young girls need healing as do their families. The girls are unknown to the public (and should remain so) and yet, they need to know the healing touch of a loving God who is true and pure. This is my prayer for them. Sadly, as the story cycle ends and everyone has forgotten this instance, these girls will not have, so join me in praying for their hearts.
Stephen needs help as well (in the midst of his consequences.) I pray that he will encounter the true God (not the imaginary one who plays a character on a television show) in a very real way. May he gain identity not in characters, roles, titles or even accusations (even if true) but in Jesus Christ.
While some would say this is just an "entertainment" story and does not impact the church, I beg to differ. For some, the imaginary "Reverend Camden" was the father they always wanted, the pastor they always desired and the image of hope and right. Now that this story has come to light, these images are gone and many have been fooled by the Enemy to believe that all is hopeless and that no one offers Truth.
May we offer clear images of Christ, not skewed ones.
May we offer true church, not imaginary ones.
May we be obedient to God as we wear His name. We are his ambassadors.