The Gospel Coalition, a once-bastion of all things conservative and Evangelical, is facing an image problem.
It all started when TGC published an article entitled “Badly Broken”, in which Chris McNerney and Daniel Lee review AMC’s show Breaking Bad. They offer a spiritual analyses of the show’s main character, Walter White, and his devolution from high school chemistry teacher to ruthless meth lord.
In a bold move, Lee and McNerney echo Alan Sepinwall’s claim that Walter was “capable of these things” (lying, extortion, murder) all along. He did not Break Bad, contrary to the show’s title, Walter already was bad.
“Walt wasn’t a bad person because he manufactured narcotics; he manufactured narcotics because he was a bad person, and the long-term effects of unrepentant sin gradually harden him into a ruthless psychopath.”
At one point the authors allegedly wax poetic and, according to some, blurr the lines between constructive Christian criticism and outright admiration for the show;
“The first cook. Drip. Killing Krazy 8. Drip. Stealing methylamine. Drip. Poisoning a little child, blowing up a nursing home, murdering his partner. Drip, drip, drip. With each calcified deposit, what starts off as an instinct to provide for his family mutates into a monstrous obsession to preserve the empire that Walt has established with his own two hands. Walt has been so engulfed by the darkness that he is no longer fully human. And that’s because sin is a force that refuses to let up.”
Nobody could have predicted how TGC’s traditionalist constituency would respond next. At first it was a few confused comments posted to the Coalition’s blog, but soon Churches were severing their associations with the group.
“I just don’t understand,” Richard Pascal laments, “how could The Gospel Coalition not see? There’s blatant nudity in one of the show’s episodes; it shows a topless woman for almost five seconds! I understand that Christians must keep up with the times, but how could TGC justify glorifying a show that contains nudity?!”
Some are saying that the Coalition has gone too far in its attempt to enter the popular culture conversation.
“Jesus said that we should not be of this world,” Reverend Bohr says, “watching nudity on television is diametrically opposed to this.”
The Coalition declined to comment. How they will respond to these developments is anybody’s guess.