On CBS’ Criminal Minds and how it (sort of) Relates to Jesus

I’m all about CBS’ show Criminal Minds. Always have been. Although I must admit that being in college with limited access to TV and no time for Netflix caused an unfortunate lapse in my keeping up with it. Since I’ve been at Mundelein Seminary I’ve been trying to play catch up with the show on Netflix and have been enjoying every minute of it.

When you watch one episode right after another on Netflix, the rhythm of each episode becomes pretty apparent: initial kill, gathering at the BAU including the ever popular “wheels up in 20” from Hotch, arrival in setting city, investigation, etc etc etc………all of this leads up to the climactic scene which almost always involves a car chase and a shoot out and then the team busting into some warehouse where the killer is about to off the final victim but THANK GOODNESS THE BAU ARRIVED JUST IN TIME…AGAIN because inevitably the killer has a gun or crowbar or power tool or some other horrible object and has the victim in a choke hold threatening “to do it!” But for some reason, it never gets old.

In dealing with pastoral situations, we are taught to remember the line our mothers used when they encouraged us not to judge or be gossipy on the playground: everyone is struggling with something; everyone has skeletons in the closet. Maybe we’re not at the level of a complete psychotic break or at risk for becoming serial killers, but chances are, whatever you’re struggling with is accompanied by an unwelcome dose of self-condemnation, self-hatred, shame, and the desire to just put it all to rest. If you experience this as regularly as I do, congratulations: you’re a successfully emoting human being.

Too often we let these problems and struggles overtake us and overpower us; in a word, we become both killer and victim in the climax of an episode of Criminal Minds. I’ve got my soul, my heart, my brain in a choke hold and I’m just ready to have a full out freak out sesh real quick when, all of a sudden, right on cue, in busts Jesus with his light saber of mercy ready to rescue me.

I don’t know, maybe that’s a little far-fetched but you get the idea. Jesus is, among other things, the conqueror of sin and death and the bringer of light and mercy. I know it’s cliche, but it also happens to be true: God is Father and protector. Start by telling him about what’s got you down, what’s got you worried; I promise he’ll answer you, but not usually in the way you expect. You just gotta have patience, and you just gotta believe.

Let Hotch and the BAU handle the murder cases. God’s got your issues under control. There’s something remarkably freeing about that.

To God be the glory,

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