My conversion story began with a novel. A novel by a layman, G.K. Chesterton, that was recommended to me by a rock musician.
If the novel's cover said it was written by "St. G.K. Chesterton," I would not have read it. I read it because it looked like the kind of secular entertainment that interested me. And so I was hooked—caught by grace, so that I might become a little Christian ichthus.
So, when I read Pope Francis's recent comments about how the Internet may be used "to lead people to the luminous face of the Lord," to meet “often hurting or lost” real people and offer them “real reasons for hope," I believe it—for I know that grace can reach people through arts and entertainment media.
That's why I believe that the new Internet television sitcom "Ordinary," created and produced by lay Catholics, is so important.
I describe "Ordinary" as "The Office" if it were conceived by J.F. Powers, with Flannery O'Connor as script doctor. Watch the video I've posted above, which presents a turning point in the relationship between a newly ordained Catholic priest and his kind but immature younger brother.
When was the last time you saw a sitcom depict the faith as it is lived, showing both respect for the Church's beauty and honesty about the times our own sins mar the face of the Bride of Christ?
When was the last time you saw any form of mass media give an honest account of Church teachings on human sexuality, the reality of sin, and the real possibility of healing, repentance, and conversion?
When was the last time you saw a cleric depicted in TV or film who is neither a "whiskey priest," nor an abuser, nor a plaster saint, but a real human being striving to bear the twin burdens of being a brother and a spiritual father, even when it hurts?
If you like what you see, watch the rest of the episodes, and—most importantly—between now and midnight next Tuesday, December 17, be a part of the producers' Kickstarter campaign to fund the second season.
A show like "Ordinary" can awaken grace in Catholics who have been away from the faith. It can also encourage those need to know that they are not alone in their struggles to integrate their faith into their everyday lives. And it can also show the world that, while respecting ourselves as Catholics, we can also laugh at ourselves. Stephen Colbert has the humor, but he does not always have the respect. We need to present both, and "Ordinary" does just that.