by Terry M. Smith
In case you’ve missed it so far, the six-part CBC drama series PURE set in Canada focuses on a Mennonite minister dealing with drug-running within his community.
Some people are concerned that the practices of some Mennonite groups are being confused or inaccurately depicted. Still, pointing out inaccuracies does little to communicate effectively with some non-Mennonites who think Mennonite groups considered “conservative” and “traditional” are confusing and odd. I am content to let others spend their energy on this.
Another concern: Mennonites who deal in drugs—even if, in reality, a tiny group—should stop. The drug trade from Mexico to Canada harms Mennonites and others who are not involved in it. Violence does happen. We should support efforts to reduce the involvement and the violence.
I will watch the entire short series. The central concern of mine, as a minister, is how the series will ultimately portray the Christian faith. Will the series continue an all-too-common Canadian media portrayal of the Christian Church as outdated, powerless, and with morally ambiguous figures? Such a depiction conveniently reinforces values of secular Canadians, and is used to say that the Christian Church has lost the right to call people to conversion.
Will preacher Noah and his family, in the end, give up their faith or will a chastened leader and congregation continue to serve Jesus Christ?
The script is putty in the director’s and producer’s hands, but given that Jesus, the most important figure in human history, rose from the dead after being rejected, the real value of the Christian Church, with its message and its community, is decided by Him.