Sunday, December 2, 2007

Random Musings

I suppose I should answer the question I proposed to ya'll over a week ago.

What person(s) are you most grateful for and why?

Obviously, my mom and dad are the people for whom I am most grateful due to their involvement in my life for the past nineteen years. It's truly been a remarkable journey thus far and I can honestly say there have been no one more loving, generous, and committed to me in my entire life. I know it's not always like that for everyone, as we have seen in the lives of characters like Kellie, Grady, or Eric. But regardless of your present situation, I pray each one of you would find someone in who will pour into you the same kind of love my parents have shown me. Whether this be your parents, your pastor, a mentor, or even a close friend, may you be blessed just as I have been these last couple decades.

Okay, onto more exciting discussion! I trust you, like myself, are all expecting The Highest Stakes II to be released on Oneplace sometime over the next couple days. But my question for you is this: What do you think about the latest controversial issue into which Odyssey has delved? We just came off another emotionally powerful two-parter with Life in the Third Person, which also centered around a broken family. This time, instead of a divorce, gambling is the source of the conflict. There hasn't been much discussion on the message boards about The Highest Stakes I, but there was one post in particular which caught my eye.

I, too, was very surprised to hear from Grady's dad. When it was announced that all these story arcs would be concluded this season, I was sure it would be the season of happy endings . . . I do like happy endings, but having so many at the same time seems very unrealistic. Much as I was glad that Mandy's storyline ended happily, I hope this one isn't quite so perfect. And, I think a bittersweet ending is quite possible (and would be my choice).

LizzieG, the author of this message, made a good point regarding the "problem" of having happy endings. We could have a lengthy debate about whether or not it was unrealistic for Stephen and Rachel Straussburg to fix their marriage like they did, but for the sake of your time, I'll save us the trouble.

Consider this. What is the purpose of Adventures in Odyssey? Showing the harsh reality of life or showing the hope we have in Christ? I would argue for the latter. Had Stephen and Rachel Straussburg not gotten back together, what message would that have conveyed? That divorces happen to Christian couples, too? That's all well and good, but we already know that! To be honest, I don't believe Odyssey shies away from reality at all. Just look at the opening scene of The Chosen One I. If anything, the fact that Stephen and Rachel were even contemplating divorce as an option illustrated reality in itself. So to say that the Straussburg arc was unrealistic is besides the point, regardless of whether or not that assertion is true. People don't need to hear yet another example of a failed marriage. What kids (and listeners of all ages) need to be taught is that marriages can be saved... through prayer and through the power of Christ.

I believe the same can be said of Grady's father, Carson McKay. Sure, it might be satisfying to see a bittersweet ending with him having to abandon his family once more. Once again I ask, what message would that convey?

There have been individuals who have complained that Odyssey has become too soap-operatic in its style of writing. I believe the contrary. Soap operas are specifically conflict-driven, in which there are relational, marital, or financial issues that plague its characters. Is healthy, Biblical resolution ever demonstrated in those shows, whereby the interests of all parties involved are satisfied? Hardly. For the most part, Odyssey has set itself apart from soap operas by showing both the conflict and the resolution, and all in the context of a Biblical worldview. When it starts to depart from its values and principles and no longer teaches its listeners a moral or Biblical lesson, then it can become soap-operatic. But as far as I'm concerned, the writers and producers at Focus have done a masterful job remaining faithful to their ultimate goal-- to share the love and hope of Jesus Christ.