Tuesday, January 8, 2013


A bit of followup on prior post about downton abbey - very ethical review from christian standpoint.  AGREED, HOWEVER, my opinion offers THAT MATURE CHRISTIANS CAN BE DISCERNING OF THESE FACTS WHILE BEING ENTERTAINED BY THE STORY QUALITY AND DISTINGUISHED ACTORS.


Spiritual Lessons from Downton Abbey

By Candy Arrington
Contributing Writer

CBN.com - The third season of the popular and critically acclaimed PBS Masterpiece Classic series, Downton Abbey, began this past Sunday. Through this series, we gain a window into the intricate lives and relationships of the Crawley family, pre- and post-WWI British nobility, and their household. On the surface, this series may appear to be just another saga of upstairs, downstairs, the haves and the have-nots, but on a deeper level, spiritual lessons emerge.
Consider Edith (Laura Carmichael), the middle sister, who is always in the shadow of her older, lovelier sister Mary (Michelle Dockery), the daughter her parents prefer. Edith longs to be noticed by men and affirmed by her family. She clamors for the limelight and is willing to do just about anything to get the attention she craves. Edith is not above betraying Mary, "outing" her sin as revenge for Mary ruining her chances with the suitor Edith considers her only hope of marriage. Edith is so intent on destroying Mary she fails to realize her actions are also sinful.
Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye. (Matthew 7:3)
Certainly the rivalry between Edith and Mary highlights the prevalence of betrayal among those who claim to love each other and is reminiscent of Judas betraying Jesus for 30 pieces of silver. Like Edith, Judas' decision was likely an impulsive one, with no forethought to the chain of events betrayal sets in motion. For this type of decision, there are always consequences—broken relationships, remorse and guilt. But betrayers rarely think beyond the moment, and often lives are altered or destroyed by a few words.
The Dowager Countess of Grantham and Lady Mary Crawley in Downton Abbey
Then there is Violet, Dowager Countess of Grantham (Maggie Smith), the epitome of pride and arrogance. She lives by a set of unwritten rules, ones that anyone who is anyone would know by heart. Like the Pharisees, the Dowager Countess adheres to the letter of these unwritten rules with little or no room for deviation. While she sometimes shows a softer side, she is always aware of her status in society and expects others to acknowledge her position and cater to her.
But Jesus' parable in Luke 14:7-11 stresses the idea of letting others elevate us rather than taking a position of honor and then being asked to give it up.
Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. (Romans 12:3)
Jesus provided the ultimate picture of humility and servanthood.
Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. (Philippians 2:6-7)
The servants in Downton Abbey
Below-stairs, footman Thomas Barrow (Rob James-Collier) and lady’s maid Sarah O'Brien (Siobhan Finneran) are constantly scheming, plotting ways to elevate their own status and control the dynamics of the servants’ hierarchy. Like James and John, vying for places of honor (Mark 10:37), Thomas and O'Brien seek places of honor, frequently engineering circumstances to make the others appear incapable.
When John Bates (Brendan Coyle) arrives to take the position of valet, O'Brien and Barrow scheme to prove Bates is incapable of handling the job for which he was hired, the job Thomas wants. Many of us have a Barrow or O'Brien in our lives, someone intent on elevating themselves by pointing out our weaknesses. But scripture highlights a different aspect of weakness. The apostle Paul understood physical infirmity coupled with captivity, but for every aspect of his life that rendered him weak, he found strength through the power of the Holy Spirit.
My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. (II Cor. 12:19)
While Downton Abbey is dramatic fiction, on a broader canvas, the series highlights many of the issues we struggle with as Christians. It is ripe with "the human condition" and reminds us that no matter what our socio-economic position, we are all stumbling along without direction, searching for purpose and meaning, and tackling life issues in our own strength unless we know the Savior.
Candy Arrington's publishing credits include The Lookout, Encounter, Focus on the Family, Clubhouse, The Upper Room, The Writer andWriter's Digest. She is co-author of Aftershock: Help, Hope, and Healing in the Wake of Suicide (B & H Publishing Group) and When Your Aging Parent Needs Care: Practical Help for This Season of Life (Harvest House Publishers). Candy lives in Spartanburg, South Carolina, and is lover of historical fiction and vintage photographs. For more information about Candy, 
visit www.candyarrington.com.

Friends, your comments and opinions are welcome. please share and keep passing it forward!

In Christian Joy,

 I Just Discovered Downton Abbey - Ever Heard of It?

Well, Jaime Wright and Anne Love asked the same question I planned to ask this week....on their blogsite...Coffee Cups & Camisoles.  I hope they won't mind my sharing their question with you so you can visit their blog and add your comments.

I Just Discovered Downton Abbey
I just discovered Downton Abbey. Ever heard of it? Funny. :) It's not that I'd never heard of it -- I'd just not had the opportunity to immerse myself in early Edwardian England. Wowsers.

I'm still trying to put my finger on WHY Downton Abbey has become all the rage across television. Even young adult males are enamored with it. Although I can't say the same for my husband who is currently watching bow hunting while I rev up my laptop dvd player to start Season 2 of DA.

Is the dresses? The hats? The castle? The food? The butler? The footman? The lady's maid? The snipey sisters? The snarky grandmother? Ok. The snarky grandmother kills me. I love her.

There's a few things I noticed with Downton Abbey that I find interesting: Virtue was still desired, rank was important even among the servants (who knew there was a service hierarchy?), women really did support their husband's beliefs even if they weren't their own, and love was born out of duty as often as it was just love.

Capturing an era of romance, war, and history. I can't figure out if Downton Abbey is a glorified soap opera or a work of art?

What are your thoughts? Have you succombed to the Downton Abbey drug?
Posted by 
One of my genre favorites is Christian Historic Fiction, I don't know if this story fits it exactly, but it does adhere to good morals. Sins seem to reap their own reward through the consequences.  You might enjoy looking into it on your local PBS station.  In my area of Arlington, TX - it broadcasts on Sunday evenings at 8:00 PM.     Barb
  Wellll....where have I been for so long? Just happened to come across it clicking through the channels when I had escaped to the quiet of our bedroom while hubby was watching all the noisy bowl games. What have I done to myself? Now, I've a new addiction - this series - and I'd love to know what happened in series 1 & 2! The problem I have is understanding British...I do have a hearing problem, but come on....now I need to find out if I can find the closed captions button on the remote...if we have one. LOL... Please continue these fun discussions on this series, Jaime, great idea. Oh, I did recognize Shirley McClaine and thought her characterization of the American mother-in-law was well done. At least I could understand her American accent. I agree with Anne about the best line being Maggie Smith's "I'm sorry I thought you were the butler." Yes, I've just discovered Downton Abbey and I can't wait for next Sunday's episode.


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