Friday, May 27, 2022

Seeing God’s love through a reality TV show

| November 11, 2021 1:00 AM

I am writing this on Tuesday, Nov. 9. It is 6 a.m., which is 12 hours away from my favorite television show. I try to tune in each week on the History Channel for this reality series. It has been going on strong now for about a decade: “The Curse of Oak Island.”

This is the story of brothers Rick and Marty Lagina and their business partner, Craig Tester, along with an ever-growing team.

Their goal has been to uncover possible buried treasure on Oak Island, which is a privately owned 57-acre island in Lunenburg County on the south shore of Nova Scotia, Canada. The site has a rich history – tales of gold and silver as well as a well-documented history of those who were doggedly determined to unearth it.

My wife, Jeanne, finds a great deal of humor in my obsession with what is happening on Oak Island. She smiles when I announce to her on a weekly basis, “My favorite show, ‘Diggin’ Dirt,’ is tonight!”

On “The Curse of Oak Island,” there is a plethora of personalities. I especially enjoy the exploits of metal detection expert, Gary Drayton, who hails from Grimsby, Lincolnshire, England, and has the accent to prove it. He has unearthed a great many artifacts over the years.

I have found his enthusiasm to be infectious. Drayton is one among many members of a diverse group. The Laginas have affectionately coined a name for them: “the Fellowship of the Dig.”

It is obvious that this pair has grown a great deal in their decades-long quest, from their beginnings as wide-eyed youth, having read a January 1965 piece in Reader’s Digest on the story of Oak Island, to wiser, older men, with a more mature sense of values.

This theme of growth is one reason why I love the show. The brothers have openly acknowledged that this whole treasure hunting thing is now much larger than themselves.

Such revelation runs counter to the typical human behavior of selfish greed associated with the pursuit of buried treasure. Along the way their quest has evolved beyond themselves to become a shared pursuit. This I find both unique and refreshing.

Within Christianity, there is the term “me and Jesus,” or “my personal Lord and Savior.” In my way of thinking, these are quite good beginnings. However, if there is no growth beyond the notion, much can be lost, and far less discovered.

Such folks need growth that reaches outside of themselves and in a different way. In my view, this requires less moral judgment and more merely acting in the name of God’s love.

I have heard the term “radical love” when people talk about Jesus. This means that there is nothing typical about it.

If one walks by the notion of “me and Jesus,” then, hopefully, one gets to know him in the process – this fellow who shared table with sinners.

Proof of this would be to arrive at the understanding of not hording the treasure of God’s love, but learning how to share it broadly and freely.

Walter is pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Moses Lake and has served as parish pastor for more than 30 years.