If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant; if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome. Anne Bradstreet

And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them. Ether 12:27

Yea, all things which come of the earth, in the season therof, are made for the benefit and the use of man, both to please the eye and to gladden the heart; Yea, for food and for raiment, for taste and for smell, to strengthen the body and to enliven the soul. And it pleaseth God that he hath given all these things unto man; for unto this end were they made to be used, with judgment, not to excess, neither by extortion. D&C 59:18-20

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Christianity on The Survivor

In past seasons, various contestants on Survivor have announced they intend to play according to Christian principles, and either failed to do so, or didn't go very far in the game.  Hence, most people believe it's impossible for a Christian to win at the game of Survivor, which seems to require a lot of promise-breaking, blind-siding, and betrayal.

This season is different.  Two very prominent Christians are still very much in the game -- Matt and Mike.  It's all possible because of a new plot to the game - Redemption Island.  When contestants are voted off, they are not sent home immediately, but to Redemption Island, where they can keep themselves in the game by winning a duel.  Of course, the concept of Redemption is very Christian.

Matt, a member of the Omatepe tribe, was the first person to be voted out at Tribal Council and sent to Redemption Island.  After winning 6 duels, he was brought back to join the merged tribes.  Matt struggled with the choices he had -- of remaining loyal to the tribe who voted him out or seeking new alliances.  He did resist the temptation to join with the outnumbered Zapatera tribe, but did take steps to ally with Andrea to fool Rob into thinking they were on his side until the opportunity came up to eliminate Rob.  Matt then had a bout of conscience, and went and confessed to Rob what he had done.  I suppose many ridiculed him for doing that, calling it stupid.  But it was the right Christian thing to do.  Matt was promptly voted out and sent back to Redemption Island.

Mike is an Iraqi vet, and while I did not agree with his decision to help eliminate Russell, it wasn't a blind-side or a broken promise, and certainly not a betrayal.  He did what he thought was best for his tribe.  The fault in it was that Zapatera intentionally threw the immunity challenge so they could eliminate Russell.

Of course Mike was next to go after Matt as he was the biggest threat to Rob among the remaining Zapatera tribe members.

So now we've had Mike and Matt at Redemption Island.  Matt has not been silent about his struggle to deal with God's will concerning him.  At times he was ready to give up, then recommitted to God that he would stay as long as God wanted him in the game.  He left it in God's hands, willing to accept His will, but put forth his full effort in the contests, which now involved more than one person, with the loser being the one sent to the Jury.  Mike and Matt have remained in the game for 3 contests now, but this last contest is the one that was truly remarkable.

Matt's Christianity had its effect on Julie, who when eliminated by Matt and Mike, promised that she was going to find a Church when she got home and go regularly.  Matt's actions, however, far surpassed that.

The contest was between four of them -- Matt, Mike, Ralph, and Steve.  3 would remain alive, and the loser sent home.  But the first one finished got a special prize -- a visit from a family member of friend.  After being out thee so many days, that can be a real morale booster.  They all had someone waiting in the wings, and they knew who their family/friend was because they had previously seen short video greetings from them.

Mike won the contest, and so he had a choice.  Enjoy the afternoon with his mother, give the prize to Matt and Ralph who remained alive in the game, or give it to the 6 Omatepe tribe members in the grandstand.  Mike felt that God wanted him to follow the 2nd great commandment, to love his neighbor as himself, but he in fact followed the more explicit, love your enemies, do good to them with despitefully use you and persecute you, and he gave the prize to the 6 Omatepe members.

Matt was in reverent awe, saying he didn't think he could have done that, but he was glad Mike did.  Ralph was angry.

Did it get any votes for Mike if he ends up in the final 3?  I don't have any doubt that is not the reason Mike did it -- he did it because he felt the Spirit of God telling him to be a Christian first and foremost.

For once, Survivor has selected Christian contestants that truly do live their Christian values - no matter what's at stake.

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