Until this week, I had never heard of Angus T Jones. I’ve also never watched Two and a Half Men, so I’m not in a position to comment on the content of the show, or its compatibility with the Christian faith. I suspect that, as with much in the world of entertainment, the old adage ‘one man’s trash is another man’s (or woman’s) treasure’ probably rings true. Two people can watch, read or listen to the same thing and come to two very different conclusions about how permissible it is for them personally.
But I was slightly disturbed this week as Jones publicly and crassly lambasted the TV show that, for the best part of a decade, and indeed for half of his life, has paid him a lucrative salary (reported to be in the region of $300,000 per episode) and has propelled him to national – and international – stardom.
Jones, who maintains that he never drank and remains a virgin, claims to have discovered his Christian faith, one that he cannot reconcile with what he describes as the “filth”, pot jokes and sexual innuendo that fans of the show watch him act out regularly on their television sets.
I can empathise with his view that his job and his newfound faith in God are incompatible, but what I can’t abide is the vehement and vitriolic way in which he set about what appeared from the video to be a cruel betrayal of the trust of the network and producers to whom he is responsible.
I try to align my life with that of Jesus, and as such, I find the kind of attitude displayed by Jones hard to swallow. Christ teaches us to love our enemies; he instructs his followers to take their grievances first directly to those involved, before escalation is necessary. Elsewhere, we’re shown that integrity and shrewdness are requisite qualities to those who say they love God. The Old Testament books of Daniel and Jeremiah talk of working conscientiously in the world. Proverbs says we are to be diligent in all we do. In his letter to the Romans, the Apostle Paul writes in chapter 12: “Do not be conformed to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”
One pattern of this world is, oftentimes, a cynicism that surreptitiously and ubiquitously undermines the very fabric of the universe that was created by a God of love. Like Angus T Jones, I believe that if your career is incompatible with your convictions, it’s right to disassociate yourself from it, but I believe it should be done with grace, love and respect.
Jones has missed an opportunity to use his platform to show God’s abounding love and compassion; to raise awareness of the myriad injustices prevalent in the world; to say or do something more worthwhile than stirring up a peripheral and subjective debate about the virtues or perils of a popular American sitcom. With hindsight, and a few more years’ experience I hope he will come to realise that his scathing and seemingly impulsive attack was unnecessary, unseemly and un-Christian.