By James B. De Young, ThD
My wife and I recently enjoyed an evening together in our home viewing “Anne of Green Gables,” produced on VHS in 1985. There is a scene in which Anne Shirley rehearses the Highway Man before a literary society. Anne’s dramatic presentation earns an encore. As this scene drew to a close I turned to my wife and said: “This is what people did before there was TV and the movies.”
We may smile at the simplicity of those days-around the turn of the 20st century.It seems that the older I get the more I am moved by a film like “Anne of Green Gables.”Why is this? I think that it is because our life experiences have identified with the values expressed in this film. Or, rather, this story has reinforced the values of mainstream Judeo-Christian America.
The issue I want to address is how the media influence our understanding of God and how this impacts ideology. In “Anne of Green Gables” there are at least a dozen references to God. The most powerful line is when Anne departs for college and Marilla and Matthew are left standing alone on the train platform after saying goodby, and Marilla says: “Providence knew we needed her.” She was referring to how their orphan girl had impacted their lives for good, for kindness, for love. Themes of judgment, accountability, confession of sin, forgiveness, and innocence prevail in the film. We understand that God holds us accountable for our sins; but we also experience the cleansing of conscience and guilt that confession brings. The name “Jesus” is even used with reverence.
So what media influenced the author of “Anne of Green Gables”? Certainly there were no radio, TV, films, CD’s, DVD’s, IPods, etc., etc. Certainly the number one source would be the Bible, since the concept of God in “Anne of Green Gables” parallels how God is presented in the Bible. All Christians would agree.