Hollywood Goes for the Jugular

Sometimes I can’t help myself – I simply have to comment. Larry King, commenting on the controversy raised by the Discovery Channel’s latest silliness – the bones of Jesus – asks the seminal question: “Can this be the end of the Easter Bunny?”

 Surely both East and West could get together and issue a joint communique: “There is no such thing as an Easter bunny,” and that would help Hollywood feel better.

But I am personally reassured that my television doesn’t need to be on much during this Lenten season if that is what CNN takes for “news.”

Perhaps T.S. Eliot was right when he saw the world end, “not with a bang, but a whimper.”

Mark my words, they’ll be attacking Santa Claus next. Is nothing sacred?

About Fr. Stephen Freeman

Fr. Stephen is a retired Archpriest of the Orthodox Church in America, Pastor Emeritus of St. Anne Orthodox Church in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. He is also author of Everywhere Present: Christianity in a One-Storey Universe, and Face to Face: Knowing God Beyond Our Shame, as well as the Glory to God podcast series on Ancient Faith Radio.





26 responses to “Hollywood Goes for the Jugular”

  1. Alexia Avatar

    How has it come to be that Christianity is so secularized? I’ve been told I’m not a good mother because we don’t do “Santa Claus”. He can go the way of the Easter Bunny as far as I’m concerned. Because nothing reflects the ressurection of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ like chocolate rodents (note heavy sarcasm).

  2. handmaidleah Avatar

    I have actually separated the two, Western “Easter” and Pascha; they are just very different in my mind. Pascha is holy, special, a time to participate in the Resurrection of Christ, I have no idea what goes on at Easter anymore, except new dresses and bunnies. It seems secular and superficial to me now. Pascha! There is no substitue!
    As to the media, if I could get my husband to get rid of the television I would be the happiest woman on earth!
    If ever there was a demonic invention that was it. It just sucks you in and nothing is good on it. Forget praying!
    Please pray for me, because I could be heading to the pawn shop…
    With love in Christ,
    the handmaid,

  3. cp Avatar

    “It seems secular and superficial to me now. Pascha! There is no substitue!”

    I’m not so sure this is fair. I am new to Orthodoxy, but it seems to me that to imply that the Orthodox have the only REAL Easter seems just wrong, just as it seems just wrong to imply that other Christians are less than REAL Christians. Last year I celebrated Easter as a Lutheran – it was as joyful and rich and sacred a celebration of our Lord’s resurrection as I’ve ever experienced in the Orthodox Church (I have attended an OCA parish on and off for several years and been to Pascha services many times). There was absolutely nothing secular about it.

    We must keep in mind that there are many Christians who might say that Orthodox Pascha is all about kulich and red eggs…


  4. Don Bradley Avatar
    Don Bradley

    We have 4 kids, and we do it all. Starting Holy Wednesday we fixate on the services at the parish. My two oldest like the all-nighter Holy Thursday the most. By Saturday we’re all hungry and tired. Bright week is a feast. Pascha Sunday we have an egg hunt, Easter baskets, ham, etc. Bright week is all burgers all the time. And yes, I have two kids who still believe in the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus. We leave carrots for the Bunny and cookies for Santa.

    I love to debate the Western Christians as much as anybody, but I find their expression of faith and celebration genuine. A former co-worker who is a devout Catholic and I call each other to wish each other well on our respective celebrations. We’re all celebrating the Resurrection, and they’ll be resurrected too on the Last Day.

    I like when there are two Easters, that way we hit Wal-Mart for the candy sale on Holy Monday and save a few bucks.

  5. Fatherstephen Avatar

    Most cultural accretions are perfectly normal and harmless and should not surprise us. It’s the crass commercialization of mass culture that hollywood sells that tends to bug me. But, actually, I thought Larry King’s lead in question to have been hilarious. The attack was on the sublime, while he introduced it with the ridiculous.

    I’ve taken Easter/Pascha very seriously all my Christian life (and kept a very full Holy Week when I was an Anglican). But Hollywood is not about Western Christianity or any other religion. It’s about Hollywood. That’s all.

    Don’t forget to laugh.

  6. Don Bradley Avatar
    Don Bradley

    I like Larry King; but I also know what he is. He is critical of religion and promotes a liberal political agenda while claiming neutrality. Larry has an agenda when it comes to religion,

  7. NewTrollObserver Avatar

    For what it’s worth (maybe 2 cents), Larry is married to a Mormon, and describes himself as an agnostic Jew.

  8. fatherstephen Avatar

    Gentlemen, be kind to Larry. It’s not about him. I simply thought his comments to be humorous, nothing more.

  9. handmaidleah Avatar

    I stand by what I said earlier, for the vast majority of people Easter is a one Sunday a year, special day service, probably at sunrise. For the Orthodox, it is the culmination of 50 (55 including meatfare) days of prayer, fasting and alsmgiving, that has a whole week of rejoicing! I never experienced anything like it as a Protestant, ever. Aside from the theological differences, this isn’t just a remembrance of an event, we mean it when we say Christ is Risen, I’ll leave it to Fr. Stephen to explain the nuances of that to those unfamiliar with our particulars.
    Ahh, I cannot wait for that joyous and bright day, but I know what’s coming and I have to get through it first. They are going to Crucify my Lord…
    As fer Larry King, told Denis Prager he agreed with a Boston Globe reporter that if you didn’t agree with the Global Warming experts then you were as bad as Nazi fascists during the holocaust or words to that effect. We’ve all gone insane if this is what its come to!
    the handmaid,

  10. cp Avatar

    “For the Orthodox, it is the culmination of 50 (55 including meatfare) days of prayer, fasting and alsmgiving, that has a whole week of rejoicing! I never experienced anything like it as a Protestant, ever.”

    Well, like Father Stephen, I took my Lent, Holy Week and Easter very seriously when I was a Protestant, too. For MANY Protestants I know (and for me when I was a Lutheran) Lent involves the very same disciplines of fasting, prayer and almsgiving. Easter for them is the same culmination of preparation for the feast as it is for those of us who are Orthodox. At my Lutheran parish last year, each liturgy during the great 50 days felt like Easter Day all over again.

    While I have certainly experienced some Easters where the celebration of resurrection was a one-day, one hour ordeal, I was also at an Orthodox Pascha celebration one year where someone in the church had a fit during the liturgy because they used Greek music to celebrate Pascha and not Russian music.

    You can’t judge all western Christians by your experiences in a few western churches, just as I couldn’t judge all eastern Christians by my experiences in this one. Sure, there are western Christians who don’t observe Lent and Pascha in its fulness – but there are also Orthodox Christians who don’t observe them either. The truth is, Pascha is the greatest of days for ALL Christians! It’s not an “us and them” thing. (Wait! didn’t St. John Chrysostom say something about this in his great homily for Pascha?)

    I am glad that this year Christians in both the eastern and western traditions will celebrate our Lord’s resurrection on the same day – what a blessing!


  11. Michael Bauman Avatar
    Michael Bauman

    None of us keep the fast as we ought, all of us engage in “worldly” celebrations of one sort or another. At my parish we not only have C&E or should that be C&P Christians, we have a few that are Palm Sunday Christians who come to Palm Sunday only to take pictures of their kids and grandkids in their Easter finery clicking and talking all throught the service every year. The Church is full! Then we have a handfull for Bridegroom Matins. The only way I have been able to come to terms with such stuff is to recognize that what is happening is exactly what happened at the Jesus’ original entry into Jerusalem. People are there for the festival and vanish when the going gets tough. It matters not whether one is Catholic, Orthodox or Protestant. Following Christ to the Cross is what matters. I don’t recall anywhere on Fr. Stephen’s list of reasons to become Orthodox the feeling of superiority one gains over others.

  12. kh.kathryn Avatar

    I believe it was Billy Graham who said something to the effect of, “If I ever found a church without sin and corruption, I wouldn’t join it for fear that I would ruin it.”

    I have been a witness to the resurrection in both Protestant and Orthodox Churches, American, Russian and Antiochian, and each experience of it is different. Sometimes I feel deeply moved- sometimes to tears, and others, I can’t stop thinking about how late it is and how tired I am, or how I miss the Russian music or how I miss singing “Lift High The Cross” with a glorious pipe organ accompaniment.

    We are all sinners, and every church is full of them. Rightly so— when you go to the hospital, you expect to find sick people!

    May God grant that we all have a joyous remainder of Lent, and a Glorious Pascha!

  13. Fatherstephen Avatar


  14. Fatherstephen Avatar

    My dearest Khouria Kathryn,

    Tenneessee runs deep in me these days. It was the strains of “Lift High the Cross” that I heard in my head when I awoke today, but Hank Williams, “Why can’t I free your doubtful mind and melt your cold, cold heart?” A very Lenten meditation.

    He’s sort of a southern Romanus the Melodist, don’t you think?

  15. damewigginsoflee Avatar

    Ahh, Larry Larry, quite contrary. He makes baby Jesus cry!

  16. kh.kathryn Avatar

    Maybe you should put one of those new-fangled tape player contraptions in the church to play songs as people come to confession. “Your cheatin’ heart will make you WEEP.”

  17. Fatherstephen Avatar

    You see, my dear, you are just like me. Country music does have much truth to be found in it. The lyrics just fit our lives down here. But I’ll refrain from scandalizing everybody.

    But your cheatin heart will make you weep. This is indeed so. If it doesn’t you’re in serious trouble.

  18. handmaidleah Avatar

    Dear CP, et al, I am not judging anyone or their choices, however I feel alot coming my way, but it doesn’t matter, just because I have sought and found Truth in Orthodoxy and found other traditions to be lacking in that Truth doesn’t mean I am judging them or their faith in God.
    There are reasons that one becomes Orthodox and I would hope that includes the fact that “we have found the True Faith” as we sing every Sunday. That aside, I agree that there are those of nominal faith in Orthodoxy, that is how I found out about Orthodoxy; from some Nativity & Pascha Orthodox. What joy that I did by the grace of God.
    So please reign it in, its a season of peace and forgiveness, I beg yours if I have offended you. Some of us are just not as ecumenical and that is our failing, that doesn’t mean we are bad, it just means that we are staunch lovers and defenders of Orthodoxy.
    with love in Christ,
    the handmaid,

  19. kh.kathryn Avatar

    Indeed, thank God that we have found the true Faith.

    I think, though, that its also important during this season of forgiveness, to apply that spirit to our religious pasts. Whatever it was that we received– many of us during our spiritual grounding in protestant churches– was part of the grace that brought us to where we are now.

    One of my favorite parts about the Orthodox Church is that we don’t seek to say where God is *not.* The truth of the resurrection is out there, and I think many people would take offense upon hearing someone say that it isn’t present in the protestant churches, because inevitably, that’s where so many of us first encountered it– where it first seeped into our souls. Thank God.

  20. cp Avatar

    Amen, Khouria!


  21. handmaidleah Avatar

    Dear Khouria,
    Puhleese! I never said anything remotely like the truth of the Resurrection not being in Protestant churches. I said that the two celebrations are not the same. I am so done with this topic; I have re-read what I wrote a dozen times, I stand by what I wrote, if everybody doesn’t get it, fine by me. The west and the east are very different in, apparently my not humble opinon, but ultimately it just doesn’t matter because it isn’t that important.
    And if Protestants are offended, it won’t be the first time I have offended them, they apparently have easy buttons to push, not that I mean to push any I don’t. I just wish people would READ!
    Lord have mercy on me a sinner because nobody else will!
    the handmaid,

  22. Fatherstephen Avatar

    It’s always my experience that postings, like email, have their weakness because we don’t really hear each other well. Oddly, I agree and hear the whole of it. We’ve pretty well finished this subject. May God give us peace with one another and grace to pray.

    It’s also true that we come to Orthodoxy, frequently from different backgrounds and experiences, and occasionally express that differently. It’s not an argument about Orthodoxy, just some differences in other matters. May God keep us in His peace.

    I’m working on a piece on icon screens. Offer a prayer for that if you will and I may get it posted before bedtime.

    May God have mercy indeed.

  23. Jack Avatar

    Father Stephen,

    I’ve misplaced your email address. If you would, could you direct me to an Orthodox parish in the Charlottesville area?


  24. Meg Lark Avatar

    “Rearrange the letters of Santa. Could it be….SATAN???” — Dana Carvey as the Church Lady on SNL

  25. Kirk Avatar

    Let me tell you all, from the standpoint of my tradition, even those paltry Protestant Easter traditions appear rich. You see, if you step foot inside a Church of Christ on Easter Sunday, you’re not likely to hear anything about the resurrection. Indeed, you might hear a sermon about how we are not commanded to set aside any special days, and how Easter is of pagan origins. Why is that? Well, we’re supposed to celebrate the resurrection (as well as the death and burial) every first day of the week.

    Don’t get me wrong: there are aspects of my heritage for which I am grateful, but celebration of Easter/Pascha is not one of them. (Nor the Nativity, which (don’t you know) is likely to have occurred in the spring since the shepherds were in the fields tending their sheep.)

    Lord, have mercy!

  26. Fatherstephen Avatar

    Yes, the landscape is very varied out there. I’m glad I am where I am, and grateful for much that came before – I could have had much less exposure to the Tradition than I had before becoming Orthodox. But, indeed, it’s very varied.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe to blog via email

Support the work

Your generous support for Glory to God for All Things will help maintain and expand the work of Fr. Stephen. This ministry continues to grow and your help is important. Thank you for your prayers and encouragement!

Latest Comments

  1. Greetings, Father Stephen, Thank you so much for this reflection and all of the tremendous amount of work you have…

Read my books

Everywhere Present by Stephen Freeman

Listen to my podcast