Connecting with Culture
It’s been said that culture is ‘what we make of the world’, but what does that look like as Christians? How can we begin conversations about what’s goin...
The Reckoning is the BBC’s recent four-part drama narrating the rise and fall of DJ, television personality, charity fundraiser, practising Catholic, and sexual predator, Sir Jimmy Savile.
Steve Coogan embodies the glamour of Savile’s public persona and the menace of his intimate moments. We are given glimpses of a terrified loneliness behind the eyes and a superstitious religiosity used to convince the world – and himself – that all was forgivable.
Savile’s faith, as well performed as it is, is not one I would recognise. Jesus is only seen hanging on a cross – more a spectre of death than an emblem of redemption. And in death, Savile believes his own reckoning will come. His gamble is that God will allow his credentials to outweigh his crimes.
Interviews with Savile’s victims have not only informed The Reckoning’s script, but also bookend the episodes. Their testimony, acted and interviewed, is as sickening as it is compelling. Unsettling questions are raised for those responsible for the governance of hospitals, care homes, and broadcast institutions. This series wants to be their reckoning as well.
But this is not entertainment for entertainment’s sake. As a viewer, I found it impossible not to have my stomach churned by the string of questions implied yet left unanswered. What sense are we to make of the £40 million Savile raised for charity? The lives Jim fixed with it? Public opinion of Savile is now firmly settled, but did he escape justice? And did those who (wittingly or unwittingly) enabled his actions, escape it, too?
The lack of reckoning is, paradoxically, the most disquieting feature of the whole drama.
And that disquiet reveals my longing for perfect justice that now only God can deliver. I need to believe that one day all that is hidden will be brought into the light (Matthew 10:27).
In the meantime, I look to Jesus on that cross. Not as a reminder of my mortality, but to see the one through whom – in both his death and life – God’s perfect justice is made manifest.
In turn, Jesus looks to me. He calls me to amplify the voices of victims. To confront those who use their position to exploit. And to herald the good news that the final reckoning will, one day, come.
Head of Innovation, LICC