Medical Show Gives Christian Character a Heart

Mary Katharine Ham
|
Posted: Jan 20, 2006 8:55 AM

I've been watching the show "Scrubs" since the first day it aired. Known them since they were tykes. I just think it's hilarious and poignant. It deals seriously with serious issues without taking itself too seriously-- a serious accomplishment for a medical show. But this week, I was afraid for just a second that I wouldn't love it so much any more.

The hospital's resident cynical doctor, Dr. Cox, was having his baby son baptized. Well, his wife was having him baptized. Cox was none too excited about it. Cox's sister Paige (played by Cheryl Hines) came into town for the baptism, and his dislike for her was obvious.

When asked why Cox didn't like her, Paige piped up:

"I've embraced the Lord Jesus Christ as my personal Savior."

Uh. Oh. Cue every negative stereotype of evangelicals in a 22-minute tour de condescension insufferable, oui?

Wrong. Oh, "Scrubs," I never should have doubted thee.

Paige was a real person-- a kind person with a sharp sense of humor who used to kick her brother's butt up and down the driveway basketball court. She was the kind of Christian all of us know. A person who is perfectly comfortable-- delighted, even-- hanging out with people of different faiths or no faith at all, but is honest about her own faith and happy to express it.

She wasn't pushy or judgemental. She prayed with a family over their father all night at their request, and the family credited it with the improvement of the patient. After that came a conversation about medicine vs. prayer in healing in which prayer did not come out looking just one tiny step short of animal sacrifice.

"There's a protocol, Paige. We like to exhaust all witchcraft-related remedies before we try medical remedies."

"Oh, right, because people who believe in God are cuh-raaazzy and you're the sane one." ...

"Paige, will you just acknowledge that it was medicine that made Mr. Donnally better?"

"Fine, it was medicine...and the God that created medicine."

Dr. Cox's co-worker expressed surprise at one point that Cox is tolerant of everyone's beliefs but Paige's. After that, he showed up at his son's baptism, standing in the back of the church in a hockey jersey, holding a beer. Paige looked at him and smiled, glad that he was there, letting him come as he was.

The baby smiled as he was baptized. A beautiful song that I've been unable to find played in the background. The chorus was "May God's love be with you" (let me know if you heard it and know what it was. I'd love to download it). The episode ended with the baby in Paige's arms, pointing upward as the camera pulled away to give a God's eye view on the church.

Wow, these folks are actually like real people. People are generally happy at baptisms. Many families rely on prayer, especially in hard times. Christians and non-Christians live alongside each other in families and at work every day, and often like each other. Christians have senses of humor and love their non-Christian friends and relatives without judging them.

This stuff happens all the time in real life. It was very touching to see it on TV for once.

UPDATE: Wow, that was quick. I love the blogosphere. The song was "In the Sun" by Joseph Arthur. It's not available on iTunes, but there's a free mp3 on his Web site, under Audio/Video.