by Brock Benson

Deacon Claybourne and Rayna Jaymes  – if those names sound familiar to you it is because you may have been one of those like me who tuned in each week to watch “Nashville” over the past 2 years. (If you are wondering why I as a Pastor would watch such a show, please feel free to reach out and I would love to tell you.)  How will we watch TV now without this power packed couple? After 4 seasons, ABC is calling it quits on “Nashville”. So I decided, as one who followed the show fairly faithfully, to write down some of my thoughts since it is now all said and done. Or perhaps more appropriately in this case the fat lady has finally sung on “Nashville”.

WARNING: MASSIVE SPOILERS AHEAD IF YOU HAVEN’T WATCHED THE SHOW

As the show ended last night the producers left us with a cliff hanger! (Probably to see if they could convince another network to pick them up but that is neither here nor there.) Avery Barkley the baby daddy and ex-husband to one of the stars of the show, Juliette Barnes, is left on the airport runway having just been informed the plane carrying Juliette lost contact with the flight control tower 50 miles outside of Nashville. After all this couple had gone through during the show and to know Avery had freed himself of the backstabber Layla Grant, I am sure you were just as upset as I was to think on how last night was the end of it all. But what did we really learn about these two characters?

First and foremost they moved to Nashville to make it, like so many.  Avery, as a young up-and-coming guitar and vocalist, was dead set in season one on getting in with the right people and getting the opportunities he needed to make his name in country music. So much so that when his then girlfriend Scarlett started to get more recognition than he did for her vocal ability he flipped out and they broke up. Jealousy never does anything good for a relationship. Yet jealousy is a nagging thorn in the flesh for this couple at different points within the show. It would paralyze, instigate, and tear them apart. It was like both of them knew this was an issue but they kept repeating the same silly cycles which left them in the same stupid mess. Neither of them were willing to take a step back and objectively look at the situation and try to figure out what was really going wrong. Avery grows in objectivity and dependability through the season as he embraces his role as a father to he and Juliette’s baby girl and there are a ton of us guys who can take a lesson from him in this regard. In the final three episodes of season 4 Juliette herself really begins to come along after rehab to see her main role as a mom not a country star. This is a beautiful message the producers, I believe, intentionally tried to compel us into seeing. So many of us are consumed with our “career” and “making it”. We forget God’s wired us for some things which don’t seem glamorous to the world but are making an eternal impact nevertheless.

I find it really interesting as I remember back over the show the many times traditional Christian family values are represented well. The way Rayna & Deacon or Rayna & Teddy would fight for the family’s unity was not only inspiring but also convicting to me as often times I don’t fight hard enough for my own. Clearly Deacon at times crossed some lines in the name of unity and fighting for family or for what he thought was right, teaching us it’s important to fight but fight within the confines of truth and morality. There are laws for a reason. And just because we are zealous and passionate about something does not give us the right to act any way we see fit. This brings me to a closing thought I want to share in relation to the show.

There are many values and belief systems represented and that were perpetuated through the storyline of “Nashville” that the producers zealously believed and were passionate about. Therefore, they ferociously advocated these positions in almost every way they could. Yet just because they were advocated does not mean they square with God’s law. I am genuinely fearful many of my fellow neighbors and the people I am investing my life in to see reached with the gospel will believe about God only what shows like “Nashville” and others like it teach them about God. Christians, we must show the world who God truly is in his completeness not just one dimension. This takes hard work and a tangible effort on our part to do so.

I will leave this post by referencing one of the scenes that was particularly compelling to me. Deacon, who was Maddie’s biological dad and Rayna’s true love, finally got married to Rayna and season 4 included a lot of them becoming a family together. However teenagers can get crazy about freedom. And this happens with Maddie who emancipates from Deacon and Rayna halfway through season 4. Crushed by some of his failures Deacon, a recovering alcoholic, nearly returns to the bottle and because of that he decides to return to his AA meetings. In his final meeting Deacon, in a fit of frustration, declared “What’s the point?  We can’t do this on our own.” Truth be told I jumped a little bit in my bed as he said it and gave a fist pump. Why? That’s the first step to receiving the gospel! Jesus came because we can’t do it on our own. We never could. The show “Nashville” is a reminder that no amount of sex, alcohol, drugs, relationship, child, or family can ever fill the hole Christ was meant to fill.

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