The subject of this post may sound vaguely familiar, but with a very postmodern, 21st century twist. Many are familiar with the beloved 1908 novel by Canadian author Lucy Maud Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables.  Netflix has adapted the novel into a series called Anne with an E, and it bears only a passing resemblance to the children’s book of another, less “enlightened” era. The creator of the series, Moira Walley-Beckett, worked as a writer and producer of AMCs hit series Breaking Bad, which may not be the best preparation for bringing Anne of Green Gables to the small screen.

I’d never read the book, but during the first season I came across an article at the liberal Slate magazine with the apt title regarding the series, “Netflix’s dark, gritty reboot of Anne of Green Gables has all the subtlety of a chalkboard smashed over your head.” I wasn’t sure about the chalkboard in the first season, but 7 episodes into the second season, I realized the aptness of her title. Thus my version of the book’s title as gay, and I don’t mean happy. More of that in a second.

In the soon to be international best-seller, The Persuasive Christian Parent, I argue that a hostile secular culture doesn’t need to be a threat to our children’s faith. Rather we can utilize it to become their best friend. Watching a children’s story translated into an aplogetic for 21st century secular Western sexual ethics is a great opportunity to teach our children the power of a cultural medium such as television.

In this chalkboard version, we are introduced to an awkward young student that Anne befriends because she can relate to not being accepted by the popular students in the school. He’s an artist, and it wasn’t long before I knew “the awesomeness that is gayness” was coming. I get this phrase from John Nolte, who is a Christian and cultural analyst at He makes the obvious point that popular cultural depictions of homosexuality are always positive, and in such a lopsided manner that homosexuals are always so nice, sensitive, insightly, friendly, intelligent, you name it, that doggone it, you almost feel bad that you’re not gay!

We also learn in a great party they call a “queer soirée,” that an older wealthy women who in that day would have been called a spinster because she was never married, is a lesbian. She’s holding the party, which looks very modern LGBTQ, for her partner who’s died. When the young teenagers learn that the women’s relationship was “loving” you can feel the chalkboard smashing over your heard as the kids discuss how wonderful it is that two people love one another. Then as the smashing continues, one of the girls scrunches up her face and calls what these women did “unnatural.” She was duly lectured that her understanding was wrong, and that their relationship was beautiful, it was just who they were, and what’s not “natural” about that. Or some such blather.

If we were watching this with my children, which we were not because they’re getting older and family TV is becoming increasingly rare, I would not have used this an an opportunity to teach about the sin of homosexuality. By this time, our kids are pretty well convinced that God’s design for sexuality is the right one. Rather, I would focus on how the writers of the show convey, and attempt to make appealing, a worldview antithetical to Christianity. Also that entertainment is more than entertainment, but a certain person’s view of reality as they conceive of it. Most works of popular culture are not as heavy handed as Anne with an E, but they all influence in some way those they are meant to entertain.

Thus with our children we never view any cultural product uncritically. Everyone, literally every one, is interrogated for the meaning it expresses, and is used to teach them why a Christian worldview makes more sense of than every other alternative. This is but one of the ways, and a very effective one, we can build an enduring faith in our children.


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