Have I said that I love Discovery Channel's The Most Dangerous Catch?
Well, I do. (And not just because it gives me opportunities to join in the Discovery Channel's catchy "boom-dee-yadda" promotional song. Sing it, Fellow Traveler: "I love the whole world/it's such a special place/boom-dee-yadda, boom-dee-yadda, boom-dee-yadda, boom-dee-yadda...")
This reality show, unlike so many, actually deals in reality -- the lives of crab fishermen off the Aleutian Islands. The spotlighted skippers include a Joe Cool neo-Viking; a tattooed biker-hippie; a totaly gonzo, type A wild man with the nervous system of a firecracker and a serious tobacco jones.
Their days are charted in long streaks of boredom punctuated by spikes of gleeful excitement, crushing disappointment or terror. Rogue waves...maiming on-deck accidents...empty crab pots...all in a day's work, out on the Bering Sea.
These guys smoke and drink too much. They cuss. They yell. I'm thinkin' they'd probably flunk the average catechism test; I'm guessin' they've never seen "The Bridge" or said the come-to-Jesus prayer.
But I'll tell you what: On the first episode of the season, we saw them gathered around their radios, quietly and solemnly listening to a local clergywoman giving the annual blessing of the fleet and praying for thier protection. When the radio transmission cut out, they looked positively stricken.
I suppose that persons who spend a lot of mental time sorting the sheep from the goats would accuse these fishermen of practicing a Christianity of convenience; of exhibiting the "no atheists in foxholes" syndrome. Personally, I find these men's honesty and vulnerability in the wake of nature and circumstance compelling. Maybe that's why Jesus liked to hang out on the docks.
Truth be told, I would rather spend five minutes in prayer with these tough customers than five hours engaged in happy-clappy Team Jesus cheerleading with Real Christians[tm].