Deliver Us From Weavers

If the Weaver family from The Amazing Race: Family Edition is the new face of American Christianity, then America is about to become a much nastier place.

It’s hard to imagine how a widow and her children could be unsympathetic, but the Widow Weaver and her offspring are despicable. The Weavers are harder to relate to than villains from previous seasons because of their seamless transitions from prayer to name-calling. It takes a remarkable lack of self-awareness to be able to do that.

Viewers have been treated to the Weavers calling their competition “idiots” and “retards.” They ridiculed Tony Paolo for earning his living as a garbage collector. None of them seems to remember that Mr. Weaver was killed picking up debris on a race track, making him a garbage man of sorts, too.

But the Weavers don’t see their comments as name-calling. They simply describe the world around them. Acting as avatars of their god, they’ve given themselves the right to pass judgment on others.

After they’ve finished insulting their fellow racers, the Weavers complain that none of the other teams like them. 16-year-old Rachel cried as she said her family was the only one trying to live a Christian lifestyle. They don’t even use cuss words!

Clearly, Rachel the Avatar feels she has the final word on the proper way to live as a Christian. While she gets a pass because of her age, most teenagers have parents who would remind them that it’s not fair to pass judgment on other people, at least not while on national television. The Widow Weaver’s too busy asking for divine help with driving directions to correct her children.

So, if the Weaver family is what constitutes the new Christian family, what happened to the Christianity that gave rise to The Salvation Army? What about the story of the Good Samaritan? Most stories of Jesus’ life focus on his compassion and kindness for strangers.

Somewhere, the Weavers lost this part of the message. Their Christianity is based on lots of talk about God, but little action. In the first episode of the Family Edition, they told a stranger who helped them that they’d see him in heaven (not immediately, of course). Since then, they’ve described their competitors as heathens. According to their interpretation of God’s judgment, only those who help the Weavers will be rewarded.

The god of the Weavers is an inconsistent god. Their deity is fickle enough to kill their father in an untimely and gruesome fashion, but still grace them with directions to the Grand Canyon. Although their deity grants them the power to judge other mortals, their divinely derived powers don’t protect them from persecution by everyone around them. The Weavers seem to be the perpetual victims of this god’s whims.

Perhaps that’s because Weaverian god isn’t fashioned in the image of Jesus Christ; he’s fashioned in the image of a frightened woman and her three pubescent children. It’s no wonder that, to them, a holy life is blaming others for your problems and making fun of people. Prayer becomes a plea for direct assistance rather than and internal search for ways to be a better person.

All of the Weavers are too scared to look inside themselves lest they find themselves lacking. The Widow Weaver is afraid that she isn’t good enough to parent her kids by herself. But good parenting relies on reflection, and by not doing that, she’s being a deficient parent. Most teenagers are scared of who they are or might become, only the Weaver kids are afraid that they’ll have to figure everything out on their own. Until the Weavers get themselves figured out, they shouldn’t be touting themselves as a model Christian family.

Faith is by nature a mystery, but it’s difficult to see what benefit the Weavers are currently getting out of theirs. All they get is a sense of moral superiority and a bad attitude, devoid of any compassion for others. They believe they’ll be admitted into heaven even though they act like anything but angels. If they’re content with that, so be it. But, like any reward, isn’t heaven better when you’ve had to earn it? In the meantime, stop professing your righteousness until you’re able to act righteously.