Did OJ change us at all?

Over the weekend, I got hooked on the The People v. OJ Simpson docu-drama marathon on cable.  Like many Americans, I remember watching the real thing, from the Ford Bronco chase, to the trial, to the constant news coverage.

The docu-drama details the case, but also a great deal of behind the scenes detail, one of which is the very last scene of the final episode.

OJ Simpson has been found innocent, he is released and he goes home, and that evening there is a party at his house.  His oldest son approaches him and informs him that the restaurant OJ wanted to go celebrate at will not take his reservation, and OJ realizes how much his life has changed over the past two years.  The closing shot is that of OJ looking at a statues of himself as a football player in the yard.  How much has changed indeed.

Of course, he is not the only one whose life had changed.  Little known attorneys Marcia Clark, Chris Darden, Bob Shapiro and Johnnie Cochran, not to mention Judge Lance Ito, all found themselves thrust into the spotlight, where all but Ito (thus far) have taken advantage of the newfound popularity and translated it into books and flourishing private practices.

And of course America changed.  The Ford Bronco chase and the ensuing trial showed that Americans would rather watch reality television as opposed to sitcoms and soap operas.  The media themselves became celebrities; I remember watching Greta Van Sustren and Roger Cossack on CNN daily analyzing the trial.

And that is the personal change in myself; I got hooked on watching the news.  First CNN, and now Fox News.

Ironically what did not change America is the end result of the trial.  There was massive debate as to how people would respond to the verdict.  LAPD was ready for the possibility of riots.  And while the verdict was watched by nearly the entire country, including President Bill Clinton, there was barely any reaction outside of shouts of joy and of disgust.

I bring all this up not just to justify my coach-potato status watching the marathon, but because it goes to show once more the nature of Christ’s resurrection.  A trial that captivated our attention for over a year, is now largely forgotten aside from a few ripple effects that linger on; and yet, the death and resurrection of Christ 2000 years ago remains relevant.

Do you see?  The trial of the last century is forgotten; no one cares much about it anymore.  It has been relegated to text books and entry level law school classes.

The resurrection of Christ?  It resonates daily in the hearts and minds of every believer.  The resurrection stirs the passions of those who daily try to deny it, only to find their objections and criticisms once more rejected by science and reason.

The OJ Simpson trial may have altered a few societal norms, but is reality TV really going to be the sole lasting impact of a trail that was broadcast coast to coast and discussed round the clock?

The resurrection of Christ remains, as it always has, the sole defining moment in world history, changing lives today and into eternity.

About revschmidt

An LCMS Pastor in North-Central Kansas
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