Is The Truth Still Out There for Teenagers?

Kenda Creasy Dean wrote youth ministry books in the early 2000’s in which she heralded The X-Files’ Fox Mulder and Dana Scully as paradigms of discipleship for postmodern teens: insatiably curious and totally cool with mystery and ambiguity. Youth, she insisted, related to the enthusiasm for the unexplainable typified by the paranormal drama far more than the quest for logical certainty embodied by a lot of church life.

Dean’s “The-Truth-Is-Out-There” enthusiasm for the show actually made me a viewer; I had completely opted out of the phenomenon when the show was running and only started watching in 2008. I watched all nine seasons in under a year, and I thought Dean was totally right.

I also thought the X-Files’ mythology had more to offer than a philosophical posture. The story’s engine is a pair of investigators committed to unearthing the truth in the face of intensely motivated violent opposition from the forces of institutional authority. That feels even more timely to me now that when I first binge-watched the show and made its theme my ringtone.

The X-Files has relaunched, and I badly want it to have retained its dark conspiratorial posture, because I think that is the contribution we need now, in the day of government-poisoned water and police cover ups.

I’ve watched the first episode, and I’m not super enthused.

I wonder how Kenda Creasy Dean feels about it.

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