Ninety-nine percent of all American homes have a television set. Like it or not, TV is a part of our everyday lives. We can't write if off as trivial; we're watching it, and so are our friends, family, and neighbors. There's a lot of junk out there, sure. But great TV - which is admittedly rare - is no less worthy of our attention than a great movie or book. At its best, a good show expands our understanding of who we are and what it means to be human. It affirms what's universal to the human experience and challenges us to consider the world from another point of view. But what about our point of view, as women and as evangelicals? Who is telling our stories?

It's not surprising to discover that TV is lacking in sophisticated portrayals of both women and Christian faith. Alyssa Rosenberg's recent Atlantic article, "Joss Whedon and the Real Girl," dissected popular director Joss Whedon's complex, engaging portrayals of women in his hit shows Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Firefly. "Despite the fantastical circumstances his women find themselves in," writes Rosenberg, "Whedon has been unusually successful in bringing them to life by grounding them in the common experience of women, and portraying that experience with a sympathy and verisimilitude extremely rare in male directors." But what about the "common experience" of faith? Interestingly, Rosenberg points to a moment in which a female character explores issues of faith and science as an example of the sophisticated character development typical of Whedon's work. And she criticizes his latest show, Dollhouse, for failing to explore the "the intriguing alliance between feminism and evangelical Christianity" that informs the anti-human-trafficking work around which an episode revolves.

I'm hard pressed to think of a female character on television today who thoughtfully approaches issues of faith, but one that comes to mind is the character of Rose on Lost. The show is one of the few on television that actively engages themes of faith - at its center is the fate vs. free will debate - though it does so mainly through its male characters. Rose, albeit a character who rarely sees screen time, embodies a thoughtful, confident faith that does not resort to stereotypes of religious folks. In one of the most moving scenes of the series, Rose prays with a character struggling to make sense of a difficult situation. Her prayer (to "our heavenly Father") comforts, and her faith impacts all those who come into contact with her.

I would love to see more of this kind of character, both to process my own faith and to help others understand the unique viewpoint of Christian women. Lost's nuanced portrayal of faith has led to constructive conversations with friends who would normally dismiss Christianity because of TV's portrayal of them as silly, judgmental, or unintelligent. While TV has a long way to go, Lost represents small steps toward engagement with the issues of faith that make up our stories.