Sunday, January 14, 2007

Will we destroy ourselves?

I was deeply affected by animated movies more so than the live action ones. The secret of Nimh, Wizards, The bugs Bunny movies, Charlotte’s web, Dragons Lair and Disney films such as Cinderella, Fantasia, Dumbo, Pete’s Dragon, Robin Hood, Aristocats, The Jungle Book, and The Fox and the Hound. I remember those warm summer nights I watched these movies with great anticipation and desire to be somewhere among the fray of animated reality. As the hero, the villain, the lost jungle kid, the best friend, the saved or rescued, the wise, the loved, or the soldier fighting to save the masses. Regardless of what I desired I could only temporarily escape the dull drum life of ambulating on weekends and holidays between my parents.

When I was a little boy I saw the movie Wizards for the very first time. I was absolutely captivated by this movie. The movie is about two brothers Avatar the good one and Blackwolf the evil one born to a fairy queen. They exist in a post apocalyptic world devastated by humanities depravity and technologies. Blackwolf and Avatar are destined to collide in a war that will destroy the new earth. Blackwolf is hideous and deformed he becomes an outcast. He seeks to rediscover ancient technologies of warfare and destruction to conquer the peoples of the earth.

Avatar (Blackwolf’s brother) lives his life with ease and worries about nothing. He leisurely lives paralyzed by the fear that he will usher in the destruction and end that his birth prophecy foretells. With Peace, the enemy solder that crosses over to Avatars side of good, the “fairy lover” of avatar, Elinor they go to fight Blackwolf’s army of trolls and ogres. The Blackwolf army is incensed as they approach battle pumped up by old Nazi propaganda films and ancient war machines.

Being the war-mongering adolescent I was the idea of weaving a story involving swords, magic, guns, and tanks filled my mind with never before imagined possibilities. I could slash my brothers and cousins with my sword while keeping their minions at bay with my magic skills. It was the war movie clips which left their mark on me. These clips showed tanks and machine gun wielding soldiers marching to war…flame throwers in tow.

For years I had these images burned into my psyche and had no idea what they were from until I was older and caught this film again. It was then I realized that the movies were of Nazi origin and the idea of magic and technology fascinated me deeper. I was blown away by the ideas presented in the film. It is simple enough ‘good verse evil’. There is a villain and a hero that has a hottie on his arm. I began to see something deeper, the destruction of humanity. I began to wonder,”Is humanity destroying itself?”

Who are our trolls and ogres being lead by the evil Blackwolf? Who represents the all-good Avatar and his honor bound disciples? Your answers will vary by geography, ideology, and age, conviction, preference for oil, tea, coffee, cheese, and any other randomly consumed bit of capital. There is personal conviction in every archetype prescribed to in our world view. This view laden with absolute conviction that we are correct. Some may proclaim that others are misguided and fooled into their beliefs…perhaps ‘they and them’ are just not enough of something or too much of something else.

I see the character of Peace in this film and set out to define, relate, examine, and ponder him closer. He is the bridge between the good and evil sides. He is a tragic figure unable to find the longing of his heart…peace. He begins his existence in the film as a loyal soldier of the evil Blackwolf and is chosen to assassinate the good Avatar. Peace fails and is captured. He is not destroyed rather his violence is met with love, kindness, and compassion. He receives from his captures grace and he becomes aware of another way to live. He moves convicted towards combating evil and helps lead the charge to stop Blackwolf.

It is in this endeavor that he losses his life in battle defending Avatar and the grace he received. Peace humbled himself in his zeal to follow orders to become a servant of good. My point being that ones perspective determines good and evil. Righteousness is the only true marker and that is Gods alone. Peace demonstrated the greatest gift one could give he laid down his life for others.

Today we are faced with an amazing amount of turmoil, destruction, corruption, disagreement, and pain. In the midst of all of these terrible things we are provided the joy of childbirth, the success of education, the comfort of a meal or the ability to share a meal, the smile of friendship and commitment and the ability to accept, love, and serve all. Love is our grandest command. Jesus Christ calls us with the words, “to love one another!” I have witnessed far too many Christians focusing on particular passages or verses to eisegete God into their needed supportive documentation. The emergent church or the orthodox church, Presbyterian, Methodist, Lutheran, catholic, reformed, covenant, or non-denominational when will being a Christian be absent of moral claims and definitions? When does radical submission to God via the example of Jesus Christ be the measuring stone to servanthood and love?

In America the gospel message of Jesus Christ is desperately being sought. Yet it is not being presented in a manner that speaks to the marginalized, hurt, confused, mistrusting, or failed. Are people getting the message of love and acceptance? We are bogged down with this good message of freedom from the pains of sin, salvation from our depraved nature. We are not testifying to the radical freedom from of our estrangement provided in the transforming power of Jesus.

We are bogged down with religious hierarchy and dogmatic mud slinging. We slash our culture with legalistic fever and alienate the masses that desperately seek meaning, hope, and peace in these stressful, terrorized, and unsure days. It is not for absence of desire to fill this void deep within the bellies of creation which inhibits a personal relationship with Christ and fulfillment of communion with God. I know “Christians” that have personal relationship with Christ and miss the meaning of this freedom, salvation, and peace we ALL are freely given in Christ. I also know Hindus, Buddhists, and Muslims that could be called “Christ like” and have been used as vehicles of transformation.

In the southern hemisphere Christianity is growing at a rapid pace. The growth is largely of the evangelical vain. With prophets, bishops, disciples, and right reverends offering to those living in poverty relief and hope from the dilapidated and deplorable conditions they exist in. Jesus is sought as a remedy for the physical relief from tortuous conditions. Jesus is an agent of salvation, not just Spiritual, but Physical.

I relate this to the movie Wizards. The war that came and destroyed the human race was fueled by the escalation of differences. They could not see beyond the current disagreements of power and prestige based in the manifestation of ‘us, them, you, and me’. Having destroyed the populations of the planet a collection of fantastic creatures takes over imbued with magic. Technology is banned and the dangerous mind of evil unleashes these same weapons upon the earth.

Today as Christians we must be aware of the existence of the growing schism between western Christianity and southern hemisphere dogma. I fear that with the compounding of a lack of interest and growth in the western churches and the growth of a conservative and suspicious church in the southern half Christianity is on a crash course for destruction. This is only further exasperated by the growth of a fundament Islamic understanding in the same growth areas as Christianity. This may bring further jihad and a resurgence of crusade.

I use the thought of Wizards to illustrate the bridge of “Peace”. I see this as the only successful option we have today. We have to first dialogue with each other and understand the differences that separate us ideologically, politically, socially, and personally with our emotions entrusted with the working grace of Jesus Christ. Then can move forward collectively as a whole and bridge the ever-widening gap between this position and one held in the developing Christian world. We need each other…the assembly absent of one sister or brother is not complete. From Jerusalem to Asia and Africa to Rome to Germany and France to America and now back to Asia and Africa along with Latin America goes Christian thought. From conservative to liberal, the margins to the center, white to black to brown, child to adult, men to women, gay to straight…we are all the body of Christ. God is calling us to trust absolutely, not blindly, not absent of understanding. Jesus Christ commands us to love absolutely and radically…imbued with the power of the Holy Spirit to be agents of the Kingdom of God presently here and now in this realm today. This will transform our destruction into transformation via our relationship with Jesus Christ.


Anonymous said...

Pappy, please think about reading "The Problem of Pain" by C.S.Lewis - it might help you as you struggle with your view of the world and Christianity.

Lewis has a great way of explaining and dealing with our Christian angst.

Anonymous said...

well such a nice post...time has come , we all should start nourishing the child still existing within us... God bless us all.... well u can sometimes drop by My Blog too .... hope u will like it..!!!

Anonymous said...

Thanks John, I will add the book to my list of reads.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Emmie for your comment. I will look up your blog.