Not Perishable

"......they do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable" 1 Cor. 9:25..............finding imperishable things in perishable places

Location: Atlanta, Georgia, United States

Thursday, January 26, 2006

"Flossing" and Truth Telling

2 years ago, my son (9 at the time) was clearly upset one night at bedtime. When we were about to have our little prayer time with him, he said "please ask God to forgive me for lying".

He went on to explain that he had lied to the dentist earlier that day. The dentist had asked "have you been flossing regularly?" He said "yes". He actually had been flossing periodically, but he didn't feel like he was "regular".

When we finished our prayer time, he said with fear in his voice - "I think God wants me to go to the dentist to tell him I lied and ask him for forgiveness." What does a parent say to that? Nice sentiment son, but life's busy this week, I don't think we can swing it. Nah, we would get him there next day, for sure.

Of course, that next morning, his little heart wasn't quite so willing. "Maybe it's not that big of a deal, dad", he said. The reality of what it would feel like to walk into the office - up to the counter and ask to see the dentist was beginning to sink in. "Mom will be there with you buddy, it'll be alright - I don't think God changed His mind since last night". He nodded in agreement, but he was going to be dreading it all day.

My wife took him in there after school........and it went as scripted. One of the hygenists even teared up when she saw his heart felt honesty and request for forgiveness.

My son had some how turned the recurring sin of every American with or without 12-year old molars into a redemptive moment. Honesty, especially when it is accompanied by a sincere request for forgiveness is a foreign thing in our culture. After reflecting on this story, I'm reminded anew that I have ample opportunity to "do the right thing" daily - and make a difference.

Friday, January 20, 2006

"Ghost World" and Existential Angst

I've never come across a more sarcastic, self-absorbed, mean.......yet endearing character than Enid (Thora Birch) from the 2001 film "Ghost World".

Enid and her friend Rebecca (Scarlett Johansson) have just graduated from high school, but they're a tad different than their well-adjusted, middle class friends. Though they both are (in their own right) otherwise normal, fairly well-adjusted teenagers, they look at their future - college, job, marriage, babies and they see absolutely no hope.....zilch, nada, none. Enid has convinced Rebecca that if college, job, husband is all there is, then sorry, that's not enough - what's the point to life?

Enid's character, though miserable, is also very perceptive. She has figured out at 18 what most people don't figure out until they're much older - if this world is all there is, what do I hope for? What do I put my trust in?

The delights (where there are any) in Enid's life come from tormenting a poor soul named Seymour (Steve Buscemi) who she plays a cruel joke on, but then is intriqued by when he responds with even more indifference than she sees in her own life.

"Ghost World" makes no apologies about being a world without God. Enid's character clearly begins to search, but in her post modern world, she sees nothing to reach for other than a horizon in the distance that disappears into places unknown.......those are the places where she wants to go, but she has no idea why, or who has put this longing in her heart.

Is this film redemptive? There's no God, and no answers other than the "longing" that feels life-giving - there's something in Enid that wants something she can't see, but that's all she knows.

Can we find redemption in stories that are so hopeless that they beg the question - where is God? Why is there a longing in my heart, if I can't find what it desires? When a story is told honestly, i.e. - when the storyteller freely admits that the worldview portrayed in the story is empty and full of holes - are they inadvertently pointing to the "unknown God" statue that Paul points to on Mars Hill? (Acts 17)

"Ghost World" (R for language) is recommended for those who want to see a glimpse of the mind of the non-Christian who truly is seeking, and how they process a world that doesn't seem to have the answers to the the desires of their hearts. You'll wish you could find the nearest 4-law booklet and take Enid to Starbucks for a Latte and some answers. I found it to be time well spent with Enid - she encouraged me in evangelism. Am I being salt and light to the Enids out there?

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

"King Kong" and Transcendent Love

I'm not a monster movie fan. I haven't made it through a Jurassic Park flick without a really good nap. Dracula, Godzilla, et. al. do nothing for me. I'm even a tad creeped out by the romance in Disney's "Beauty and the Beast."

So it was with much reluctance that I took my wife to see "King Kong" a few weeks back. The only reason we bothered was that we liked the LOTR films and felt like Peter Jackson had somehow earned the right to take more of our money.

Suffice it to say, I was blown away. I'm fairly certain that Peter Jackson doesn't intentionally put redemptive Christian themes in his films, but somehow ( through common grace) redemption just comes through in good storytelling.

Case and point - the relationship between Anne (Naomi Watts) and Kong. As the relationship develops, Kong becomes the ultimate source of security for Anne, and Anne the ultimate source of significance for Kong. There's nothing "romantic" in their love, but there is certainly something transcendent - not of this world. This becomes all the more apparent when compared to the human love relationship in the film between Anne and Jack (Adrian Brody). It pales in scope, intensity, and depth to her relationship with Kong. Like Aslan, Kong is "not safe, but he is good."

It sounds crazy, but the Anne/Kong relationship provides a beautiful glimpse at the now and future love relationship between Christ and his church. Again, Jackson wasn't going for this, but this redemptive typology literally jumps off the screen.

Anyone who has seen "King Kong" think I'm completely insane? It's ok to say so, I've been called worse........