Star Wars and Christian spirituality

In the movie Star Wars: The Last Jedi, the struggle between the darkside and the lightside is like an internal spiritual struggle that everyone can identify with. Everyday, we struggle with making choices between right and wrong.

Kylo Ren tried to entice Rey into the darkside; and Rey tries to draw Kylo Ren into the lightside.  It’s a Star Wars simplified version of spirituality–a human moralism of good versus evil.  Rey was helpless in the hands of the Supreme leader. Kylo Ren was also helpless in overcoming his entry into the darkside.  And if it weren’t for Luke Skywalker’s intervening at the right moment, Rey would have come very close to entering the darkside.

The Last Jedi was not the typical Star Wars movie.  Lots of inner conflict, and spiritual soul-searching as to who they are, where they come from, and where they belong.  There is not much hope for Kylo Ren coming into the light.  Humanism places hope in the goodness of humanity.  Even if he were to turn to the light in the future Star Wars IX, we can see how weak humanity is in the face of the darkside.  There will not be redemption for Kylo Ren who killed his own father Han Solo to escape his past.  Humanism doesn’t provide healing for his guilt and shame.

The winning outcome from this type of spirituality depends on who has more power at what moment in time.  As human beings, we need a spirituality that is independent from human power or how we use or misuse the Force.  This gives our own human influence more credit than it deserves.  Humanism is deceptive as the darkside.

If you’ll allow me, Christian spirituality is different from the Star Wars type of spirituality. The solution to overcoming the darkside doesn’t depend upon our human influences of good or evil.  In Christian spirituality, we take the starting position that darkness already reside within all human beings. Our fall into sin had already begun since the beginning of creation at Adam’s fall into original sin. Sin and elements of the darkside reside in all of us which we cannot escape from.  We are helpless in the face of darkness because we are incapable of choosing the light, as St. Augustine would have it.

Therefore, we need God’s recreative force of light, external to humanity, in order to overcome the inescapable chasm of the darkside.  As Christians, we believe in the sovereignty of God, in redemption and forgiveness from our wrong-doing.  God is our Supreme Leader and his will is to conquer evil and death to save us from the consequence of the falling into the darkside.  The Lord God will reign victorious on the Final Day of our redemption.  This will happen whether we play a part in it or not.  It is inevitable; the lightside will prevail.  It is God’s battle and we can either participate or sit by the wayside.

If we do participate in the missio dei (God’s mission), then we will do what our Supreme Leader calls us to do, and allow him to reign in all that we do on earth.  If we do not participate in the missio dei, then God will use whoever is willing.  However, God will empower us by God’s Force (i.e., God’s breath, wind, or Holy Spirit) to do his will and complete the mission.

In Star Wars, we know that the lightside and the rebellion will prevail because of the force.  In Christ, we also know that Christ’s reign will prevail because the light in God’s Force will easily overcome all darkness.  The light cannot be extinguished.

In the Gospel of John, it speaks of this powerful light who is the ultimate force in this universe:

“The Word gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone.  The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it…,.The one who is the true light, who gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.” (John 1:4-5, 9, NLT)

This light is Jesus Christ, who comes to us as Emmanuel (God with us).  Prepare for the Advent of the lightside this Christmas.  May God’s Force be with you.  May his Holy Spirit empower you to fulfill his mission.

Movie – The Help

I watched a wonderful movie called The Help. It’s set in a Mississippi town in the 1960s just before the civil rights movement. The heroines, Skeeter (a white woman and blossoming writer) and Aibileen (a black woman and maid) begins to breakout stories of racism that black maids have been experiencing throughout their lives. This drama is an inspiring story about courage, and about friendship that transcends race. Watch it…you might really like it.

Movie: The Grace Card, out on DVD August 16

Question: “Is it easier to receive grace than it is to offer grace to those who don’t like us?

This question represents the crux of this life-changing movie.  The movie: The Grace Card (2011) is a powerful movie that personally touched me in a big way. The movie is about two police officers, one whom is also a part-time Nazarene pastor who is challenged by his partner’s dislike of him.  They both learn about grace and forgiveness–big time.

Okay, I admit a few tears flowed near the end (and I don’t cry easily).   Talking about offering forgiveness to someone you don’t like is easier said than done.  When it comes down to actually forgiving others, it’s a different story.  As I watched this movie, I was challenged and reminded about the power of God’s forgiveness working in the lives of Christian believers.  The film did this in a very powerful way for me recently. I was reminded that, rather than justice, it is forgiveness that brings healing to broken hearts in our world.  It will definitely inspire viewers to depend upon the power of God who strengthens us. It will also inspire us to offer others the gift of forgiveness to those who do not necessarily love or like us.  What an awesome example of what grace can do!

It came out in theaters back in February 2011 and is now available on DVD starting August 16, 2011.  It’s a well-made quality movie. Go get it and show it in church, your youth group, or just watch it at home.  Available at: Christianbook.comOutreach.com or at your local Christian bookstore.

Was all that pain necessary for our salvation?

Was all that pain necessary for our salvation?

In comparison to Jesus, do you think anyone else in this life has endured a similar level of pain Jesus went through?

[ This video on Christ’s passion put together with great music and scenes from the movie “Passion of the Christ” so it might be a little on the graphic side. ]

Book of Eli

I usually don’t have time for movies but I just watched a few flicks the night before.  My wife and daughter were away so I was “home alone”. I watched 2012 and Book of Eli.  I love watching apocalyptic, post-apocalyptic and science fiction movies because they talk about a new world of possibilities that “could-be”.

I think 2012 was over-rated, but I really enjoyed Book of Eli starring Denzel Washington.  There were several major points that caught my attention:

1/ the importance placed on “The Book” (the Holy Bible) and the opposing views on how “The Book” was to be used by the two main characters.

  • Eli intentions were for good: to bring the words of the book into safe hands
  • Carnegie’s intentions were for evil: control over people.

2/ the utter devastion and chaos befallen upon society after the world was destroyed. ( I love post-apocalyptic ).

3/ the moral resilience of Eli in not giving into the pleasures of the world in the midst of an evil and hedonistic world.

4/ Eli’s knowledge of Scripture.  He was the present-day embodiment of a society that once passed on stories and scripture using words that were memorized.

This is one movie that I would watch again because it was a real learning experience.