Before Tom Hanks starred in dramas like Forrest Gump, Apollo 13, and Cast Away, he presented a heartfelt prayer in Joe Verses the Volcano to an unnamed god. (Clip below.) This prayer and the entire film beautifully portray how our intuition points to the existence of a higher power.
Many would define “God” as a powerful person who created the universe. While Biblical and historical Christianity agree with this description, they also portray God, as C.S. Lewis puts it, as “beyond personality.” Scripture identifies God as more than a person, but as truth and love itself. This raises the question: what do truth and love have to do with one another? In an unlikely way, the Star Trek: Enterprise episode “Chosen Realm” answers this theological question.
No one wants to give in to fear. Not you, not Marty McFly. Not only do we dislike the emotion, it feels shameful to be afraid. We hate it even more when others accuse us of being fearful. Whether the accusation comes from Biff, Griff, Needles, a pastor, or politician, the Back to the Future trilogy shows us how to overcome our fear of being fearful.
In order to save humanity, Hyrum Graff and other military leaders believe they must manipulate a prodigious child named Ender Wiggin. As they isolate him and lie to him, one questions if this is the best way to create a hero. Knowing that most stories, including scripture, link a protagonist’s maturity with their victory, we can draw conclusions about Graff’s end purposes. Spoilers follow.
Many scholars in psychology and mythology such as Carl Jung, Joseph Campbell, and Jordan Peterson correctly argue that humanity needs myths and metaphors. We need stories, even fictitious ones, to communicate the truest aspects of life, including ancient myths like the Illiad or recent sagas like Star Wars. A classic named ¡Three Amigos!, however, reminds us that fiction provides limited help, showing us that we also need literal, historical truth. Continue reading How to be Saved from El Guapo
I felt nervous going into The Rise of Skywalker. Would the new movie continue the message of original trilogy or would it detract? Specifically, would Episode IX emphasize redemption and mercy, or would it just conclude the Skywalker saga with a big fight? I left the theater with a big smile, knowing the film not only affirmed the earlier work, but “finished what it started.” Spoilers follow.
While we need hope to seek a better life for others and ourselves, it can also serve as a tool of oppression. A scene added to The Hunger Games movie, not included in the novel by Suzanne Collins, depicts the type of hope that perpetuates injustice. Applying President Snow’s insight, we can identify false hopes including the prosperity gospel.
While not perfect, the audience can respect and root for Tevye in the Fiddler on the Roof. He has many admirable qualities as he does his best to love God and his family. At the same time, a critical blindspot remains. While he never learns his lesson, we can benefit from his mistake. Continue reading Tevye’s Common Mistake
Have you heard the Good News, or Gospel, of Jesus before? Did it seem distant and irrelevant? How could some guy from 2000 years ago or an old-fashioned term like “sin” matter today? Looking at the preeminence of good and evil in our favorite stories and in the latest news coverage, we’ll conclude, however, that nothing can be more central to our lives than the message of Jesus.
Les Misérables powerfully and uncomfortably presents poverty, injustice, and evil. It asks, “What will you do about it?” Inspired by historical data and faith in God’s promises, we can follow the nonviolent, proactive, and sacrificial example of Jean Valjean (and also Jesus).