On Christmas Eve of 1914, the unthinkable happened. Soldiers from opposing armies defeated warfare itself to celebrate the birth of Christ. While using fictional characters, Joyeux Noel depicts the historical events of World War I that actually occurred in multiple places along the front. But when the commanding officers learn what happened, we see a clash of religions, of two very different versions of “Christianity”: Biblical spirituality and civil religion. This clash continues today, and we need to identify this false faith in order to overcome it, especially in the current controversy regarding refugees.
Who are the heroes of Star Wars? Luke Skywalker? Leia Organa? Han Solo? Yes, but Rogue One (contains spoilers) shows us that there are more heroes than we could imagine—some named and most unnamed—who play critical roles in the successful recovery of the Death Star plans and, consequently, its destruction. As they press on with no guarantee of success or survival, they model for us how we can persevere in hope, faith, and love.
A Jedi prophecy said that the chosen one would bring the Force back into balance. Did Anakin fulfill it? If so, how? Obi-Wan thought this meant he would “destroy the Sith, not join them”. But how would that be balance?
The prophecy can be understood, but it requires an unorthodox explanation of the Force, heretical to the Jedi, but true to the films. This even reconciles key tenets of Eastern and Western spirituality and exhorts us to attain a balanced life, while purely good, uncompromising with evil.
In The Dark Knight, the Joker brings people face-to-face with their true selves. In danger and chaos, who will they be? In some ways, the 2016 US presidential election does the same.
While some voters truly support their candidate, many feel that they must choose the lesser of two evils. But The Dark Knight draws a line that we cannot cross, even if it means voting third party or abstaining.
Continue reading How Batman Teaches Us To Vote
In Plato’s dialogue Euthyphro, two characters discuss the nature of the divine. While Euthyphro considers himself an expert in pious living, Socrates dismantles his arguments. In so doing, he not only shows that Greek polytheism is internally inconsistent, but the logical extension of this reasoning gives multiple insights into the identity of God or gods, endorsing and discrediting various religious tenets. We find that the Trinity, perhaps uniquely, remains viable in the face of Socrates’s scrutiny.
Continue reading From Plato to the Trinity
At first glance, it may seem that Independence Day: Resurgence is just another story about saving the world. Not so! For former President Thomas Whitmore, it’s about saving Patty, his daughter. While the original movie focused on saving the world, the sequel gives attention to mature people saving the ones they love.
Twenty years after the events of Independence Day, an alien race returns to our planet to destroy all life. Many of the same people who repelled the first attack now lead the efforts (contains spoilers), along with their children and new heroes.
Continue reading Saving Patty (and the World) from Aliens
Ever wonder what it would be like if Jesus came as a Japanese Anime superhero for children? Well, now you don’t have to. Meet Anpanman, who’s head is made of bread called anpan. Even though he has typical superhero powers such as flying and delivering the incredibly powerful “anpunch”, he often saves hungry children by sacrificially giving them a piece of his head to eat. In so doing, he becomes incredibly weak until his father figure bakes him a new head and his strength returns.
So, are you Team Cap or Team Iron Man? You need to pick a side! Or do you?
In Captain America: Civil War, the heroes must answer a political question: “Should the UN have oversight of the Avengers?” (Spoilers follow.) It would seem that they are forced to pick sides, which quickly leads to violence. Then, the internet lit up with fans deciding if they are on Team Captain America or Team Iron Man. Must we so quickly define allegiances, or could this tendency be a fundamental problem in American politics today?
Spiritual Thoughts on Doctor Who, Episode “Boom Town”
Having started with the Ninth Doctor, Christopher Eccleston, I enjoyed watching Doctor Who from my first episode. Great TV makes you feel the tension between opposing ideas and contemplate the nuance found in a complicated world, and the 11th episode, “Boom Town” does exactly this as it considers the question, “How do you treat the guilty?”
Continue reading You Must Be Hatched Again!
Why do we love stories?
Why do they have so much in common with each other?
What if we could learn the deepest truths about reality (and ourselves) from our favorite movies, television, and literature?
Sound absurd? Perhaps our fiction reveals truth in life because God created us to love the Story that He is forging in human history. None argue this better than John Eldredge in his book, Epic, where he breaks all time into a four act play. The following appears in his prologue:
Continue reading Knowing the Larger Story