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Friday, May 18, 2007

We don't need another hero

I started working on this post ready for the May synchroblog. It was all typed up ready to go when I had trouble putting the links in for the other bloggers. In the process of trying to fix this I somehow moved to another page and when I returned my blog was gone!! I was so fed up that I left it and the busyness of life jumped in so here I am again, a couple of days late with "We don't need another hero" take 2.

I don't like to draw conclusions too easily but I did get a feeling that, because my post was taking a slightly different approach to many of the others, there was some divine intervention in removing my post before I'd thought it through some more.

I have to be upfront; I do not consider myself to be an "out there", postmodern, emerging thinker. don't start thinking that I am a modernist, reformed, conservative blogger either. In fact, I resist labels in Christendom as much as I do in the mental health field. What has this to do with the blog? Well, not much except to try and help readers to resist slotting me too easily into a box before considering my point of view.

What I am about to say is not reflecting upon any of my fellow synchrobloggers but I get pretty cheesed off with Christians searching for Jesus under every cultural rock and looking for any "star" who shows the slightest interest in Christianity as a spokesperson for the Church. Bono is a case in point; seems like a nice bloke; does some good work for campaigning against debt; has good days and bad days; when he's spiritual sectors of the church lift him onto a pedestal and when he says the "wrong" thing or wears devil horns suddenly the church don't want to be near him. Thankfully he wrote "Yahweh" and was redeemed from the firey pit once again.

Now this topic got me thinking about how Christians seek symbols and meaning in movies. Each time a good guy/bad guy film appears (which is many films) some Christians go ahunting for the Christ figure and the triumph over evil. My thesis for this post is that "we don't need another hero" because we already have one in Jesus Christ himself who died once for all. If I am misunderstanding cultural critiques then please someone help me to understand.

I appreciate movies, especially those that seek to explore the human psyche but sometimes we need to accept that a director is seeking to portray a story and make it as popular as possible. The director most likely will not be laying subtle threads of Judaeo/Christian imagery through the plotlines.

I fear that I am making as little sense as my first attempt at this post but now that Blogger has an autosave function I feel some divine approval in this modified attempt.

One of the negative aspects of seeking for spiritual meaning in movies is that as well as the good the bad (evil) is often found. This is what causes Christians to miss some of the wonderful world of horror and sci-fi because they are scared that somehow by watching such films they are opening themselves to demonic oppression. I get the same arguments from some people who discover how little Christian music is in my vast collection of records and cds.

Why can't a horror movie simply be a filmwriter's journey to explore darker subject matter? Why do we have to fear the darker side of media? I am a pentecostal of sorts by persuasion and am not knocking the theology of angels and demons but I am suggesting that it is problematic if it constricts our lives through superstitious fear.

Have I made any sense? If I have failed to hold together a coherent argument I will finish by reiterating my central premise - we don't need another hero. We don't need a type of hero or any kind of hero because Jesus has done all that needs to be done. Now please pass me the popcorn and let me just enjoy the movie.


Pastor Phil said...

Nice. I like how you de-mythologize film here. Even to the point of pulling superstition out of horror.

Jenelle said...

Hey Les,
Blogger brought us auto-save one day late!

I resonate with you when you mention:
...the theology of angels and demons but I am suggesting that it is problematic if it constricts our lives through superstitious fear.

It does seem silly when we make blanket statements about what is demonic, and what is not. Although I'm pretty open to conversing with culture, I'm sure I'm guilty of this, too. It seems that we always want to bypass the practice of having to talk to God about these things. Easier to put things in boxes where they're safe than having to wrestle with the questions.

p.s. I think Bono is great because he never apologizes for who he is, or changes to be more acceptable. And because he's probably done more to raise awareness of the AIDS pandemic and global issue of poverty than anyone I can think of.

Colin A. Lamm said...

Cheers! Likewise I am not a particular fan of labels -- although I know I have often fallen to the temptation of applying them myself. Sometimes it just takes too much of an effort to not use one . . .

On the other hand, I do think we need heroes. But not the out-of-this-world superheroes like the Incredible Hulk, Superman, Cat Woman or Spiderman types who possess super-human powers. Likewise, I am not advocating hero worship which clearly runs (at time temperamentally) rampant within Western culture. Unfortunately it is the prevalence of these two realities (super-heroes and hero worship) which often takes over.

I'm thinking of the healthy example that certain individuals like Mother Theresa, Francis of Assissi, Martin Luther King Jr. can be to people like me who apart from them would conclude that there is no hope at all in attempting to be like Jesus.

You are right though: Jesus is the only one worthy of worship. These others, we must conclude, no matter how holy they appear in our eyes, were flawed and by no means proto-typical. Jesus is our prototype. Hopefully this made sense.

Sally said...

good post les- though I suspect we view things from oposite ends!!!
God is good :-)