The Functional Church Blog

koinonia * kerygma * diakonia * marturia

Archive for the ‘movies’ Category

Sometimes I Wish I Had A Magic Wand

Posted by functionalchurch on 2011/02/03

In the popular series of movies Harry Potter, I observed an interesting phenomenon. Every time a character wants to perform some mundane task, such as packing their clothes, closing curtains, etc., all they do is wave their magic wand and the task is instantly done. To be honest, this seems a little bit cool. I mean who wouldn’t want to be able to finish those tasks in such an easy and painless way? I would probably use it for washing dishes and washing the car.

But then I got to thinking about my own relationship with God. Why doesn’t he give me that power? Why can’t I, who have been a part of his family for my whole life, just wave a wand (or perhaps just say a prayer) and have whatever it is instantly done? Of course, some of us have experienced God’s power in this way but this experience is by no means universal.

There must be something in those little tasks that God still wants me to experience. There must be something about washing the dishes, sweeping the floor, packing my clothes, or washing my car that somehow helps me in my relationship with God.

It reminds me of a line in the Star Trek movie Insurrection where one of the characters says something like, “We believe that when you make a machine to do a man’s job, you take something away from that man.”

What do I take away from myself when I try to find the easy way out?

What times do you wish for a magic wand? How can doing that thing yourself help you relate to God in a richer way?

Advertisements

Posted in christian life, discipleship, movies, personal impact, service | Leave a Comment »

What is my White Picket Fence & Church with a Steeple?

Posted by functionalchurch on 2010/05/30

I have been living in a culture that is not my own for almost 11 years. From the beginning, my wife and I resolved not only to follow God’s call to this place but to do so without imposing our passport-culture’s baggage in our host culture.

You see, when I was in high-school I saw part of a movie on TV that was based upon James Michener’s Hawaii. I now realise that the book and movie were based upon Michener’s own misunderstandings of the issues of cross-cultural workers and how they related to locals. However, the story of a missionary who isn’t willing to pass the baton to the locals when the time comes has stuck with me since then. Stories also abound of how people bringing God’s message of Good News also brought with them their own cultures and forced locals to wear clothes, build churches with nice steeples and white picket fences around them.
When my wife and I arrived here, we resolved to leave the cultural baggage behind, and instead just bring the message of God’s love.
Easier said than done.
I recently realised that I am a cultural imperialist! Of course, my version of imperialism doesn’t include clothing and white picket fences. It does, however, include an innate belief that the way I do things is better than the way things are done here. When people do things differently than I would and problems arise I have an immediate solution: Simply start doing things my way and all your problems will be solved! After all, isn’t that what transformation is all about?
If my goal as an agent of transformation is not to transform culture then what is it? My wife’s words were apropos: “You are here to glorify God.”
The realised that the problem is that I am assuming that transformation means that all must embrace my culture. Rather I should assume that all must embrace my God and let the culture sort itself out.
What is your white picket fence and church with a steeple?

Posted in conflict resolution, missions, movies, personal impact, transformation, truth-telling | Leave a Comment »

twilight

Posted by functionalchurch on 2008/12/07

went to see another movie the other day (seems to be a favourite theme of my blogs 🙂

i wasn’t sure what to expect since the movie was supposed to be about vampires. remembering the fun i had watching lost boys when i was in university, i thought that it might be ok.

to be honest, i was amazed!

two thing stick out in my mind right now. they both relate to the character edward (perhaps as the male character i can relate to him more than the female character)

in many ways we are like edward — not perhaps vampires who have to control our urges to kill — but rather sinners who have to control our urges to sin. every day and in every situation we face, we make a choice: will i give in to the sinful body i inhabit (romans 7:24)? or will i live as if i am dead to that sin (romans 6:2-3). edward can be a model for us of this daily struggle we face. this is the true reality of the christian life (at least as i have experienced it). the daily decision to deny yourself and follow the teachings of jesus.

i was a little bit turned off at first with edward’s true appearance as an almost angel-of-light. it reminded me too much of how satan is portrayed in the bible. but then i saw it from another angle — as humans we were created a little lower than the angels (ps 8:4; he 2:6ff) but in christ we are called “sons’ of glory. in many ways as christians we tend to hide our true identity as sons of god. we even hide our true identity as those for whom sin has no power. we fool ourselves into thinking that we are still sinners and deny ourselves the opportunity to really gain victory over it. so maybe we are a little diamond-skinned after all.

Posted in movies, personal impact, sin, temptation | Leave a Comment »

Speed Racer & The Messiah

Posted by functionalchurch on 2008/05/15

Enjoyed a great movie the other day – Speed Racer. (Beware: Spoilers follow. If you haven’t seen the show, go now and watch it before reading the rest of this blog :-). I am not sure what it is but it really appealed to me. I found myself of the verge of tears at times. At others I cheered. Still others saw me reflecting on my own life and limitations. A great movie! Of course the story was not a-typical. A small-town, family-owned racing business tries to compete in the world of corporate racing – together with its inherent corruption and manipulation.

What really clicked with me however was the whole messianic nature of the struggle. In a world oppressed by the aforementioned corporate bigshots that allow no one but themselves to succeed, people are looking for a saviour – someone who can destroy the structural evil of society and bring freedom and peace to the world.

Of course you know how the end goes. The underdog wins; the corporate criminals are jailed; and the world is a better place. The Messiah has come through (again) and done his saving thing. Or has he?

I struggled with identfying the Messianic figure in the show as I compared him to the real Messiah, Jesus Christ.

The obvious choice for Messiah is Speed. He is definitely the underdog. He is a man who lives by a strict moral code. He is passionate about his role in the world. He is even a really nice guy. In the end Speed wins the big race (surprise surprise) and thus brings salvation to the world. A happy ending. Or is it?

A less obvious choice for Messiah in the show is Speed’s brother, Rex. Rex has all the makings of a champion racer. He is fast. He is one with his car. He sets all kinds of records. He also has all the makings of a social advocate. Righting wrongs. Seeking justice. Striving for freedom in the world. Until it all comes apart. He is disgraced. He is ridiculed. His name is dragged through the mud until he dies in a firey crash on a lonely stretch of road in China. We later find out that in fact he has given up his life as a champion racer; his relationship with his family; really his whole life – all for the purpose of saving the world from the evils of corporate racing.

So how does all of this relate to the Messiah? Jesus left his position in heaven as basically the ruler of the whole universe (all Lapsarian, space-time continuum issues, and discussions of how past, present, and future tenses relate to God left behind for the moment) and became one of his own created beings. He lived a life of poverty and hardship on Earth. Spent his time fighting against injustice, structural evil, and abuse. Developed relationships with the world’s rejects and troublemakers and then was crucified on a cross and died.

At the end of “Speed Racer” we are left with a question in our minds. While rejoicing with Speed and his family (and the world) over his victory, we are reminded of the sacrifice that Rex continues to make in order for the world to be a better place. He remains incognito to them knowing that perhaps his job is not done. Perhaps evil will arise again (quite possibly from within his own family) and he will need to be there to stop it.

It’s all about sacrifice. Jesus sacrificed himself so that in the end evil would be defeated. Rex sacrificed himself so that in the end evil would be defeated. Perhaps we need to find out ways to be more sacrificial – to lose – in our lives rather than looking for victory.

Posted in jesus, movies, transformation | Leave a Comment »