Monday, June 16, 2014

Everything is awesome - theology part 3

One of the things that might concern some Christians about using the Lego movie for theological illustrations is the fact that "the man upstairs" is a kid. This is not a high view of God they might say. The (Lego) universe is being run by a child. But apart from this, I see some fruitful areas for thought.

One of the things I like about the movie is the way in which the kid deals with the problem - that of the desire for static control, a limiting of freedom. He tells us story. For some people, the bible is a collection of aphorisms or sayings to pick and choose from. For others, a set of devotional readings to draw spiritual succor from. Sometimes this personal value taken is at the cost of any sense of who wrote the book or to whom they wrote it. Still others read the bible as a big rule book. I remember reading that some US Baptist group didn't have a view on climate change because there was no verse on it!

When I say the bible is a collection of stories, I'm not saying it's all made up. To be sure there are parables, mythopoetic passages and so on. But I believe in the empty tomb and the resurrection, in accounts of people who saw things with their own eyes.

The bible as story says that there is a plot, a story teller, characters, and so on. And I don't think that means that the characters are 2D with no substance or indeed will. Emmett, when in the human world still moves for himself. But the story idea means it isn't a bunch of rules to remember (though there are those too) or a privatised experience to be had (though they exist too, more particularly a relationship). The story is something to enter into, to act out, to see through to its conclusion. And there is a conclusion, where the issue at hand, the evil of the hell of fixed existence (the movie) or a world out of shape apart from God (reality) is brought to its end.

Everything is awesome, because the story is headed somewhere!

Now if you aren't religious like me, in a sense the point still stands. Tell stories to motivate change, not just state facts. Even if you think the only people writing the story are us, make it one that is realistic but positive, work towards the goal. There are many problems to be solved; tell a story where they are solved and then act it out.

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