Saturday, May 14, 2011

Life Sucks, Truth is Truth and Life is Good

The blog is going to be all over the place.  My mind is racing with a thousand thoughts from too much caffeine, so bear with me.  I started out this morning with one particular thought, and it just snowballed from there.  Those of you that know me will understand from conversations with me that it often go in this direction.  So think of this as just casually sitting in Starbucks with me and listening to me ramble.  You have to by the coffee though.  

Several years ago, when I was a Children’s Pastor, I ran an 8 week movie club for kids during the Summer.  The church that I was serving at had a huge multipurpose room with a big screen and sound system, so it was perfect for keeping a bunch of bunch of restless kids occupied for a at least one morning a week.  Each week featured a Disney or Pixar movie, complete with popcorn, and afterwards I would teach a short Bible lesson that tied into the main storyline.  Kind of a "hidden" message from God.  The week before the club began, I got a couple :anticipated" calls from concerned parents asking how secular movies would teach kids about God.  My favorite one was an irate mother chastising me for even daring to show movies of this type in a church!  Gasp!  I mean, we all know Woody and Buzz went to Hell after they were discarded and finally wore out, right?  Didn't Andy ask them where they would be in 100 years? 

One of my dominate philosophies or theological beliefs is that God’s truth can be found everywhere.  Whether it’s a Disney movie, nature, everyday culture or even other religions, God’s truth can be found if we seek it out.  St. Augustine said, "Where I found truth, there found I my God, who is the truth itself."  His truth permeates creation and all of existence whether we like it or not.  (Psalm 19)  When you think about it, God can reveal a basic truth by any medium he wants, anywhere he wants and by any method He wants.  It reminds me of a scene from the 80s sci-fi movie Enemy Mine.  An alien, played by Lou Gossett Jr. is teaching his culture’s holy scriptures to a fighter pilot from Earth, played by Dennis Quaid.  They are both stranded on a deserted planet and soon become friends.  When Gossett reads a quote, that is almost word for word from Jesus' Sermon on the Mount, Quaid’s character responds, “You know, I’ve heard that before?”; to which this alien from a planet millions of miles from Earth responds, “Of course you have.  Truth is truth.” 
This week I was watching the remake of The Day the Earth Stood Still.  If you’ve seen it, you’ll recall the conversation between the two aliens, Klaatu and the Mr. Wu:

Klaatu: We need to prepare to leave.
Mr. Wu: I’m staying
Klaatu: You can’t stay here
Mr. Wu: I can and I will
Klaatu: If you stay you’ll die
Mr. Wu: I know, this is my home now.
Klaatu: You yourself call them the destructive race
Mr. Wu: That’s true. But still, there is another side.  You see, I love them. This is a very strange thing.  I can’t find a way to explain it to you. For many years I cursed my luck for being sent here.  Human life is difficult. But if this life is coming to an end, I consider myself lucky to have lived it.

When I heard this, I instantly saw a couple of deep and profound biblical truths: Human life is difficult.  (John 16:33)  The Bible is replete with examples of the sufferings we can expect while journeying through life.  Not only that, but in many ways, those that follow Christ are in fact "aliens" living in foreign bodies.  Yes, the Bible tells us that the body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, causing us to reflect on the importance of respecting the vessels we exist in, but we also know that there is much more to our existence than the physical shell that will one day return to the earth and die.  (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)

Through our faith in Christ, we are Spiritual beings.  The substance that is the soul never dies and is greater than the physical body we live in. (2 Corinthians 5:8)  So while we live in the imperfect human body, we experience the imperfection in full.  Human life is hard and as with what Mr. Wu said in the above dialogue, we experience the same dichotomy while we walk this earth.  It's strange when you think about it.  We walk this earth, yearning for something more, sometimes cursing the life we live.  But I wonder how many of us would have just a bit of hesitation to leave it if we had the choice.  In reality, we know that our existence will experience much more in the world to come.  It's inconceivable.  But the temporal is often very hard to let go of despite the eternal reality of what we were really created for.       

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