The Subtle (and NOT so Subtle) Dismissal of Faith
Whether we realize it or not, faith in Christ is being undermined every day in our culture, and no source is more powerful than the entertainment industry in that effort. Story lines that directly attack biblical ideals, characters that think mock faith or religious practice, and overt highlights of the futility or ignorance of Christians have been popularized widely. But it’s the more subtle connections that seem most dangerous to me.
In the final episode of the 8th movie, The Last Jedi, Luke Skywalker lives in a monastic site and the ancient texts of the Jedi are kept there. He has had a protective attitude toward them, so he is shocked when Yoda appears and sets fire to those texts. Luke has believed that the Jedi need to die because he has failed so bitterly. But when those texts are ignited and he expresses his grief and shock, Yoda responds with a mocking question, “Read them, have you?”
The Jedi/Sith conflict is representative of the good/evil conflict, flowing from George Lucas’ interest in a combination of a variety of eastern religions. But in this particular episode, the basis for their actions is destroyed literally, as if their purpose and usefulness has become outdated. Sitting in the theater that day, I was keenly aware that the sentiment of that scene is being applied daily to Christian faith.
I don’t venerate my Bible. I don’t worship it. But it is the guide for how I understand Jesus, why I believe what I believe about Him, about my own life, about my hope, about my moral choices. I see them not as a legalistic set of orders, but as the “operating manual” for life as it was designed by the Creator. So, I trust that scripture and, from time to time, I must recalibrate my life to it.
- My choices need to bend to Jesus’ instructions.
- My character must be evaluated in light of Jesus’ character.
- My relationships must be realigned with the boundaries that scripture defines.
And those recalibration steps begin to produce the healthy fruit of Jesus’ love in my life, my attitude, my choices, and my relationships.
Beginning this weekend, I’m going to start a new series called “Calibrate.” Since last March, I have sensed the growing need to experience this process across a broad front of issues and choices. If we trust Jesus, then it implies that we adapt to HIM, we don’t expect HIM to adapt to us. If we don’t, we will be blind to all the ways that our culture is slowly but surely seeking to reshape us to a different standard where self–not God–is Lord.