Category Archives: Star Wars

Who is your Father?

Yes, this is a deliberate posting of a (very loosely) Star Wars – flavoured post on the day that the new Star Wars movie, ‘Rogue One’, is released!

I sometimes wonder if the ‘family resemblance’ of certain people who identify as Christians is more towards the Dark Side than the Light.

Throughout this post, please bear in mind that, as always, I am not referring to the average Jesus-loving churchgoer, but to those who consider it their duty to poke into others’ lives with their judgementalism and such like.

You see, Jesus said in Matthew 5:44-45, “But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,ย  that you may be children of your Father in heaven“. I’ve written about that here. Someone who does these things is showing the ‘family resemblance’ of Father God’s Kingdom, and that was what Jesus was talking about.

This week, though, I have been looking at the FB pages of several people whom I have seen on there and on forums whom I would term ‘nasty Christians’. Not that they are bad people as such; I used to be like that once upon a time and I know what it’s like to be dogmatic, unbending and rigid in my beliefs; held to an artificial set of behavioural Rules made up by humans (Mk 7:6-7). I’m not saying they are literally nasty people, but that they do come across as harsh and judgemental, making the Gospel unattractive with their judgementalism and sin-policing. They make faith in God just as unattractive as did the Pharisees of Jesus’s day, and they ‘shut the doors of Heaven in men’s faces’ (Mt 23:13)

Now, in a kind of antithesis to how Jesus said ‘you will be called the sons of my Father in heaven’ to His disciples because they reflected His Father’s character, He also chided the Pharisees of His day when He said, “You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies“. (Jn 8:44 (NASB))

The devil is the ‘father of lies’; he’s also known as the ‘Accuser’ (Rev 12:10); the Adversary’ (1Pet5:8 (ESV)) and the ‘thief’ (Jn 10:10).

The thing is that if you look at the actions of these so-called (and I use that phrase in its true sense) ‘nasty Christians’ who do ‘sin police’ with their victims, being their Accuser, being their Adversary, threatening them with Hell, feeding them with a false gospel (i.e. lies) – then let me ask you: whose fatherhood do they most reflect? I would say they reflect the characteristics of the enemy, the devil, more than they do those of Jesus’s Father God. These people condemn other people, and accuse them of sins. Who does that sound like to you? Clue: the last time I looked, accusation is the job of the enemy!

Now, compare that to the way in which real Christ-followers simply love others. “By this will all men know that you are My disciples – that you love each other” (Jn 13:35). Not just your little inner circle of family or people that agree with you (although of course it is them too), but everyone. The fruit of the Spirit called ‘Love’ applies to everyone. Otherwise, “If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that?” (Mt 5:46) No, Jesus meant to love everyone – just like He did – which means to lay down one’s life in service to others. This is what happens when Jesus is allowed to live His life through the believer by the power of His Spirit. It just comes naturally; if you have to force it, you’re not doing it right! And that’s how people will know that you are His disciples, not by being a ‘nasty’ Pharisee!

For those gentle believers battered by the actions of Pharisees, then, I would say this. Jesus said that “The thief comes not but to steal, kill and destroy” (Jn 10:10). The Pharisees are like ‘their father’ in that they steal your assurance (or at least they try to, by challenging your ‘salvation status’), they kill your joy (because Pharisees are killjoys by nature!), and they destroy your peace (with their accusations). Encountered someone like that recently, either online or in real life? Then you can be sure that because their fruits areย  bad – and they are indeed bad fruits! – you do not need to agree with anything that they say/write to you. You don’t need to be afraid of these people, because Jesus said in Matthew 6:20, “Store your treasures in heaven, where … thieves do not break in and steal” – and that (the thieves) includes them! The Kingdom of God takes all sorts, yes, but those people, who are narrow-minded enough to believe naively that they have ‘got it all right’ to the exclusion of others, don’t get to have any say in your eternal destiny! They are not the gatekeepers. It doesn’t matter what they say; the fact remains that they have no say in your, or anyone else’s, salvation! Always remember that the treasure you have is untouchable by those who would seek to deny you it. It really is in that place where ‘thieves cannot break in and steal’. Your place at the table is reserved, and no amount of men’s proclamations can ever take you off the guest list.

But I also have to point out that even for Pharisees, this ‘father issue’ can have a happy ending!

You see, Jesus didn’t mean that the Pharisees were literally children of the enemy. He was meaning that they reflect more the character of the enemy than they do the character of Father God, as I explained above. But, you know what? Jesus, for all His diatribes against them, actually loved the Pharisees. In His way, He was dealing with them in a similar manner to how they dealt with others; imposing their Laws on them and reminding them of how important it was to fulfil the entire Law (Mt 5:19). I believe He did this in order to use the Law for its original intention – to show the futility of human effort in trying to please God by obeying Rules, as is put another way in the quote below:

the-genius-of-jesus

In fact, for some of them, there actually is an historical record of that happy ending! There’s a fairly obscure little passage in Acts 15:5 that says that some of the believers were in fact Pharisees, which means that they did come to believe in Jesus at some point. And even in the passage I mentioned above, they were still pushing their legalism agendas! It just goes to show that it really takes all sorts in the Church, and that the learning of the ways of Grace can take time; as far as I know, that passage in Acts is set in about 50AD (nearly 20 years after Jesus’s ascension), so those Pharisees had probably either never/not yet learned, or slipped back into their legalistic ways (it’s easy to do; this is the natural human inclination!). But whatever the case, they were ‘believers’.

And so, this tells me that there is still hope for Pharisees, even those of today. (In fact there must be; I was myself one, once upon a time, before Jesus set me free!) Although they may well find it hard to slip their legalistic mindset, they are still partaking of the Kingdom, albeit probably in a limited way as they don’t appreciate the full freedom they have!

In fact, I wrote a piece nearly a year ago which gives you a simple ‘acid test’ to determine whether your fruits are ‘good’ or ‘bad’. Whether they are ‘Pharisee’ or ‘Grace-based’. Click here to go to that piece – you might find it helpful!

So, if you have felt your spirit touched by this blog post; if the Spirit has been prodding you about whether you are behaving, speaking and forum posting nastily – more like the enemy than like Father God – be encouraged too. You can be free of all that need to correct others! You can be free to be the person you were meant to be; a child of your Father and not ‘of the enemy’! Maybe check out this blog post for more ideas – and walk out into your freedom. Freedom you were born for. Freedom that reflects your true Father!


SPOILER ALERT
If there’s anyone reading this blog who does not know the significance of the featured (header) image for this blog post, do not continue reading.

(spoiler below!)

 

If you do know the significance, then of course you’ll know that the picture shows the scene from Star Wars Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back where Darth Vader tells ‘Luke Skywalker that Vader is in fact Luke’s father. The classic line ‘No! I am your father!’ – the ‘Big Reveal’ – is of course one of the most iconic moments in the entire Star Wars saga.

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Twin Lightsabers!

After some of my more serious posts recently, I felt I just had to inject a bit of light relief into my blog posts.

The Bible says to “…take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Ephesians 6:17). Now, whether that refers to Jesus, the Incarnate Word of God, or the Bible (possibly not, as it didn’t exist when Ephesians was written! And I don’t do bibliolatry*) but in any case, having the Scripture memorised is indeed a powerful weapon in spiritual warfare; the enemy doesn’t like to hear an appropriate Scripture quoted at him!** So let’s call the Bible the word of God for now. And it’s the Sword of the Spirit. I like to think of it as my spiritual lightsaber***.

Now, as you may know, I am a huge Star Wars geek. Not just a fan, but a total geek. And in Star Wars lore, there is a lightsaber combat style known as Jar’Kai, which is the method of using two lightsabers together in combat.

Well-known (to Star Wars geeks anyway) practitioners of Jar’Kai are Jedi Padawan Ahsoka Tano, who wields two lightsabers of different lengths, and (usually) one of them in a forehand grip, one in a backhand grip:

ahsokalightsabers

ahsoka1

…and there’s also Sith apprentice/Nightsister Asajj Ventress:

ventress1

Here’s Ventress using her two lightsabers while fighting against the Jedi Knight, Anakin Skywalker:

anakinventressduel-kamino

Now, here’s the funny bit. At home, and also when I go to my church’s life group (our housegroup), I take two Bibles.ย In effect, I’m carrying two swords. Or, as I’d prefer to think, my twin lightsabers!ย Here’s the Star Wars equivalent: effectively, I use my Bibles Jar’Kai style. I take my 1978 NIV and my King James Version. I find that sometimes, one version puts a passage in a better, more easily understandable light. An example of the King James carrying a better turn of phrase is in Matthew 18:3 (KJV), as explained in this article. And the other side of the coin is that the Bible I use most is the 1978 NIV, and quite often I use that translation to obtain the modern English meanings of the KJV archaic speech. I find the result to be most illuminating! Each translation has its own strengths and weaknesses. Each Bible covers points the other misses.

Similarly, the Jar’Kai lightsaber style allows the user to cover his/her weakpoints with one saber while attacking with the other, or to get better use out of each saber. Think like the effect of having two lightsabers is greater than the sum of the two sabers.

And, for me, so it is with my Bibles. Some have called me things like ‘Two-Gun Tex’. I’d prefer the Jar’Kai label but nobody knows about it except us geeks ๐Ÿ˜‰ Here’s Anakin Skywalker again (played by Haydn Christensen) improvising Jar’Kai against Sith Lord Count Dooku/Darth Tyranus (played by the late legendary actor Christopher Lee) in Star Wars Episode II – Attack of the Clones:

anakin_dual_wielding

There are more parallels, too. Use of the lightsaber relies very heavily on the Force, which is the Star Wars universe’s equivalent of God. Similarly, the Bible has to be used as inspired by the Holy Spirit. If the Spirit brings to life a passage of Scripture, then that is the point at which the Bible becomes the Word of God – living and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword (Heb 4:12). Although as I have said above, Jesus is the Word of God, the Bible when activated by the Spirit is still a powerful weapon. And we don’t need to be ultra-precise about these things anyway; this is supposed to be a light-hearted piece.

kenobi_faces_grievous

The picture above shows Jedi Knight Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) facing Separatist General Grievous with his four lightsabers****. Now that’s just cheating. Not even sure that counts as Jar’Kai….

And carrying four Bibles would mean you’d have a really heavy bag.

Anyway, yes, it might sound pretentious and maybe even super-spiritual to carry two Bibles to housegroup – but I really do find it useful and educational to do so.

And I know all this sounds completely nuts. But I find it funny, and maybe that’s just a quirky Aspergic sort of thing. But I thought I’d share it because it might get a few chuckles….something we could all do with now and again!


*Bibliolatry is where people are almost thinking of the Bible as God, and anything said against the Bible is seen as blasphemy. No, really. But of course those guilty of bibliolatry can’t see that they are doing it. Now that’s worth a chuckle or two, or would be if it didn’t cause so much misery!

**Please don’t be under the impression that I take my Bibles to housegroup in order to start Scripture-bombing fights with people. I don’t ๐Ÿ˜€

***If you don’t know what a lightsaber is, be advised that it’s a famous weapon from the Star Wars movie franchise. It’s like a laser beam formed into a sword and it can be used for both attack and defence. And it’s deadly in the right hands; deadly in a different way in the wrong hands (you’d end up chopping off bits of yourself and your friends ๐Ÿ˜‰ ). Another parallel about the use/misuse of Scripture!

****In Star Wars Episode III – Revenge of the Sith

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The March of the Resistance

Here’s another superb piece of John Williams music from Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens. This piece is called ‘The March of the Resistance’ and I love it. In fact, I love it so much that I have it as the ringtone on my mobile phone. The problem, of course, with having such a good ringtone, is that I never want to answer the phone; I’d rather listen to the music ๐Ÿ˜‰

Williams makes full use of the orchestra in this piece, in terms of instrumentation. It is absolutely full of gorgeous counterpoints, it has a great chord structure, dynamics and lovely attack and emphasis. Some of it is even reminiscent of the piece ‘Battle in the Air’ from the film ‘Battle of Britain’, composed by Sir William Walton, which is a classic piece of movie music. John Williams is one of the greatest creative geniuses of our time.

Have a listen and see what you think!

Enjoy!

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Use the Force!

force doors 4

This is hopelessly true. At least, it is in my case. I always open automatic doors using the Force. Try it and see if you can get it to work too!

force door 3


For those who don’t know, in the Star Wars movies, some characters can ‘use the Force’ to move objects around without touching them – kind of like ‘telekinesis – and this ability can also be used to open doors without touching the handle. I couldn’t find a proper Star Wars YouTube clip to illustrate this, but this is what it would look like:

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“Do, or do not. There is no ‘try’ “

Most of my readers know how much I love to use the mythology of Star Wars to illustrate theological points from the Christian faith. And of course there is no better character than Jedi Master Yoda when it comes to wisdom quotes. With his backwards-facing speech and small stature, it’s easy to underestimate him – until you realise that he’s over 800 years old and has lived under the guidance of the Force (the Star Wars universe’s version of God) for his whole life. He’s compassionate and gentle, wise and powerful. Someone once said to me that he thought that Yoda was ‘…a better Christian than some Church people I know’!

Although sometimes his sayings can be most confusing!

Take, for instance, the saying in the title of this piece.

“Try not. Do, or do not. There is no ‘try’ “

This is actually a fair summary of the message of God’s Grace, in a nutshell.

But first, let’s hear it from Master Yoda himself:

And I’m not the only one who found it confusing. For instance, in the Disney XD series ‘Star Wars Rebels‘, there’s an exchange between Jedi Kanan Jarrus and his young Padawan (apprentice), Ezra Bridger, talking about it:

As I said above, this is indeed a fair summary of the message of God’s Grace, in terms of what we need to do to please God. Naturally, I’m ripping it entirely out of its original context, and saying something completely different from what Yoda meant (I think, anyway!) – but still it’s useful.

“Do, or Do Not, there is no Try”, simply reminds us that in Christ we have the freedom to Do, or to Do Not. There is absolutely no need to Try.

This is so liberating!

You see, as my regular readers will know, I am a strong proponent of Grace. God’s Grace: the undeserved favour of Almighty God given freely and without hindrance or condition to His children. In all the world’s religions, there are really only two main approaches: there’s Legalism, and there’s Grace. And Christianity, at its core, is the only faith which promotes Grace, and this entirely through the finished work of Jesus Christ – although sadly, much of the time, it is bound up with so much other legalistic religious baggage that it’s undetectable in its true form.

Simply put, Legalism is: do this, do this, don’t do that, don’t do that. Try harder to impress God and He’ll look upon you with favour.

Grace, however, is: it’s already done! Because of the freedom Grace brings, Grace is “Do, or do not. There is no ‘try’. “

Grace gives you the freedom to choose to do, or do not, without the Law telling you what to do or not to do. Grace allows you to live life by the Spirit of God, life ‘in the Spirit’, completely unfettered by human expectations of how you ‘should’ obey God’s Law. In short, Do, or Do Not. If you begin to ‘Try’, then you immediately fall into Law and you have ‘fallen from Grace’ (Gal 5:4) in that you are no longer in the state where you are relying on Grace to do things for you, such as making you righteous, fulfilling the Law in Christ and so on. You cannot be in Grace and Law at the same time; it’s either one or the other. To coin a Star Wars phrase, again, you need to ‘trust in the Force’, to ‘let go’ and let God work out His will for you as you walk in the Spirit.

“Do, or do not. There is no ‘try’ “

Because the flesh and the law work together, there is no try, because try is doomed to failure. The Law is weakened by sin, and sin increases through the Law (Rom 7:5-6). The two therefore work together in a vicious circle to produce fruitlessness and death. If you want to live by Law, fine; you will still enjoy fellowship with God after a fashion, even though you will likely be adding in lots of additional burdens like rule-keeping, expected behaviour and having to toe the party line on certain issues like creation/evolution and gay/straight debates. There is a form of fellowship with God there, because God allows people to ‘do legalism’ without it affecting how He sees them. But it’s not because of the Rules you think you’re keeping so well (in fact you will probably be conscious of how badly you’re keeping them!); no, It’s because of God’s Grace, apart from Law, that you areย already made acceptable to God in Christ. But unless you come into the real freedom of the Children of God (Rom 8:21) then you will never be free, completely free, from the desire to please others, from the jumping through man-made hoops in order to please God, and all that other baggage. Make no mistake – the desire to please God through following rules almost always turns into trying to please men, because in actual fact it’s their rules you end up trying to keep, not God’s. The Pharisees of Jesus’s day had the Ten Commandments and some other laws too, but they also added lots of other man-made rules of their own. You see the problem? This still goes on today…..

Grace is over Law – the Law of God which essentially states that everyone has to be perfect, and therefore naturally leads us to the point where we realise we can’t be perfect. And so it leads us to Grace, because the function of the Law is to show us our need for Grace (Rom 7:13). The key here is to realise that and accept it, rather than to go on struggling under Law!

“Do, or do not. There is no ‘try’ “

Paul, talking about God’s dealing with Israel with regards to the Gospel, (but the principle applies to Jew and Gentile believer alike), says in Romans 11:6, “And if by grace, then it cannot be based on works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace” (NIV) The King James Version actually adds in more, which I find helpful: “And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work” Romans 11:6 (KJV). That elaboration in the KJV is helpful because it explains that whichever mode of belief you subscribe to – Law (works) or Grace – they are mutually exclusive. You cant exist in both states at the same time. To try to do so means you become ‘double-minded‘ because you are in and out of the ‘state of Grace’ and blown about all over the place (Jas 1:5-8)

“Do, or do not. There is no ‘try’ “

I still maintain that, for many believers (even those who understand Grace), the temptation to become acceptable to God through performance – ‘works’ – is a vestigial remnant of their desire to please God in their own strength. But what of where James says in Jas 2:14-26 that “faith without works is dead”? Don’t we need both faith and works? Yes, but only in that works are the fruit of faith. A life lived in faith will produce good works; as usual in many Christian circles a lot of people have got it back-to front and said that good works prove your faith. In one sense they do, but it is not the job of fellow believers to be ‘fruit inspectors’ who ‘police’ others’ works! And the interesting thing here is that actually even those whose walk is under Law still do produce some fruit, because their hearts are in one sense right before God in that they desire Him and desire to walk with Him. But the primary holdup with Law is that the Law-walking believer is never walking in the complete freedom that is his by birthright.

Why have I gone to such lengths to describe the futility of the walk under Law in this piece?

Because these are all examples of Try. It’s all about what we do, rather than about what Christ has already done. What part of Christ’s work does the Legalistic believer think was not completed properly, such that he needs to complete Christ’s work for Him? No, this is Try. Even for those who claim to recognise Grace, but then try to prove they love God by trying to obey rules, it’s not really living under Grace; it’s living under ‘mixture‘. True Grace is completely different. There is no compulsion to try to fulfil the Law in order to please God, because Jesus has already fulfilled the Law on our behalf. There is the freedom to Do – works for God flowing from the depth of our love, and relationship with, Him – but not in order to try to earn His favour, which we already have. The freedom to enjoy life with all its blessings without human rules and expectations getting in the way. There is the freedom to Do Not; the freedom to just rest in God and trust Him for all our own righteousness rather than try to earn it for ourselves – which we can’t do anyway!

Despite all my convoluted explanations above, it’s really very simple.

Under Grace, you have the freedom to Do; you have the freedom to Do Not.

But to Try – I think we’ve already seen how futile this is.

No, it’s always got to be this:

“Try not. Do, or do not. There is no ‘try’ “
do-donot-yoda-pie-chart

 

 

 

 

 

 

And May the Force be With You!

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“It’s true. All of it.”

I love how Christians can learn so much from Star Wars mythology. In the trailer for the new movie, The Force Awakens, there is the following exchange:

Rey: “Those stories about what happened….”

Han Solo: “It’s true. All of it. The Dark Side; the Jedi. It’s all true”

What was it that turned the cynical, hard-bitten smuggler, Han Solo, who originally said that in all his travels, he’d never seen anything like this ‘all-powerful, invisible Force, controlling everything’, into a man who came to believe in all the ‘mumbo-jumbo’ of that same mythical ‘Force’? Well, the thing was, he’d seen it in action, used by his friend Luke Skywalker. There was no longer any doubt in his mind.

And so, thirty years after the events in ‘Return of the Jedi’, Han Solo can tell these two young adventurers, Rey and Finn, about the Force – the “… energy field created by all living things; it surrounds us, penetrates us, it binds the galaxy together” – with some authority, even though they’ve never really heard anything about it. He can tell them it’s true, because he knows it is.

And for Christians, this of course reflects on the reality of Jesus.

Sometimes because of our circumstances, sometimes because of the pressures of life, we become cynical; we become discouraged. We wonder if God really does have His Hand on us. And so it’s time to look back at the things God has done for us in the past – at the times when His Hand was certainly on us; at the times when we’ve seen Him in action. At the times when He provided just what we needed, at just exactly the right time. Or maybe we should listen to the testimonies of our Christian brothers and sisters who have also found God’s provision to be just what they needed, when they needed it.

Then, when we look at the promises of God, we can also expect them to be true for us in our lives. And even the vast apocalyptic prophecies, like at the end of Revelation and in parts of Daniel (e.g. late in Chapter 7), where it speaks of a heavenly city, and the people of God shining like the stars of heaven – It’s true. All of it. These things, one day, will happen, and will become historical fact. And – and I find this the most exciting thought of all – we will be there! And we will see it, and take part in it. Now isn’t that something mind-blowing?

Because we can say, along with Han Solo, “It’s true. All of it.”


The header photo is of the legendary actor Harrison Ford, reprising his role as ‘Han Solo’ in the new Star Wars movie, “Star Wars Episode VII – The Force Awakens”

The full speech is found in this Episode VII third trailer, at time point 1:08 and then at 1:29 in the YouTube clip below:

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The Jedi Steps

My regular readers will know that I love to share things that I think will bless them; things that have blessed me that I just want to share the joy of. That’s why I share cartoons, music and aircraft pictures as well as Christian insights.

So, here is a lovely piece of music from the new Star Wars movie, The Force Awakens, composed by the legendary John Williams. It’s the music from the final scene of the movie, where the lead character, Rey, climbs up a long flight of steps, filmed at the monastery on the remote Skellig Michael island, off the southwestern coast of Ireland.

jedi_steps_skellig

The haunting theme is so gorgeous, and then the music goes into the end-credits of the movie, where several of the major character music themes are explored; Rey’s Theme and The March of the Resistance being especially superb. This is classic John Williams soundtrack music at its very best: evocative, emotive and thoroughly immersive. For Star Wars fans, at least ๐Ÿ˜‰

Anyhow, less of my blathering – play it and enjoy it!

 

 

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Faith and the Suspension of Disbelief

A vital element of all storytelling – from any genre or time period – is the suspension of disbelief. The ability to believe that the characters and events in the story are really happening, or at least possible, is essential in order to enter in to the story, appreciate it, and enjoy it.

I’ve deliberately published this blog post today, on the day of the release of Star Wars Episode 7: The Force Awakens – the first new Star Wars movie in ten years. I’m a huge Star Wars fan; I love the characters, I love the stories, I love the hardware, I luurrrve the music, and I love the fantasy and escapism of being spirited away to a galaxy far, far away for just a couple of hours. And I love the parables and parallels for everyday life that, despite it being a fantasy, still come across so clearly in all good stories, like in the Star Wars saga*.

Apparently, they’re going to be producing a new Star Wars film every year, so forget the annual Christmas countdown; from now on it’s going to be the annual Star Wars countdown for me and other Star Wars fans – now that’s some Bah, humbug!

star wars composite

And as for Lord of the Rings – well, I could easily live in Middle-Earth….. ๐Ÿ˜‰

(Problem is, of course, there would be no Internet…. ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

One of the lessons I have learned from being a Star Wars fan is that the ability to suspend my disbelief is actually a powerful aid to faith. Naturally, I believe that the ability to suspend disbelief is a God-given ability, enabling us to believe what can easily be dismissed as unbelievable. The idea of a supernatural, all-powerful, all-loving Being; the idea that He can make the sick well and raise the dead. The idea that He appearedย as a human and came to live with us in the flesh. All mighty concepts, and all almost unbelievable.

Except that, of course, we have the ability to suspend disbelief.

imperial-star-destroyer

Naturally, you’ll know that I’m not saying that I believe that having faith is ‘false’, as in, it’s all made up. However, I do believe that God gives us the ability to suspend disbelief so that it’s easier to believe in Him, because it makes it easier for us to believe the unbelievable. To put this another way, I mean that the ability to suspend disbelief, in order to enjoy a story (a fantasy story or indeed any other story), enables us to far more easily believe things that would be hard to grasp by the the rational mind alone. And so the reality of what appears at first sight to be yet another giant fantasy – the Gospel – is more easily grasped.

And this especially applies for people like myself who have a natural tendency – both in my thinking and training – to believe only in evidence-based things that can be proven empirically. For the straight-laced, dyed-in-the-wool scientist, there’s nothing quite like a bit of pure fantasy to enable the supernatural-belief systems to kick in as required! ๐Ÿ™‚

star_destroyer_wallpaper-bow

And it also allows us to believe God for so much more than we see, so much more than we read, so much more than we think is possible. Our expectations of God are then limited only by our imaginations; however, God Himself is not even limited by that! “…Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us” – (Ephesians 3:20)!

In some ways, it’s like when Jesus said that we needed faith ‘as small as a mustard seed’….if you like, that small mustard seed of faith can be supplied by our imagination, and God does the rest. We imagine as far as we can, and God takes over from there and makes it all real. Now that’s pretty deep, and you will need to pray that through with Jesus in order to get full understanding of it.

But the essence of all this is that our imagination, our ability to suspend disbelief, even our love for a really good story – which is all from the same roots – is a God-given gift which is there to help us in our faith.

Let’s use it!


As a postscript, you may also be interested in this article by Harvey, owner of the blog ‘Evangelical Liberal’, where he discusses why imagination is so great and why some Evangelicals feel threatened by it. Click the logo below to go to the article.

cropped-cross-sky1 evangelical liberal


 

*Of course, there are many Evangelicals who would claim that the mythology of Star Wars – the Force, the Jedi Order and all that stuff – is just a thinly-cloaked pile of witchcraft, sorcery or other ‘evil and dangerous’ – well, they’d probably use the loaded word ‘dabbling’ in there somewhere. To those people, I would say that you need to get out more and enjoy life – it was made for living! The Force is just a metaphor for God, and is a parable of the supernatural gifts that are ours for the taking; maybe not in an exact Biblical sense, but there is still so much to learn about God, you don’t have all the answers, and neither do I. Relax a bit and let the people have their fun! And you might have some fun too….

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