Monday, May 24, 2010

LOST - The End

In case you were under a rock or on another planet, you are fully aware that Lost series finale aired last night. It was a very emotional and sad finale of Lost where we did not get any real answers to the countless questions that surfaced during the last 6 years. Of course, there are two extremist views of “Lost” – all plot vs. character – and I suspect most are more like me, somewhere in between. The show has always been more about the characters than the mysteries.

Now as far as the final show goes…..I thought most of it worked pretty great; the reunions in the sideways (Sawyer and Juliet in particular, but all of them were splendidly played), Sun and Jin (who got their English back one last time), the farewells in the real world, the final battle between Jack and Smoke Monster on the cliff, etc. You would have to be made of stone to not get choked up at one or multiple points, whether it was Jack passing on the protector job to Hurley (an appropriate end for the "fan surrogate character" as he's been called) or Kate and Charlie again helping Claire deliver Aaron, or Locke forgiving Ben, or one of a dozen other moments like those. Really, up until those last minutes, which I'll get to in a bit, I thought it was a wonderful final episode.

As far as that ending……..with them ending up at the church…..Now, I’m not 100% confident in my interpretations (which is stating the obvious), but here’s my thoughts… take is that indeed we discover via Christian Shephard aka Jack’s dead father that all of the people on Oceanic 815 including Desmond, Daniel, Charlotte, Kate, Sawyer, Miles, Claire, Sayid, Sun, Jin, Locke, Hurley, Benjamin, etc. did really live on the island but when they died they moved on to L.A for their flash-sideways world was the afterlife – taking place after everyone died, but not in any real time frame. In the end, the characters’ experiences on the island bonded them together – “the most important time of your lives” – and they all reconnected in the afterlife, before moving on to… the light.

As with everything else in “Lost,” there are statements and then there are layers. For instance, most of the “recognition” moments took place when two people in love encountered each other in the afterlife. And in the afterlife, everything always seemed to work out. The couples that were supposed to be together ended up together. Love won out. Hurley was the “luckiest man in the world.” Locke was cured of his paralysis. Things just always seemed to work out. For everyone. That’s how many people in our post-modern world see “the afterlife.”

Now I can't say I found "The End" wholly satisfying as closure for this season or the series.

I do believe it’ll be years before another cult hit like this comes along. We’ve all just witnessed something special I think. One of the greatest dramatic TV shows of all-time.

I have come to see the show not just as entertainment but also an exercise in storytelling, debates in modern moral dilemmas, and reflection upon theological and spiritual undertones.

These theologies are NOT always overtly Christian on LOST, but they make us think about the Christian life so that we can gain perspective in our own lives.

Please, don't get me wrong. Lost is not a particularly Christian show, even if there are spiritual overtones (good verses evil, faith, redemption, love, etc.) Fact is, there are elements of many philosophical and religious traditions, and as such, it should not be placed in the same category of creative works as, say, those by C. S. Lewis, who wrote stories that intentionally reflected a worldview of Christian orthodoxy.

Nevertheless, one of the valuable things about watching Lost is that it invites us to confront our ideas of who God is. Is God personal and forgiving? Is He cold and uncaring? Is He distant and unknowable? Does He leave us to our own devices? Or does He actively intervene?

So if Lost fans are seeking within its narratives the secrets of life, meaning and significance they will eventually walk away disappointed and frustrated.

But the good news is the "Good News" -- the Gospel of Jesus Christ. "The Son of Man came to seek and save what was lost" As believers in Christ, we can appreciate the echoes of truth that reverberate in quality entertainment options like Lost, but we get to have a personal relationship with the One who is the Truth. And through Jesus, who is the Word, we have access to a God who has chosen to make Himself known to His people. (John 1:14, 18)

To put a spin from our Christian perspective, my hope is to, as Desmond would say,“See you in another life brother.” (John 14:1-6)

God bless,
Robert Prater

Thursday, May 20, 2010

"Sunday's Coming" Movie Trailer

This is a sad video of the reality of a great deal of today's “contemporary” churches whose primary objective is to be “relevant.” We need a Biblical and spiritually healthy blast of what worship is really supposed to be….not what the modern church is looking like.

The simple worship of the early church was quite surprising to pagan visitors. Indeed, this very fact caused much enmity of unbelievers.
“Another circumstance that irritated the Romans against the Christians was the simplicity of their worship, which resembled in nothing the sacred rites of any other people. They had no sacrifices, temples, images, instrumental music, oracles, or sacerdotal orders; and this was sufficient to bring upon them the reproaches of an ignorant multitude, who imagined that there could be no religion without these.” (Mosheim’s Ecclesiastical History, p. 30)

Worship is all about God (Psalm 146; Rev. 19:10). What that means is God is our primary concern when it comes to worship. Much of what drives man’s worship today (not exclusive for today, been true historically) is self and not God! Today much of the focus is to conduct worship in such a way that it becomes attractive and appealing to people! Nothing wrong with that to a degree. But we must always be reminded and taught that worship is not about us, but God!

Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth." (John 4:23-24)

God bless,
Robert Prater

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Christ has no hands here but yours

This picture above is from a real statue that exists outside Christ the King Catholic Church in San Diego. The hands were broken off by vandals around 1980. Instead of repairing the hands, the church decided to put up a plaque at the base that states, 'I have no hands but yours.' This is a reference to a poem by St. Teresa of Avila (1515-1582) that reads the following:

Christ has no body now on earth but yours,
no hands but yours, no feet but yours,
Yours are the eyes through which to look out
Christ's compassion to the world
Yours are the feet with which he is to go about
doing good;
Yours are the hands with which he is to bless men now.

The statue without hands is still there in San Diego, a powerful symbol of a great truth. We ARE His hands. And He wants us to use them in His service, which means in the service of others.

Some people try to do, love, give, abstain, or serve just enough to get by. I guess you can live life that way. But, there is another way...a better way.

There is a way that gives more than it takes, that loves more than it is loved, and that experiences Christ in such a way that it cannot help but to extend itself practically so that people may actually catch a real glimpse of Christ by looking at us. That's the way I want to live. When I arrive at the end of my life, I pray that I have spent myself in a mission that is worth more than my comfort or self interests. Those are convicting words and a great challenge. I hope to live up to them.

"He sat down, called the twelve disciples over to him, and said, "Whoever wants to be first must take last place and be the servant of everyone else." (Mark 9:35 New Living Translation)

For Christ,
Robert Prater