Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The Modern Parable

There seem to be a number of opportunities cropping up today to dialogue about the Christian spiritual life and the truth of scripture that we overlook. And considering where these opportunities are appearing, it's somewhat surpising we don't take notice.

I'm talking about the movie theatre and the home theatre. In the last several years we've seen movies released that contain strong and pervasive spiritual themes. I started noticing it with the Matrix Trilogy. Some things the Wachowski brothers (writers/directors of the films) intended, and others were probably unintentional. I've written a commentary for the films that I may post here or at "Paeter's Brain" sometime. It's filled to the brim with comparisons to biblical truth. (Beware of major spoilers!)

Neo, the obvious Christ figure, sacrifices himself in the third film. He bears the weight of sin, represented by Smith. Smith, who has corrupted the entire world of the Matrix, just as sin has done to ours, consumes Neo, just as Christ took the weight and burden of our sin at the cross. Once Neo has done this, the door was opened to everyone in the matrix to be freed if they will only believe in the truth.

After which, they are promised a life in the city of Zion. Zion, of course is taken directly from scripture and is the holy city of the new earth promised in Revelation.

I could go on and on. This trilogy is so incredibly packed with good stuff. But let's keep going.

Superman Returns-

Despite some obvious problems with parenting that don't reflect Christ, Superman is a major Christ figure in this film. Luthor even stabs him in the side with a Kryptonite shard that looks remarkably like the head of a spear. Superman also makes the ultimate sacrifice to rescue everyone from impending doom. And even more exciting, he "rises from the dead" just before a nurse (Mary Magdalene) discovers only linens and an open window in his hospital room. Superman even tells lois at one point, "You say the world doesn't need a savior, but every day I hear them crying out for one." The film's director, Brian Singer, has openly admitted that all the messianic references were purposely included.

We also see strong themes of the gospel in "The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe". And the spiritual walk and challenges of a Christian life can be seen in the recent film "Pan's Labyrinth". This film contains strong themes that can be compared to spiritual warfare, living surrounded by people who don't share your beliefs, the pain of life and the promise of heaven.

Some Christians will look at these films and because they are violent, or have bad language, or don't perfectly represent Christ and biblical truth, choose to take offense at them. But what an opportunity I think they're missing! Jesus recognized that storytelling is a powerful way to imprint the truth into our minds. He told many fictional stories that contained spiritual truth, and his listeners were enchanted by them. Here we have opportunity to use stories to open dialogue about eternal truths. So many people today are open to "spirituality" that they will be more ready to talk about these themes than you may expect.

So the next time you see a film that reminds you and really impacts you with spiritual truth, turn to your friend, your spouse, or your family member, whether they share your beliefs or not, and say, "Wow. That really hits home." You never know what opportunity may be presented for you and someone else to learn more about each other.

Paeter Frandsen


  1. Would you compare Showgirls to Exodus or is that a stretch? =)

  2. Hmm. Using "Showgirls" as philosophical/biblical coffee-house chat might be a bit of a stretch for me. ;)