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11.01.2018

In a Galaxy Near, Near to You… | Connecting with Culture

There are two things that Star Wars does better than any of the other sci-fi, superhero, surrogate-saviour movies.

First: no one does cute creatures better – organic or electronic – ewoks, R2D2, C3P0, BB-8, Yoda himself, and most recently, porgs. Ok, they are not quite as adorable as the Skellig Michael puffins they were modelled on, but hey when it comes to creativity it’s always been tough to top God.

Star Wars’ second great distinctive is this: no other movie franchise better understands this elemental truth of the universe – there is a reality deeper than our senses can apprehend, a reality that underpins everything, and impinges on everything. Yes, other franchises have individuals with superhuman powers, but they all operate in a closed universe. There is no ‘force’, nor any active ‘divine being’ beyond.

In Star Wars, the counterfeit reality that’s presented is a hodge-podge of 1970s new age flummery and pseudo-Zen monkery, laced with a quasi-Judaic understanding of the soul’s battle between ‘the impulse to good’ and the ‘impulse to evil’. The ‘force’ itself is impersonal, morally neutral, and manipulatable, and the extent to which it will or will not ‘be with you’, depends on genes and training. As such, it is radically different from the personal, righteous, and unmanipulatable triune God. Nevertheless, Star Wars has boldly gone where art has often found it hard to go – opening up our imagination to the possibility of a transcendent reality that affects daily life now.

This, I think, is one of the hardest truths to live out consciously day by day – there is more to life than what we can see with iris and retina. God is alive and well and pro-actively working out his purposes in time, over time, and today, in my life, and yours.

The Gospel, after all, is not only a plan of personal salvation but the announcement of the good news of Jesus’ cosmic victory on the cross – VU Day. Victory in the Universe Day. And his victory inaugurates a new era in human possibility when the Spirit of God comes to dwell in all those who trust in Christ.

Followers of Jesus then are citizens of a different kingdom, with constant access to our Creator-Redeemer-Renewer God and his empowering presence. So, God-with-us, we don’t need to regard any person or any situation from a merely human point of view.

This day, in every situation, the Lord be with you.

Mark Greene
Mark is Executive Director of LICC.

Comments

  1. Excellent piece, I will share widely. Thank you.

    By Ruth Murray-Webster - 12th January 2018
  2. Mark, typical MG writing – fresh, captivating, concise, dense. Capturing the imagination of the reader who is tired of scrolling and hyper-reading. Engaging with modern movie culture. Jesus said to Simon, “Do you see THIS WOMAN?” Simon didn’t see “this woman” – he only saw what sort of woman she was. It occurs to me that the invocation “The Lord be with you!”is the wrong way round! He is already present – the question is, AM I PRESENT to His presence! Thank you for this reflection.

    By Howard Peskett - 12th January 2018
  3. And also with you, Mark

    By John Westwell - 12th January 2018
  4. A very encouraging message – thank you.

    NH

    By Neil Hughes - 12th January 2018
  5. Finally someone who sees both the positive and the imperfect sides of the basic point in Star Wars: transcendent reality touching upon everyday life. Hear, hear! I will certainly quote you (once more). Thanks!

    By Martin Slabbekoorn - 12th January 2018
  6. What a great piece of writing Mark, thank you, I will share this widely today. And may the Lord be with you and LICC today and throughout the year.

    By Ann Page - 12th January 2018
  7. Thank you, Mark. May the Lord continue to be with you and the team.

    By Brendan Bain - 12th January 2018
  8. May ‘the force’ of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit continue to be you and each of us, Mark. Write on, brother.

    By Niall Crozier - 12th January 2018
  9. Amen to that!

    By Cynthia Tews - 12th January 2018
  10. Yes engaging piece and good comments – Howard Peskett I recall some conversation with you from Bristol CU days 1990-93… so the great challenge for Christian artists is to create work of similar cultural impact that more accurately portrays true spiritual reality, as, say, CS Lewis sought to do… It’s a challenge and project that through media production & writing I personally am keen to engage with…

    By Bruce Gulland - 12th January 2018
  11. Great piece Mark.

    By Philip Hamilton - 15th January 2018

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