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02.06.2017

Shaken not Stirred | Connecting with Culture

The name’s Bond. James Bond. Shaken not stirred. Licensed to kill. I could go on.

Last week, Roger Moore, who graced the screen as the iconic British spy during the 1970s and 80s, passed away aged 89. With a film and TV career spanning six decades, he exuded glamour and subdued good humour, his raised eyebrow perhaps his most defining motif.

So what did we love about Roger Moore’s Bond?

Firstly, in the 1970s, Roger Moore’s era, James Bond made us feel safe. Scaramanga, Blofeld, Drax, these were villains we loved to fear. With bottomless pockets, they somehow managed to finance a plan to achieve world domination. Or global destruction. But we always knew that 007 would come to the rescue.

Back then, we tended to view the world in binary terms – the West was good, the Soviet Union bad. It’s not so clear any more. Since 9/11 and the war in Iraq, the lines between good and evil, us and them, have become blurred. Our distrust of our own government has grown. And since the Manchester bombing, we’ve started to worry about the capacity of our own spies, MI5, to keep us safe. After all, it’s impossible to track every ‘potential terrorist’ with limited resources. So, the world feels more insecure, less safe.

Secondly, in the 70s, Bond represented a culture we believed in. And we were winners. When the British flag was unfurled in Bond movies, it triggered a sense of patriotism in many film lovers. It represented democracy, a bulwark against Communism, the Cuban Missile Crisis still a relatively recent memory. Not so any more. British society has become fragmented. There is no agreement on British values. Indeed it generates contentious debate. Dare I say we don’t know what we stand for any more?

But does James Bond tap into something deeper in us?

Perhaps the most significant desire that James Bond, and indeed any hero evokes in us, is one for a salvation figure. When Bond finally triumphed, he saved the world, he saved us. And it’s profoundly satisfying to be saved.

Of course, all movie heroes are dim shadows of the only salvation figure who can truly fulfil all our desires. Christ alone makes us safe, and in him we’re offered ultimate security. But perhaps best of all, we can be sure he’s trustworthy.

After all, his word is his bond.

Richard Collins
Richard Collins works with Living Leadership, a ministry which supports church leaders around the U.K. He maintains a blog called Mirth and Melancholy.

Comments

  1. Well said. The challenge is finding ways to convey to the world that it’s the movie heroes who are the dim shadows, and not Christ. It’s so easy for the world to see it the other way round.

    By Bruce Gulland - 2nd June 2017
  2. Question is: do we have a greater affinity with James Bond or Jesus Christ? For we cannot have both.

    By Paul Kunert - 2nd June 2017
  3. Response to Paul Kunert – Hi Paul, can we not have both? Sure, we can’t have both on an equal level and Jesus is Lord of all, but hasn’t God ALSO given us such huge riches in life around us – natural beauty, food to eat, and yes, arts and culture and heroes within the many stories told over the centures – including James Bond – to enjoy and make our life richer? Sure, Bond is very much a flawed hero, unlike Christ, but I reckon we can have Bond ‘as well” – and Scooby Doo and Captain Kirk and President Bartlet, and in real life Otto Schindler and Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King and my granny and and and … Yep, all flawed as well and far from perfect, but all part of the incredible bounty poured out upon us by God directly or through fellow human beings.

    So … I think I get what you’re saying and so I’m not necessarily disagreeing you entirely; it was just that you got me thinking so I’m putting my thoughts out there 🙂 I guess I’m saying yes, let’s have God – Father, Son and Spirit – right up there on top, but yes please, let’s have all the other great gifts on offer too! I must admit I really like the idea of ‘having both’ 🙂

    By Kate - 5th June 2017
  4. Create doubt is one of the few weapons; temporal or spiritual that is left to the enemy. Make us question and doubt the values that we once had in the major majority of our nations. Things ARE black and white. BUT love conquers all our doubts and all our fears. NOT our love – we are so fickle after all – but the unwavering love of our Savior Who was never shaken and only stirred with compassion for the creation He made and who turned from HIM..

    By Kalven Priebe - 7th June 2017

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