So this is a new movie slated to come out in the next couple of months. At first glance, it’s your typical Hollywood production. Big name stars, myterious plot lines, and one (apparantly) large disaster. But what’s interesting to me is what is becoming “typical” these days.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems like if this was a movie made in the 80’s, or even early 90’s, it would be exposing the fallacy of this kind of mysterious spirituality. Think Leap of Faith with Steve Martin (one of my favorites). But something has shifted.
I think the movies, or stories, that we are producing are the best mirror to look at to see how the world around us has changed. And it has changed.
I once saw a news piece on Madonna, I’m sure Leslie made me watch it, but it was pretty interesting. Before every concert, Madonna would gather all her team together and pray.
Let that sink in.
Now, the god of Madonna didn’t have any radical demands on her life, at least what I could see from her prayer. It seemed like that god existed to make sure that they were on cue and in step for concerts. But to be fair, sometimes Jesus followers treat God the same way. God exists simply to help us get the best parking spaces at Target. We’d probably never say it that way, but it would come out in how we pray…and live.
But here’s my point. We live in a world now where Madonna prays. And maybe that’s not a bad thing.
I think that the general sense of culture right now, is that technological advancement had taken the place of God for so long, that now we are realizing something. That our Ipod’s can’t replace what we are really after, or Who’s after us.
And here’s where churches come in.
Because I know that the god of vague Spirituality isn’t who we are really talking about when we talk about Jesus. On some level, we find ourselves in Paul’s shoes again at Mars Hill. Speaking to people who believe in everything. But I’m starting to think this is a better connection point to start with.
I remember when I was a kid, my parents would have Bible studies with people often. They had a curriculum that would go story by story, and then it would ask very leading questions. Did Naboth have leprosy: Yes/No, Did Peter say to get Baptized: Yes/No?
And you’d go through and circle the right answers and master the Story of God.
I’d love to talk to the people who wrote the curriculum. I’m sure they had great hearts and motives,and I bet that God even used Bible studies like this. (After all he can speak through a donkey, I don’t think poor methodology is going to stop Him.)
But here’s what those Bible studies missed. God is mysterious, he can’t be put into some test tube and “discovered.” Life is mysterious, and Christians have a story that not only embraces that, it promotes it.
Each time I read the Bible these days, I walk away with more questions. I’ve learned to live in the tension between a God revealed in Jesus, and the God who tells the Ocean when to stop, or tells light when to exist.
Recently, I read the story about when Saul got the Witch to call up Samuel after he died. If you don’t know this story, just imagine a rated R version of Crossing Over. And while I was reading it, all these questions flooded into my mind. Was this really Samuel? How did the Witch not know it was Saul? Why doesn’t the Bible say more about this?
And here’s the point. Life is messy, The Bible admits it, we are the ones who pretend it isn’t.
And so maybe the Age of Spirituality is a good thing. Because the Scriptures have postured Jesus-followers not to have all the answers, but to navigate this story with God. Entering the mess, living in the story of a God who doesn’t share all the answers, but does share Himself.
And that would make one great movie.