We just watched "Avatar," and against my expectations, based on Christian reviews and articles I had read about it over the past weeks, I really liked it.
Basically, we just watched it for our daughter's sake, with the usual, "for whatever it's worth attitude," but I guess I'm too much of a nature freak myself to have disliked this movie, and I would like to express some thoughts here about where I'm afraid Corporate Christendom is mistaken in most of its mainstream interpretations of the film.
I'm not too naive to not see the obvious "
"And the nations were angry, and Thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that Thou shouldest give reward unto Thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear Thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth" (Revelation 11:18).
God happens to love this blue ball, and He apparently does not like the kind of folks who destroy it, regardless of whether they do it in the name of red-white-and-blue flag waving Churchianity or not.
Oh, so there was talk of spirits in the movie. Real scary. They're alive! What a shocker!
The problem with Corporate Christianity is, they like to deep freeze everything: they like to deep freeze the white-hot Spirit of God, if they can, to keep everyone cool and calm in the churches, lest anyone start any revolutionary fires out there, that the Big Holy Corporation couldn't control... They like to believe that the minute you're dead, you're first going into a state of spiritual deep-freeze so you can't spook around and haunt anybody, but that's not what we can glean from the Bible: We have accounts of the spirit of the prophet Samuel, of Elias, Moses, and a cloud of witnesses alive and kicking from beyond the grave, and God turning the hearts of the sons to their fathers. We have a Savior claiming to be the Resurrection and the Life and that whoever believes in Him, would never die, and yet we've got all of His supposed "followers" scared stiff of the mere utterance of the word "spirit."
Sure, the "worship" scenes were a bit weird. But not any weirder than some Pentecostal worship scenes you can watch on Youtube...
Then there are the painfully embarrassing parallels in the story of "Avatar" between the Na'vi ("Natives"?) and not only the American Natives who suffered a similar fate (except for the happy ending), but every native tribe on the face of God's earth who simply had to be pressed into the same civilized molds they reared us in, otherwise they were not allowed to continue to live: "Become like us, or die" seems to be the interpretation of the Gospel since the birth of the Corporate and officially recognized and state-supported version of Christianity roughly 1700 years ago.
And of course, the even more painful parallels between the victims in the movie and the real live victims of 21st century Christendom: "Whoever is sitting on something you want must become your enemy..." Ouch! Better keep praying for our boys to help our generals haul all that Iraqi Oil on Home to Daddy, where it belongs...
There was an article out a few weeks ago about young people being depressed after watching "Avatar" because they would prefer to live in a world like "Pandora"...
Well, can you blame'em? Maybe they just got sick of gray! Maybe they prefer green to the color of concrete. Maybe they're sick and tired of the plastic world you're handing them!
And apparently you haven't managed to convince them yet that the Place the Christian God has in store for His believers is actually real, or really where it's happening. Perhaps, if they figure you're going to be there, walking around in your suit and singing those humdrum holier than thou songs, they couldn't possibly imagine they're going to be happy there.
Personally, my own idea of my favorite spot in Heaven is a lot more like the Home of the Na'vi than a church building. Chalk it up to my early "Tarzan" influences (since I devoured a bunch of antiquated Edgar Rice Burroughs tomes in my childhood), but I always thought it would be cool to have a home in a gigantic tree...
Maybe yours is all streets of gold lined with one church building next to another, just like in
But who says that Heaven has to look exactly the same everywhere? Last I heard, it’s a mighty big Place.
I also have no problem with the teaching that God is everywhere and in all living things. I think of Him as being a lot more inclusive than that warmongering, genocidal, separatist version of Christianity that has always preferred its own philosophy of "kill whatever is different" over its supposed Founder’s order, "Love your enemies!"
- The argument, of course, being, "Well, who knows what would have happened, if we would have loved our enemies, instead of killing them?"
I guess God knows. Maybe some day He'll show all of us what might have happened if the American Natives would have been allowed to continue their existence prior to their extermination, and what Christians might have learned from some of them. Or what if one and a half million Iraqis wouldn't have been ransacked on grounds of some very shady excuses...
I know it's tough, learning to love those who are different. We even resist our own children and their weird inklings to want to watch weird movies like that... (Not to mention our wives' sudden inspirations like wanting to get a dog and open up a tattoo shop...)
We must preserve our own values.
But that's not something we're willing to do. Not for Him, and certainly not for "mother earth."
We insist on keeping driving our "the-fatter-the-better" cars, and we insist on being the champions of the world.
We can't grant "the others" the slightest chance of ever becoming a threat to us. We've got to make sure we remain no.1 "for the sake of the gospel..."
Well, you know my opinion about that type of Gospel.
I supposed a lot of Christians would consider me a traitor the way Jake Sully, the character who tells the Avatar story ,was perceived as having betrayed "his own..."
Who would you rather fight for? - A bunch of corporate warmongers, or any peaceful, though perhaps somewhat strange and foreign culture in touch with nature?
I know, you don't think you could ever make it without all your high-tech toys and your fancy Western life-style, but why not be honest about it and admit that you're having a problem, and it's not "the others"? Maybe they only have a weird religion because in their eyes, yours is even weirder!
Maybe Mohammed wouldn't have even had to cook up Islam, if Christians wouldn't have been such a pitiful bunch of idolaters at the time he came around...
Why not be honest and confess that it's we who are sick, totally addicted and hooked on some shiny temptation that looks almost exactly like the real thing, but on the inside is a far cry from it?
Maybe the enemies of Christianity wouldn't have had to cook up their own New Age religion if Christians wouldn't always fall so badly for every shine temptations their real Enemy comes up with... If we wouldn't fall for him time and time and time and time again...
(Coincidentally, maybe Adam Weishaupt never would have founded the Illuminati if the church had allowed him to marry his deceased wife's sister...)
Our credo remains, "We have declared terror on terror." - Hmmm.
Who are the real terrorists, though?
I guess we'll all know, someday. And a lot of people are going to be in for a shock, when the Dude in whose name they did all that killing is going to pretend as if He never even knew them...
Maybe they never even knew Him. Maybe all they ever worshiped was an idea of Him that couldn't have been further from the truth.
Maybe the truth is somewhere a lot closer to the middle between those "tree-huggers" and the "conquistadores" who want to fell every last tree in the name of progress and enlightenment than most of our conservative brethren would ever have the guts or imagination to consider...
If you ask me, I'd rather be on the side of the victims than on that of the butchers. At least they know how to fight for real, know how to die, and what they're dying for.
Maybe our God is going to turn out being quite the totally “Other” than ourselves: A God Who not only loves the “good,” the rich and the beautiful, but also the weird, the bad & the ugly, and that He would have wanted us to walk a little more in His shoes, if we were already calling ourselves by His Son’s name, and loved “the least of our brethren” a little more, instead of butchering them by the millions…
One really neat thing that was said in the movie was, "You can't fill a vessel that's already full." -- There's more wisdom in that, and more truth about the reality of Christendom than you'll ever hear in a thousand sermons. It's basically the same thing Jesus said to the Pharisees: "If you knew you were blind, you wouldn't be to blame, but because you think you see...."
When we stop learning and all we want to do is convert everybody to our way of seeing things, something terrible has begun to happen.
You start missing the very purpose for which you were born on this earth. You start seeing everybody who's different and doesn't think and act exactly the same as you do as an enemy, instead of saying, "I see you."
Sure, it's a terrible thing that a lot of our youth are seeing
We wouldn't have been the only ones.
It has always happened, since the beginning of time, even to people way more perfect than we ever were, made straight in the image of God...
I agree that James Cameron is sincerely mistaken about a few of his views, such as stated in his "Lost Tomb of Jesus" documentary, or in the apparent assumption that Arnold Schwarzenegger is or has ever been anything like good actor. (although his acting career definitely supersedes the political).
He's probably going to get his surprises, too, at the end of life's road...
But I can also see his point. If Jesus was anything like the majority of His followers portray Him, I'd have changed over to the "
I love my enemy enough to be able to learn from him. Unfortunately, sometimes I have the impression that there's more to learn from some of our enemies than we can from our supposed friends.
It wasn't the Romans who were bent on crucifying Jesus, but His own religious leaders...
When will we ever learn?
P.S.: Lo and behold, I wasn't the only one in my opinion, as this article shows: