A Sect of Supers Blending In?

In case you haven’t noticed, I’ve sort of been composing a Pixar theme around my most recent movie discussions. You can check out Finding Nemo here and Monsters Inc. here. It’s for no other reason than building anticipation for Disney/Pixar’s newest movie Brave, coming out July 22, and I’m just going mad waiting for it. Poor Sarabeth has to put up with crazy/anxious me every spring until Pixar’s annual summer movie comes out, then we go see it and I find that it’s better than I expected and I rave and rant impatiently until it comes out on DVD in the fall. And the next spring the whole process starts all over again, but she is gracious and patent with me.

Whether it’s intentional or not, I feel like The Incredibles is just saturated with so many deep-rooted themes about the importance of family – in the traditional sense. If you’re having marriage problems, I seriously recommend watching this movie because the makers of this film really get people. (Watching a movie won’t solve your problems, but sometimes it can help identify what you’re really feeling and why you’re acting the way you are.) Then read Love and Respect  if you’re serious about getting your marriage back on track.

But we’re not going to focus on the marriage aspect of the film here. What strikes me during this movie is how Christians can relate to the Parr family in The Incredibles universe. You’ll recall how some people are born as Supers (people with super-human powers). Back in the 70’s they were revered by citizens all over, respected, honored. Then as lawsuits became more of a common practice in America, people who were injured while being saved by a Super would sue their hero, some even claiming that they didn’t even want to be saved. The Supers had no choice but to disappear, or blend in, and become average citizens, not using their super powers.

So let me ask you: Have you been blending in with the rest of the world? Have you been refusing to operate out of the conviction of the Holy Spirit? Maybe you’ve been hurt too many times by people telling you that they don’t want your Jesus. Maybe, you’ve thrown your hands up in surrender saying, “If they don’t care about their own soul, then why should I?” Well, the thing is, we’ve got to remember that anyone who isn’t alive in Christ is dead.

Literally, spiritually dead. So, how can a corpse care for himself? That is why we have been empowered by the Holy Spirit to shine the light on them and let the Holy Spirit do His work. Now, we cannot bring people to life, but God can. We are just the messengers, or the nurses in the great operating room of life, if you will. When the doctor asks for a q-tip, we bring the doctor a q-tip. In the same way, when the Holy Spirit beckons us to talk to the difficult customer in a loving, God-honoring way, we must do just that, and shine the light of Jesus in their direction so that the Holy Spirit has an advantage to work on their heart. (Not that the Holy Spirit is dependant on us to do His work in any way; think of it as a father allowing his son to help change the oil in the car, even if he doesn’t quite know how.)

Brothers and sisters, we have been empowered to do a work that is unique from anyone else in the world, but the world doesn’t want us doing that work. Jesus predicted this. He said that the world will hate you (but it’s really hating Him). The world will stop at nothing to silence us, and make us blend in with the rest of the fallen human race. Go to work, get your work done, come home, and do it all again the next day.

Don’t you get it? That’s the kind of mundane meaningless existence the world is calling us to! That, and do whatever you please when you’re not punched in on the clock. But God has called us to live a much better, more purposeful, more dangerous kind of life. He is calling us to engage in warfare! We are to be battling the demons that are keeping the caskets locked on your co-worker’s hearts and whispering lies to your unsaved friends. We are to be battling them daily, all the while keeping their filthy claws out of our own lives.

We must not pull back from the War and go about our lives as though it didn’t exist, and that we are here simply to just live and let live. Engage in the battle. It may not be fighting giant robots on tropical islands, but it may be learning to open back up the communication lines between you and your spouse, or becoming more involved in your kids’ lives. Helen Parr imparts this wisdom to her daughter: “Your identity is your most valuable possession. Protect it.”

If you’re a true Christian, your identity is in Christ Jesus. You must protect that, and live like that is true. You will be noticed, and people will call you out on being a Christian because you’re different from everyone else. But that is a very good thing – that is exactly what God wants! Because what better opportunity to enter the battleground and share the Gospel with them so that you can be a part of possibly escorting that person to the Gates of Heaven?

Don’t squelch the powers God has given you in His name. Use your gifts, your talents, your resources in order to bring honor and glory to Him. Blending in is exactly what the enemy wants us to do. Not seeing our family as a great adventure is part of our enemy’s grant scheme. Don’t give in. Stay strong, and persevere. Step onto the battleground, reveal your identity, and fight the good fight.

The video is corny, but here’s a song I tend to listen to when I need to be reminded that we are fighting in a war. It’s featured at the end of Prince Caspian, and it brings me to tears every time: The Call

Keep on eye on The Incredibles director Brad Bird.

[Image Credit]

Summer Movies

I have a few weird habits concerning my movie collection. First, I alphabetize my DVDs. I’m sure that’s one of those things that’s weird, but common. Second, I categorize them into Drama, Action/adventure, Comedy, and animated in four different cabinets throughout our loft (and of course a special shelf that exclusively displays my Pixar movies). Now, that’s getting a little weirder. But wait – there’s more! The weirdest thing I do is watch my movies seasonally. Most people have regular movies, and Christmas movies. I divide mine up into Christmas, winter, spring, and fall movies. Quirky, I know. I just can’t watch White Fang when it’s 98 degrees out, you know?

So with that said, I’ve just pulled out all of my Summer movies that we’ll be watching in the next few months and I realized that most of them have a recurring theme (no, this was not intentional). Most people have common themes that run through their DVD and book collections. For some, their themes might be romance, and finding your true love (Never Been Kissed, 10 Things I Hate About You, Bridgett Jones’s Diary). For others it might be the idea that death and blood and gore are glorified elements (Halloween, Freddy, Walking Dead). For many, the theme is mindless (and sometimes funny) 90-minute breaks from reality (Dumb and Dumber, Anchorman, Monty Python).

The theme for our Summer movie lineup, I discovered, is redemption. Bellow are films I highly recommend if you’re browsing through Netflix and just need to be inspired to get off your chair and do something meaningful for others and your family. Feel free to recommend some of your own. Enjoy!

The Last Samurai

I remember years ago when I saw the poster for this movie hanging up in the hallway of the movie theater, I thought instantly, “That has got to be a joke.” Tom Cruise as a Samurai warrior… really? But this film wows me the more times I see it. Though my wife and I quibble over the validity of this film’s origins, it is a wonderful reminder that no no matter how far we’ve sunk, how far we’ve fallen, or whatever we’ve done, there is always a reason to redeem yourself and a chance to start your life anew.

The Majestic

Say what you will about Jim Carrey, but he really does pull himself together for this one. It’s a perfect film to celebrate 4th of July or Memorial Day. This film is a testament to why we should stand up for what we believe in and not be so pacifistic as many of us have become. It reminds us that our freedom came at a very high cost and that there is shame in shrugging it off as no big deal. Our country was worth the fight, and if we agree, we will show a little more respect toward it.

Sweet Home Alabama

I’m not much into romantic comedies at all, and this movie is hardly a funny, though it is lighthearted. I appreciate this movie so much because it defends the honor and integrity of marriage. The main characters have been trying for a divorce for many years, but something in them just won’t let them go through with it, even if it means ditching the new boyfriend. Marriages are worth fighting for, and this movie shows that it’s not easy, but the rewards can be great.

Cinderella Man

Whenever you put Russell Crow and Ron Howard together, you’re in for a great time. Not great time as in, escapism. But more like, getting to see a movie for what, I believe, movies are meant to be made for – documenting the lives of otherwise overlooked, great personalities in our world’s history. Cinderella Man is a fine film that does just that. Our country is headed toward hard times, and this is a great film for fathers and husbands to see to give them a picture of how a real man handles difficult times.

The Sandlot

This is an oldie, but very much a goodie. And yes, the 4th of July scene with the fireworks makes me cry every time. With all this talk about putting a stop to bullying these days, this is a great film for kids to watch as it shows that we can’t expect to change society to accommodate our insecurities, but we must be willing to adapt to some surroundings if we want to be accepted into a group. Show ’em what you’re made of and you’ll earn their respect.

Other redemptive movies: Finding Neverland, A League of Their Own, A Beautiful Mind, Finding Nemo, Cars

Image credits: Last Samurai, The Majestic, Sweet Home Alabama, Cinderella Man, The Sandlot