Theolo-vision(tm), or, How to Win a Free CD from the RR Store

By

Theolo-vision(tm)Did anyone see I Am Legend this Christmas? Maybe not a great movie, but certainly a good one. Now, I’ve been accused before of seeing Jesus in everything (I’m pretty sure it was meant as an insult) and seeing this movie was another example of my doing so. I’m not suggesting that it’s a deep exploration of the life of Christ or any such nonsense, but when I look at it, this is what I see: an incorruptible man in a hopelessly corrupted (fallen) world who redeems it through his own sacrifice and the power of blood. There’s no disputing the fact that that is both the story of the Gospel and the story in the film version of I Am Legend. Don’t worry, I’m not about to wax poetic about the Passion of Will Smith. I did think it would be fun though to see if other people are afflicted with my bizarre sense of what I shall call, Theolo-vision™ when it comes to watching movies and taking in other forms of art. Obviously, other examples are things like The Matrix, Superman, and Star Wars.

So let’s make this fun. How many bizarre ways can you interpret things to be about the Gospel, Christ, or Christianity in general? We’ll give it a week and whoever comes up with what I decide is the funniest, most obscure, most far-fetched, or plain bizarre Jesus-centric interpretation of a movie, book, or song gets a free CD from the Rabbit Room Store of my choosing, and an official title of Theolo-visonary™.

I’ll start (and prevent you from using the obvious):

Pan’s Labyrinth: young girl holds to her beliefs even when the world considers her foolish and when she’s ‘martyred’, she’s given a crown and a throne and welcomed home as the daughter of the King.

Harry Potter(SPOILERISH): young man of prophecy must accept his destiny to die for his friends and be resurrected to save the world from the Evil One.

Meat Loaf’s “For Cryin’ Out Loud”: This song has always sounded almost like a prayer to me:

(some excerpts)

I was lost till you were found
But I never knew how far down I was falling
before I reached the bottom

I was damned but you were saved
And I never knew how enslaved I was
kneeling in the chains of my master

I could laugh but you could cry
And I never knew just how high I was
flying with you right above me

For taking in the rain when I’m feeling so dry
For giving me the answers when I’m asking you why
My oh my, for that, I thank you

For taking in the sun when I’m feeling so cold
For giving me a child when my body is old
Don’t you know, for that, I need you

For coming to my room when you know I’m alone
For finding me a highway, for driving me home
You’ve got to know, for that, I serve you

For pulling me away when I’m starting to fall
For revving me up when I’m starting to stall
And all in all, for that, I want you

For taking and for giving and for playing the game
For praying for my future in the days that remain
Oh Lord, for that, I hold you

But most of all, for cryin’ out loud
For that, I love you

 


That’s right, I just pulled out Meat Loaf. Beat that. Your turn.

Pete Peterson is the author of the Revolutionary War adventure The Fiddler’s Gun and its sequel Fiddler’s Green. Among the many strange things he’s been in life are the following: U.S Marine air traffic controller, television editor, art teacher and boatwright at the Florida Sheriffs Boys Ranch, and progenitor of the mysterious Budge-Nuzzard. He lives in Nashville with his wife, Jennifer, where he’s the Executive Director of the Rabbit Room and Managing Editor of Rabbit Room Press.


53 Comments

  1. elijah

    Taxi Driver: A man is broken-hearted by the state of a prostitute and goes as far as to be willing to give up his life to save her and set her free.

    The scene where De Niro picks up Jodie Foster just to get her off the street and all she does is try to prostitute herself to him because it’s all she knows takes on a new, somewhat tragic meaning if you view this twisted movie through this lens.

  2. Kyle

    This may sound totally weird, but I have been genuinely moved in spirit by Chicago’s “You’re the Inspiration”.

    “You’re the meaning in my life,
    You’re the inspiration,
    You bring feeling to my life,
    You’re the inspiration,

    I wanna have you near me,
    I wanna have you hear me saying,
    No one needs you more than I need You”

    And I’m VERY much NOT into Chicago. The song just speaks to me.

  3. elijah

    Ok. I have two more.

    #1

    A messenger appears from out of nowhere to tell a young woman she will bear a son, and he will be the saviour of mankind from a relentless death mankind has unleased upon itself.

    The relentless death happens to be Arnold Schwartzenegger, the saviour’s name is John Conner (JC), and in an interesting twist on the immaculate conception, at his birth, his father literally doesn’t exist.

    #2

    A man gives up his life to save the one he loves, and after doing so, tells her to go help proclaim freedom to all the world.

    The man’s name is Rick, his favorite song is “As Time Goes By,” and he runs a little night club in Morocco. On a side note, the movie’s original tag line was “Mysterious City of Sin and Intrigue!”

  4. Drew S

    It probably ought not count, since it was intentional…

    E.T. is a Christ figure, coming from another planet, misunderstood and even persecuted by those who did not understand. He found disciples in the overlooked of society. A light in the darkness, he healed with a touch and raised the dead, even giving his own life for those he loved. Then, he was raised again and returned to be home (with his father?). But he will always be with us. Him and his big glowing finger.

    And I was still looking forward to reading the Potter books. Spoiler free until, well, now. Thanks for the ambush, Pete.

  5. Chris Martin

    THE NEVER ENDING STORY
    Bastian is a young day-dreaming boy who finds himself reading a book that takes him to a world plagued by “The Nothing” which is taking over the world of Fantasia. Many attempts are made to stop The Nothing, all of which are futile, even to a flying dog (Falkor). The redemption doesn’t come from the death of one person, but the death of Fantasia, and it is solely up to Bastian to redeem their world by dreaming. It doesn’t have much to do with Christ, but one could use it in a terrible youth group talk as a metaphor for redemption, sin, or the use of the individual in God’s plan for redemption.

    I know this is a stretch, but I loved this movie when I was growing up.
    It’s creepy and it’s from the 80’s.

  6. Pete Peterson

    @pete

    Ok, I’ve added a spoiler warning to the Potter entry. Sorry if I ruined it for anyone but I honestly figured everyone surely knew by now. I hope that doesn’t stop anyone from reading the series, they are fantastic books.

  7. Rusty Hammon

    The Eagle’s ” Hotel California” is the picture of hell. The general hubris of earthly pleasures including wealth, sex, and wine all seem lovely at first. Then you become a “prisoners here, of our own device”. You cannot leave. Even the “alibis” you bring to justify yourself and spring yourself free do not matter now. It is too late.

    Last thing I remember, I was
    Running for the door
    I had to find the passage back
    To the place I was before
    ’relax,’ said the night man,
    We are programmed to receive.
    You can checkout any time you like,
    But you can never leave!

  8. Brad Atkinson

    It was perhaps the most disgusting episode of the X-Files I’d ever seen, but it really got me thinking. It’s from Season 8, episode 11. There’s a creature that’s being hidden in this small town. He’s grotesque, and obviously pained inside and out. As the story unfolds, you find that he eats people who are sick, then regurgitates them, and they come out whole and well. Meanwhile, he takes on whatever malady they had.

    The story climaxes when agent Doggett is shot and killed by someone trying to keep hold of the healing creature, the “soul eater”. You see Doggett a bit later, naked in his covering of goo, as he is coming back to life, and you find that the creature had eaten him, thereby taking his death.

    It brings to life the agony that Christ went through, and how he took our sins and imperfections on himself so we could be free.

    Notable quotes:
    “It can cure people’s sickness?” “Not cure. Consume.”
    “To understand what this thing is, you have to understand what it can do — its gift. People hate it because they need it.”

  9. Andrew Peterson

    @andrew

    I think E.T. was intentional.

    This whole thread reminds me of a pretty funny (embarrassing) moment about ten years ago. Jamie and I started a neighborhood Bible study for the kids always playing on our street. Most of the kids had no idea who Jesus was, and I’m not exaggerating. So I was teaching them about repentance, and decided to use as an example the scene at the end of Return of the Jedi when Darth Vader chooses Luke over the Emperor.

    (I had planned to just remind them of the scene in passing, but the kids knew less about Star Wars than about Jesus, which was even more surprising to me, so I pulled out the video and showed them the scene.)

    The kids were talking and goofing around, and at the end of my patience I said firmly to one of the kids who wasn’t paying attention, and I quote, “Ashley, close your Bible and watch Star Wars!”

    Jamie still makes fun of me about that one.

  10. elijah

    Just two more (There’s a bit of a SPOILER in the first one. Skip it if you haven’t watched the Bourne movies.):

    #1

    In the first movie Jason Bourne has an identity crisis and learns who he is – a killer (or “sinner”). In the second movie Bourne tries to make amends for his past sins through good works (making right of what he made wrong). In the last movie Bourne gets to the heart of the matter as he works to find out why he is the way he is. He searches for what made him that way. The great moment of climax comes when he learns he is what he is because of his own choice (he willfully sinned). At this point he repents (as evidence by the fact that he doesn’t harm anyone anymore after this point) and is baptized (he literally goes under water) into a new life.

    After he commits his first sin, Dr. Hirsch tells him, “You are no longer David Webb.” In other words, David Webb dies after he sins. After Bourne makes the decision to turn his back on his old way of life, he tells Dr. Hirsch, “I’m no longer Jason Bourne.” I see shades of 2 Corinthians 5:17.

    They should have called the movie “Bourne Again,” but of course then Christians would have probably called for the movie to be boycotted.

    #2

    In the Peanuts comic strip Linus and his blanket is a charming picture of faith. Linus always carries his blanket with him, and though others try to take it from him and make fun of him for having it, he never relinquishes it. In fact, when others chastise Linus for his blanket, it is usually the blanket that gets the better of his oppressors. The blanket can be seen as both evidence of his weakness and as his greatest strength. Linus is the character who most often displays faith in the strip – the Great Pumpkin and explaining the true meaning of Christmas come to mind. One could even argue that Linus and his blanket are the only example of love that is not unrequited throughout the entire run of the strip.

  11. elijah

    Oh! I forgot the tag line for “The Bourne Ultimatum” – “This Summer Jason Bourne Comes Home.”

  12. Molly

    The late Dan Fogelberg’s Leader of the Band gets my “just off the top of my head” entry:

    …his blood runs through
    My instrument
    And his song is in my soul —
    My life has been a poor attempt
    To imitate the man
    Im just a living legacy
    To the leader of the band.

  13. Caleb Land

    I’ll say John Wayne in “The Cowboys.” John Wayne was a God like figure, a man of myth and legend, viewed as almost immortal (he only died in three of his movies). He takes a group of unruly “disciples” in a bunch of boys and remakes them in his own image.

    He dosen’t just remake them, though. He also adopts them as sons, in a metaphorical sense. He takes care of them and loves them like his own.

    In the movie’s climax, he willingly lays down his life to save the boys. He could have gone all John Wayne and shot up the bad guys, but instead, in one of his most vulnerable scenes, he surrenders his life so that they might live.

    When the boys return later to bury his body, it’s mysteriously gone. They leave behind a tombstone that says “Beloved Father.”

    This was a great western, and also one of John Wayne’s best movies.

    I have plenty more where that came from, I’m accused of seeing the gospel all over pop culture as well.

  14. jeff

    Molly, thanks for the nod to DF. “Leader” was obviously about his earthly father, but the sentiment can be transfered to Jesus. Dan wrote some really good songs with themes of redemption, seeking, solace, and the wonder of God’s love. Check out: “Along the Road”, “Don’t Lose Heart”, “Empty Cages”, “The Face of Love” and “Magic Every Moment”.

    Elijah is working hard on this and has some good ones, but since Pete asked for “obscure” and “far-fetched”, how about a rambling 11 minute song from ’86 titled “Brownsville Girl”. I had to listen many times to even get a clue to what it is about; but in it’s multi-threaded plot I see wandering, rejection, false hope, corruption, rescue, realization, and ultimately truth about our condition. Oh, and a hero who is killed but doesn’t want retribution for his killer. It’s a biblical narrative tied to Gregory Peck. Pretty far-fetched, and fairly obscure. Bob Dylan wrote these great lines:

    Now I’ve always been the kind of person that doesn’t like to trespass but sometimes you just find yourself over the line. Oh if there’s an original thought out there, I could use it right now.

    You know, it’s funny how things never turn out the way you had ’em planned. The only thing we knew for sure about Henry Porter is that his name wasn’t Henry Porter.

    Strange how people who suffer together have stronger connections than people who are most content. I don’t have any regrets, they can talk about me plenty when I’m gone. You always said people don’t do what they believe in, they just do what’s most convenient, then they repent. And I always said, “Hang on to me, baby, and let’s hope that the roof stays on.”

  15. Jason Gray

    @jasongray

    The best thing about this post is the naming of this thing that so many of us here do. Theolovision – I love it! I can’t not try reading the gospel into any song/movie/book I’m exposed to. I was just writing an email to a friend of mine this morning about how these activities (listening/watching/reading) to me are always like prayerful meditations. It’s a three way conversation between me, the writer/director/author, and God. It’s hard for me to make it anything else. I usually have to turn something off in me, disengage in some way. This is why I’m usually bored with any art that doesn’t actively engage me this way. It’s why I have a violent inner reaction against my family’s enjoyment of Barry Manilow. It’s why “American Pie” is offensive to me (not because of it’s bawdy content, but because it never looks beyond itself). It’s why certain best-selling thrillers don’t appeal to me.

    If it doesn’t in some way address the God-shaped hole, it’s usually not interesting to me. Aimee Mann for me is a great example of a non-believer whose work I find great value in because of how well she articulates the Fall. “…baby there’s something wrong with me… that I can’t see…”

    Not that I can’t enjoy art that doesn’t afford this kind of engagement, it’s just I’m drawn to work that does. I think the heart of it is that the gospel is THE great human story. It’s like it’s programmed into our DNA and we can’t help but long for other stories that speak in some way to that one great story.

    The other great thing about this post is trying to think of the most random thing to apply this to. Meatloaf? Sweet! I was immediately trying to think of how I could make Mr. Roboto fit this template. Or how I could extoll the virtues of “Dude Where’s my Car” I’ll resist and instead try to offer up some movies and books that really moved me this way.

    Watching “Magnolia” has always been a near ecstatic experience for me. The voice over at the end tells the story in a lot of ways about knowing when to give justice and when to give mercy. (P.T. Anderson allowed each character to find redemption except for the father who molested his child – a conscious punishment directed at the father of his then girlfriend, Fiona Apple)

    “O Brother Where Art Thou” always spoke to me of faith. Everett’s character always adhering to his optimistic humanism and belief that progress would save mankind. Then when “the devil” had him cornered and he finally fell to his knees to plead with God for intervention, they were saved by the flooding of the valley (I always wondered if that was ever a sly play on the verse “when the enemy comes in, like a flood God will raise up a standard against him”). Once they escaped their tormenter, Pete points out that God heard their prayer, which Everett quickly dismisses and points out that there were plans to flood the valley long before and they just happened to be at the right place at the right time. The day was coming soon when technology would do away with all the religious hocus pocus. Just then he spots a cow on the roof of a cotton house, which was prophesied by a prophet in the beginning of the movie. There’s more, too, but it’s funner to watch it than read about it.

    As annoying as it sounds – I got something from Nacho Libre, too. It wasn’t until Esqueleto insulted Nacho’s orphans that Nacho was finally able to overpower him (the scene where he says “I hate all the orphans in the whole world!” and Nacho grabs him. In every other scene, Esqueleto overpowers Nacho, but here the tables turn and Nacho finds the right motivation for fighting – not for glory, but for the poor orphans).

    Now the danger with Theolovision is how it can take the fun out of a movie if I voice my observation to others, so more and more i just keep it to myself so I don’t annoy everyone around me.

    Other honorable mentions:
    The Shawshank Redemption
    Les Miserables
    Batman
    Spiderman
    The Green Mile
    Ratatouille
    The Big Lebowski
    Big Fish

  16. Curt McLey

    @curtmcley

    The Big Lebowski. That’s too hilarious. I kid you not, when I read Pete’s article this morning, I just about posted The Big Lebowski (but only as a joke). I actually had the post typed out, but thought the better of it when I realized that not everybody shares my silly sense of humor. I’d sorta kinda like to hear your take on this, Jason. On the other hand, maybe it gives me an excuse to rent it again. It’s been awhile since I’ve seen it. Please don’t tell me you see The Dude as a Christ figure. 🙂

  17. Andrew Cos-

    “Tummy Trouble,” the Roger Rabbit cartoon short . . .

    … Roger is the Jesus figure who continually puts himself in harm’s way for the sake of saving Baby Herman. Mankind, of course, is represented by Baby Herman, as we have no true sense of how much danger and trouble we are in, and just keep on swallowing The Rattle (Sin) without thought. Roger swallows The Rattle and goes to surgery (heh, and through all the crazy named doors!) in Baby Herman’s stead.

    I was going to say that Jessica Rabbit is the Devil figure here, “accidentally” dropping the bottle for Baby Herman so ends up crawling into the dangerous operating room, but the “pattycake” talk with Roger at the very end made me grimace as the metaphor broke down immediately. Heh!

    It’s great how Baby Herman’s voice in reality sounds like a pack-a-day New York taxi cab driver. Anyone see a Biblical parallel there?

    I feel like Gullahorn might one day write a lyric referencing this work of true cartoon genius and its underlying Gospel message. . . or something like that.

    Watch it. I think y’all will agree: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=188752074226939086&q=tummy+trouble&total=32&start=0&num=10&so=0&type=search&plindex=0

  18. agroves

    The first thing that pops into my head is the movie, “Children of Men.” In a world where mankind is sterile, one woman miraculously conceives and gives birth to a son. This chaotic world driven by violence suddenly comes to a halt. One of the most powerful scenes in the movie occurs when the baby is being moved across a battlefield. The fighters, never having seen a baby in their lives, stop shooting and stare in amazement at this symbol of hope before them that brings peace. Finally delivered safely, this baby boards a ship called the “Tomorrow,” hinting at a new life present in a world of hope.

  19. Pete Peterson

    @pete

    Curt, please, please, PLEASE give us your Big Lebowski interpretation! I love that movie. It’s good just knowing the Dude is out there. The Dude abides. I take comfort in that.

  20. J.A. McKnight

    Okay, so I won’t finish this one tonight, which means no one can steal mine. Remember the new Hulk movie? I remember crying in that movie because something in it hit me related to scripture. I can’t exactly remember it now, which means I’m going to have to go back and watch it. Seriously, God spoke to my heart through that movie as strange as it sounds. I’ll explain later after watching the movie again.

  21. Mad on a Gray Sea

    Thanks Jason for mentioning Les Mis…there’s a line in fact from the book/play …”To love another person is to see the face of God…”
    Phantom of the Opera? The phantom sacrifices his self/desires so that Christine can be free.
    Donnie Darko!! Jake Gyllenhall chooses to die in order to save his girl and family, and in to keep the fabric of reality from unraveling.
    Event Horizon? I think Lawrence Fishboure is the space ship captain…sacrifices are made to prevent his entire crew from sliding into some hellish outer space void. But it’s been a while since I’ve seent that one, so maybe not!
    Saw a post here on the Rabbit Room about the Innocence Mission’s Brotherhood of Man… the lyrics about glimpses of divinity in humans…Christ walking among/within us.
    And the first thing that popped into my mind was this song by Bright Eyes called Bowl of Oranges…on the Lifted album.
    These lyrics make me think of Jesus, Pure Love, God, Salvation. Imagine if Jesus were singing this to you as a lullaby tonight:
    “Baby don’t worry cause now I got your back. And every time you feel like crying, I’m gonna try and make you laugh. And if I can’t, if it just hurts too bad, then we will wait for it to pass and I will keep you company through those days so long and black.
    And we’ll just keep working on the problem we know we’ll never solve of Love’s uneven remainders. Our lives are fractions of a whole. But if the world could remain within a frame like a painting on a wall. Then I think we would see the beauty. Then we would stand staring in awe at our still lives posed like a bowl of oranges, like a story told by the fault lines in the soil.”
    Anyways…it speaks to me about the mysterious Love and Path of God.
    Ummm, off topic, but, it’s my first chance to tell everyone…I really appreciate this site, and find myself checking in on it pretty often to hear what new thought provoking voices of the day are saying. And I’m not really even “Christian”. So thank you all!

  22. Alex Green

    Okay, so this one is a bit of a stretch, but see if you can follow my thought process. The Chronicles of Narnia. Just kidding, I don’t think that one even needs theolo-vision ™ for that movie. Actually, the movie Unbreakable is a great movie and the first thing that I thought of. All that Bruce Willis’ chracter wants is to find happiness. When he tries to manufacture that, but he still finds he has an unfulfilled feeling he can’t escape. He eventually comes to the realization that he needs to use a greater power (superpowers in the movie, God in the metaphor) that he has been spending all his life running from. He finally embraces the truth (or Truth) and realizes he needs to live the life he has been made for. Only by that sacrifice of will does he finally find that fulfillment. Then somehow the broken pieces that are the rest of his life seem to fit together. Somehow by giving his life away he finds it.

  23. Jason Gray

    @jasongray

    I forgot to mention Toy Story. This is a bit of a stretch… but I used this at a camp I spoke at a few years ago. I was thinking of the reference in Revelation when we will be given a white stone with our true name on it, known only to God. I’m infatuated with this idea of naming, and how being named is a part of what sets us free to become who we are meant to be. I always think of this passage related to Isaiah 49:16 where we are told that he carves our name in the palms of his hands. These two images speak to me of my true identity and God’s commitment to me.

    So I’m remembering the part in Toy Story when Buzz and Woody are trapped in Sid’s room. Buzz has finally realized that he’s actually a toy and not the real Buzz Lightyear and he’s paralyzed by his indentity crisis. He’s given up and is just passing time waiting for Sid to blow him up when he finally looks down and sees the name “Andy” written on the bottom of his space boot. The realization that he belongs to Andy – that his identity is “Andy’s” – breaks the spell of his depression and of course he escapes and all’s well that end’s well. But I loved this idea of how until he embraced his true identity he was living in a false reality. And though he was disappointed when that false reality crumbled, he found great meaning and purpose in his real identity as “Andy’s”.

    It’s a stretch, I know. And maybe it takes some of the fun out of the movie to put this much pressure on it, but that’s one of the thoughts I had when I saw it.

    JG

  24. Aletheia

    God has many names and many roles, but a golf caddy?

    The Legend of Bagger Vance is my favorite movie of all time, barely beating LoTR.

    “Inside each and every one of us is our one true, authentic swing. Something we was born with. Something that is ours and ours alone. Something that can’t be learned … something that got to be remembered.”

    “Yep… Inside each and every one of us is one true authentic swing… Somethin’ we was born with… Somethin’ that’s ours and ours alone… Somethin’ that can’t be taught to ya or learned… Somethin’ that got to be remembered… Over time the world can, rob us of that swing… It get buried inside us under all our wouldas and couldas and shouldas… Some folk even forget what their swing was like… ”

    “you ain’t alone… I”m right here with ya… I’ve been here all along… Now play the game… Your game… The one that only you was meant to play… Then one that was given to you when you come into this world… You ready?… Stike that ball Junuh don’t hold nothin back give it everything… Now’s the time… Let yourself remember… Remember YOUR swing… That’s right Junuh, settle yourself… Let’s go… Now is the time, Junuh… ”

    Gosh i love that movie. I want to watch it again, now.

    -jeremy

  25. Chris R

    Now I dont really know if I ever would hear this and think about Jesus but you could say that this is the thoughts of Jesus… he knows that what was originally a beautiful creation will be a crown of thorns, but the night of sin will have the dawn of redemption… not sure how the cowboy fits it (he rode in on a donkey and prayed a lament for Jerusalem?)
    Poison – Every Rose Has It’s Thorn
    chorus
    Every Rose Has It’s thorn
    just like every night has its dawn
    just like every cowboy sings the same sad song
    every rose has its thorn

  26. Molly

    been thinking about this a lot lately …

    the most recent moment of KIngdom serendipity I’m recalling was “The Game Plan,” a Disney flick I was willing to endure for the sake of family time together (and with three kids from 9 to almost 17 those don’t come easy).

    I was struck by the story of redemption that unfolded before me, all because a little girl loved her daddy.

  27. Nate

    “and sometimes soldiers die settin’ people free, thats more like Jesus that I’ll ever be.”

    From Randall Goodgame’s “Susan Coats’ Pants”

  28. Julie

    This one’s really obvious, so I’ll just quickly mention it. The movie Signs has some great spiritual moments. I won’t elaborate though because its obviously intentional and kinda hard to miss. If you have’nt seen though, you need to. I love it (along with just about every other Shyamalan film)!

  29. Matt McBrien

    Well, this isn’t from a movie, book, or song, but I figured I would throw it out there any way. In the video game, “The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion”, the emperor and heirs are killed at the start of the game. He reveals to you that he has another son. Soon after, you learn that this son, Martin, is a priest living in the small town of Kvatch. Kvatch is being attacked by evil creatures from the plane of Oblivion.

    You save the city and find Martin. Upon learning that he is the son of the Emperor, Martin has a hard time believing it. Upon accepting that he truly is the son of the Emperor he begins working in earnest to prevent the coming evil. The creatures from the plane of Oblivion intend to take over all of Tamriel (the world in the game).

    The separation between Tamriel and Oblivion has been prevented in the past by the true heirs of Tiber Septim wearing the Amulet of Kings and keeping a fire lit in the Temple of the One. With the Amulet currently lost to the bad guys, we cannot keep the separation. The bad guys want to kill Martin and end the line of Tiber Septim. I see this as lining up with the heir to the throne of David and the constant sacrificing done by the Jews at the Temple.

    Towards the end of the game, you gather a force to attempt to retrieve the Amulet of Kings. As you are walking through the town of Bravil, Martin is being cheered as Emperor. This reminds me of the Triumphal Entry and Jesus being cheered as King of the Jews.

    Then following your retrieval of the Amulet of Kings, you go to the Temple of the One to have Martin relight the fires. Unfortunately, it is too late, and the evil Dagon has crossed into Tamriel. Martin sacrifices himself by smashing the Amulet and becoming one with the god Akatosh, whose blood was in the Amulet, in order to destroy Dagon and seal the separation between Oblivion and Tamriel forever. This, of course, I see as corresponding to Christ’s crucifixion.

  30. elijah

    SPOILERS FOLLOW IN THIS DESCRIPTION OF ASIMOV’S “THE LAST QUESTION.”
    If you haven’t read it, I suggest finding it and reading it first. Asimov’s stories usually twist right at the very end, and I’d hate to ruin one for anyone.

    Isaac Asimov was an avowed humanist. As a humanist, he believed that God doesn’t exist (except as a god that humans create to placate their dissatisfaction with their lives and to control one another), and mankind is capable of solving all of mankind’s problems. In a humanist’s eyes we are our greatest hope. (See also the directorial works of Clint Eastwood for thoughts on where thinking we are our only hope leaves us.) Asimov was anti-Christianity and anti-religion in general.

    In what he called his favorite short story, “The Last Question,” Asimov creates a universe where humans create a supercomputer that slowly expands itself and betters the human condition until we have no problems and are all of literally one mind. All the while the computer is trying to answer the question of whether or not entropy (the winding down of all things) can be reversed. The computer’s repeated answer is, “There is not enough data at this time.” Eventually, after the last star has died and all of mankind has been absorbed into the computer (which becomes a sort of consciousness) and an eternity has passed, the consciousness figures everything out and begins to recreate the universe. The consciousness begins by saying, “Let there be light.”

    Most critics see this as Asimov’s greatest triumph against religion. “See,” they say, “Asimov proved that a diety is not needed for life to exist.” I see this story differently. I think this proves that even an atheistic humanist recognizes that this world didn’t come from nowhere, and there has to be a creative force behind it. I think Asimov, albeit unintentionally, proved himself wrong in the midst of trying to prove himself right.

    Asimov went wrong when he considered heaven a place of eternal boredom. He said if heaven is a place free of vice and free of ambition, it must surely be a horrible place where we simply exist, and who wants to simply exist for all eternity? This is, of course, a non-Biblical view of heaven. In the Bible, heaven is described as a place where we feast and work and raise children and love each other. What’s more we grow eternally in knowledge and love of God and in being known and loved by God. He is eternal, and so we will never exhaust Him. We too are created in His image, which means we are eternal too, so I think that means we will also never exhaust ourselves or each other. Eternity is a place of ever increasing wonder. This earth is but a shadow of things to come. As The Proprietor wrote:

    “The sun that’s shining
    Is a shadow of the truth”

  31. Hannah N

    I’ve never commented before, but I’ve been reading the Rabbit Room for quite a while, and really appreciate what you all are doing over here.

    I’m surprised no one has brought up Serenity yet! That movie is chock full of examples related to the Gospel. I think a lot of it as intentional, especially how they look at human nature. But here’s the scene that really got to me. **Possible Spoiler** The crew is beat up and are coming close to sacrificing their very lives to the Reavers, all for River. In this story River is the only one who knew the truth all along, and the only one who could defeat the Reavers. So she does. To me the picture of truth fighting and defeating the enemy was striking.

  32. Curt McLey

    @curtmcley

    Pete wrote:

    Curt, please, please, PLEASE give us your Big Lebowski interpretation! I love that movie. It’s good just knowing the Dude is out there. The Dude abides. I take comfort in that.

    My Rabbit Room comment on The Big Lebowski was going to be a feeble attempt at a joke, which I actually deleted before I posted it, probably for the best. I was just going to throw it out there for comic relief. Then I was a little shocked when I saw Jason Gray’s listing of the same movie after I deleted my post. Jason apparently really did notice some theolovision in The Big Lebowski. So my post was a response to Jason’s including it in his list. We haven’t heard from Jason on this, so maybe he intended it as a joke too.

    “The Dude Abides?” That almost seems like it could be a spiritual reference as in “Abide in Me, and I in you” (John 15:4). On second thought “Abide in the Dude and the Dude in you,” only makes me laugh, so I should probably leave it alone.

    As believers we are often counciled to “rest in Him.” The Dude definitely has the resting thing down pat, though “lazy” is probably closer to describing The Dude than “resting.” On some level, one has to appreciate the guys laid-back sensibility, though I’m obviously stretching the idea of Theolo-vision TM to the breaking point.

    The movie is not family fare–for sure–but I do need to rent it again. Hilarous stuff, it is.

  33. Rusty

    Aletheia had it spot on with “The Legend of Bagger Vance”. Bagger waits for Junuh to come to the end of himself and then he begins to guide Junuh. The one I just get out of my head is Tarzan. Tarzan comes to know himself in the wilds of a jungle. He meets other people who are “civlilzed” and take him back to England to live a proper life and regain his identity. Eventually he returns to the wilds of Africa where he is most at home.

    Now for the strech. God comes to us in the wilds of our heart. We then have our new identity, but then come the “proper people of the church” who bring us into civilized religion. They think it is there we will find our identity. But we are stiffled (in many cases) and it takes us years to find of hearts with God again.

  34. c.Lates

    I always love seeing people’s reactions when I tell them that my dad is a pastor and his favorite movie is the Big Lebowski. Not exactly a clergy-recommended flick. How about Steve Buscemi’s classic line, “Nobody [messes] with the Jesus.” (edited for the faint hearted). No, you wouldn’t want to mess with the (real) Jesus, since he is God in the flesh. There are also an enormous number of religious references in the movie.

    The Elijah Wood movie “North” carries a good lesson on Ecclesiastes. North tries different out parents/lifestyles, but finds that his original parents/lifestyle are the best. Kinda like Solomon trying different things, but always coming back to God.

    There’s the scene in the Goonies where they are in the bottom of the old Moss Garden wishing well and Sean Astin (Mikey) is giving his classic, motivational speech that “this is our time,” and that’s all over the second they “ride up Troy’s bucket.” We are, right now, in the last days. Our job is to be the light of Christ to the world. It can get hard at times, and we can feel like giving up. But the second we give in to sin and the pressures of this world, and “ride up Troy’s bucket,” this adventure is all over.

  35. c.Lates

    One more that I forgot about. In the wonderful movie The Darjeeling Limited, there is a scene where the train–named the Darjeeling Limited–gets lost. Owen Wilson’s character makes the comment while the conductors are looking at maps, “We haven’t found where we are yet.” Though very tongue in cheek, also very profound. All of us–Christian and non–are searching for something. We want to know who we are and where we belong. Until we realize that we do not belong here at all, but rather in Zion with God, we will never find where we are. For more on this read Hebrews 11 and listen to “Far Country”.

  36. Tammy Smith

    So, I’m too late to win anything but can I still contribute? My whole life I’ve gotten eyes rolled at me for wanting to discuss deeply the entertainment before me. Here are a few that come to my mind that I didn’t see mentioned…

    Minority Report – to me the visual interpretation of the debates at Bible schools and Seminaries all over the world. Calivin vs Erasmus. Is life predetermined or do we play a part?

    Field of Dreams – ‘If we build it he will come.” Sort of Noah like. Not to mention all the Dad stuff and the beauty of being who we were created to be. “If I had not been a doctor…”

    Constant Gardner (SPOILER ALERT) – The main character was always planting and meticulously working soil. As he literally returned to the earth, “an Epistle from a different author” was read. It was a letter he himself penned. It could be stretch here, but the truth is written in the Bible as well as the story of our lives.

    Pinnocchio – The Puppet and the Maker. The story just demonstrates so clearly the bondage sin can put us in, even after we’ve been freed of our strings.

    I’ll stop. But if anyone wants to keep this discussion going. I’m in.

  37. Linda Gilmore

    So I’ll be really late too. I’ve never commented before, but this strikes a chord. I’ve always seen Christ in the oddest places in books and movies.

    Since someone’s mentioned Asimov, I don’t feel too bad about brining up Ursula K. LeGuin’s wonderful book The Left Hand of Darkness. It’s a great story that has a lot of truth in it. In the story (and if you’ve never read it, you should check it out) a man comes to a remote planet as an envoy from the central worlds. He comes alone and offers communication with the rest of the known worlds of mankind. But the people of this planet are skeptical. But one man believes him and works to convince other people. And yet, this is the one man the envoy finds hard to trust. After many adventures and misunderstandings, though, the envoy finally gets it — the one who believed him was the only person on that world who was ready for his coming. And because of that, he sacrificed everything. (That’s a huge condensation of the story — it’s good — LeGuin’s a good storyteller. It’s one of her earlier books, which I think are her best.) (LeGuin isn’t a Christian — more of a buddhist if anything — but there’s a lot of truth in this book.)

  38. Aaron

    Hmmmmm. Charlton Heston in “The Ten Commandments”. No nevermind, it isn’t all that Biiblical.

  39. The Rabbit Room

    […] few months ago I mentioned I Am Legend in the Theolo-vision(tm) post because the ending gave it a messianic slant. Though I haven’t read the book I’ve […]

  40. Peter B

    I can’t believe nobody mentioned Enchanted (I hadn’t seen it at the time). An unknown, unusual person comes from an ethereal dimension, into a world full of suffering (also, the Prince goes after her into that world, to get his bride back).

    But anyway, Gisele works miracles; the earth and its living things respond to her call and her touch; she binds up broken relationships, teaches people to love again when they never thought they could, and does it all with a joy that says “this life of pain is not how you were meant to be; there is more than what you see”.

    The connection gets a little weak at some point, but you get the idea.

    Thanks, Pete, for starting something that keeps us thinking above and beyond where we are.

If you have a Rabbit Room account, log in here to comment.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *