Saturday, December 18, 2010

Sci-Fi Weirds Me Out by Brad Bridges

Week 51--December 19-25
Scripture Reading:1& 2 Peter; 1,2 & 3 John; Jude; 
Proverbs 27-29,devotion key: 1 Peter 1

“Really!” I said. We were going to watch a movie. This was a big deal for me.

I grew up in a simple town. Outside my house there were trees, grass, cows, and that’s about it. Day to day life consisted of one’s job, helping out on the farm, spending time with family, and playing/watching sports. We lived so far out in the country; we could not get cable TV (now it’s possible through satellites). My family didn’t watch movies.

Friends were calling to see who all was going. A couple adults were going too (we were minors). They were technically in charge. They drove. They made the decisions. We simply wanted to see a movie.

On the way, everyone discussed what we would watch. Would it be a drama? Sports? Scary? Sci-Fi? It seemed like no one cared. We planned to get popcorn, cokes, and an assortment of candy. There would be no sleeping during this movie.

We arrived. Walked to the ticket booth. Then the intense discussion began. We teenagers let our opinions be known. The adults had different ideas. The adults trumped. We walked in bruised but not beaten. After all, we were at the movies.

After getting snacks, we entered the theatre. It was filled. We anxiously waited. The movie began. It was pure Sci-Fi.

Some people enjoyed the movie (probably too much). Others wondered how they paid that much money for a Sci-Fi flick. I was annoyed. I wanted to watch something based in reality. The movie was about worlds I never even cared to imagine.

I’ll be honest. Sci-Fi weirds me out. Not because I’m not open to creativity nor am I trying to complain. But futuristic, otherworldly stuff is just that, otherworldly (i.e. not part of my worldview).

As I was reading 1 Peter 1 today it reminded me of this movie experience. 1 Peter 1 talks about a present (vs. 3) and a future hope (vs. 13). I’m a lot better at demanding life to be hopeful now than I am trusting in a future hope. But the author of the passage goes even further.

He asks us to live as foreigners (vs. 17). To me that just sounds weird. How can I feel at peace in this world if I’m supposed to live as a foreigner? Anyway, when I live as a foreigner it means that I have to let go of my demand to improve the present.

That’s exactly it. I prefer instant gratification. Don’t we all? Why delay all the joy when we can have it now? Because Scripture tells us to. Ouch.

The reason I struggle with Sci-Fi is not because it’s a bad genre. I struggle to imagine “other worlds.” Reality, the present, and human beings all make more sense to me.

My point is not that we all should like Sci-Fi (I doubt I ever will). But that living as foreigners focused on our future hope in Jesus Christ feels awkward. We may think it’s too far off. Our thoughts may struggle to connect. It may cause us to feel disoriented in the present.

Yet, just like the group of teenagers at the movies, we don’t get to decide every aspect of our lives. We’re left trusting in a future hope as we live as foreigners. The dynamic tension of being in the world but not of it, rarely feels resolved. Although other-worldliness feels detached and weird like a Sci-Fi movie, spiritually our future hope in Jesus Christ is more real than documentary, drama, or action. It’s actually all of those. It’s our reality.

Brad loves Tarheel basketball, pork BBQ, and listening to Jack Johnson, bluegrass, and classical music. He and his wife Lindsey spend their time snuggling their new daughter Shiloh and serving as Cross-cultural servants of Crossroads in Uruguay. Interact with Brad on Facebook, Twitter, or their Website/Blog.

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