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Shaken Up, Not Stirred

In my experience, people tend to resist a change to their routine with all of the power at their disposal.

This is because routines mean comfort and predictability, while change puts us in a place of inconvenience and vulnerability.  We innately turn to routine for safety and refuge, and instinctively understand that change is exciting… If not downright dangerous.

This week “the people” voiced their negative opinion about a change to the predictable routine of Her Majesty’s greatest secret agent:

It was revealed that James Bond will drink a Heineken beer during his 23rd mission: “Skyfall”, which will hit theaters this November.

This is a shock to many Bond fans who are used to their hero ordering a Vodka Martini, “Shaken, not stirred.” It’s one of the most predictable moments of a James Bond movie, which is to say that it’s the most predictable moment in a series of events that are as obvious as Lemony Snicket’s are unfortunate.

For the uninitiated, 007 spent nearly 40 years operating out of a routine so predictable that it’s almost “un-credible” that he survived so many outings… especially being so careless about dropping his real name.

The first 20 Bond movies opened with a glimpse at a completed mission, then an excruciating performance of one the year’s most mediocre pop tunes, accompanied by any number of barely clad silhouettes whose lady parts were cleverly obscured by things like gun barrels, or cigars, or bubbles.

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Hungering for Games

Isolationist nations manipulate their people, presenting them with only one perspective.  While common, it’s important to remember that not all cloistering is politically motivated.

Even though I grew up in America, I grew up in an isolationist subculture:  I belonged to a God-fearing family who presented secular things as bad, and sacred things as good.  Our family activities tended to be sacred in orientation.

While it wasn’t necessarily bad,  it wasn’t necessarily fun either.

Some difficulties arose from this way of living, Movies and FM Rock were forbidden, but they were eventually overcome by the “Jesus Movement” of the 70’s.  As a result of a man in California leading hippies to Jesus, American Christianity experienced a cultural renaissance.  As people began writing rock songs and movies about Jesus, the lines between secular and sacred became blurred.

It wasn’t necessarily bad, it just wasn’t very safe for isolationists.

This blending made determining secular and sacred products difficult.  Graciously the Christian Bookstores stepped in, stocking their shelves with only Christian products.  At some point in the process, the word Christian stopped being used to represent whether someone was a disciple of Christ, and became an adjective meaning “safe for consumption”; like a seal of approval.  People could attempt to live a well-accessorized Christian lifestyle, free of the sinful temptations of “the world”.

It wasn’t necessarily a bad idea, it just wasn’t reality.

Growing up I noticed that secular art tended to be depictions of life “as it is”, while secular commerce presented life as we “desired it to be.”  Christian products, in contrast, produced as either art or commerce tended to present life “as it should be.”  In musical terms, Patti Smith sang about her life as it was, Kiss sang about desired fantasies, and Petra sang about… well… you get the picture.

I’m talking about how life was, not how it should have been.

Because of these divisions, I’ve noticed that many Christians fail to interact with secular art, or worse, assume that these works are depictions of “how life should be”.  For this reason Christians are often found at the forefront of movements to ban, or censure, product or presentations they feel are destructive to society.

I’m talking about how life can be, not how it is supposed to be.

These divisions lead to questions like, “Should my kids listen to secular music” or “Should a Christian read Harry Potter”?  I’m afraid to say that these questions miss an important point about the person and work of Jesus Christ, because they come from the belief that isolating ourselves from the world has a moral value.

Which brings me to The Hunger Games, a literary depiction of “how life is”.

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In Your Mind’s Eye

 

If you aren’t aware, the “The Hunger Games” comes to theaters this week. It’s a movie opening that will forever change the way that people feel about a book that they dearly love.

For the uninitiated, The Hunger Games is a young readers novel written by Suzanne Collins and published in 2008. It introduces sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives in a post-apocalyptic dystopia where the countries of the United States and Canada once existed. A highly advanced city, made up of privileged “1 percenters” dominates the rest of the nation. “The Hunger Games” are an annual televised event in which one teenaged male and female from each of the “12 districts” compete in a battle royale… in which only one person can survive.

Young people around the world love the book, and it has found a devoted following from readers who tend to be a little less whimsical than Harry Potter fans and a whole lot more sensible than fans of the Twilight series.

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