Tag Archives: Redemption

The Rise of Skywalker & John 15:13

Yes, I’m finally going to let my Star Wars nerd flag fly, after all, I’ve already tackled Doctor Who, Star Trek, Breaking Benjamin, etc…  So, be warned; SPOILERS ahead for the new trilogy, and especially for The Rise of Skywalker.  If you haven’t watched it, what are you waiting for? It’s the best of the new 3, it is still in theaters, and I heartily recommend it.

So, Star Wars has been a part of my family since the original, and that included taking a toddler me to the theater… apparently my first Star Wars enjoyment came from R2-D2, and then morphed into a childhood crush on Han Solo.  Star Wars games, books, comics, movies, fanfic… it was all fair game, and in fact my online nickname “K’liska” came from a Star Wars fic I wrote many moons ago with my brother (I was a bounty hunter, but a good one, of course).  Star Wars has always intrigued those looking for something deeper in their movies, and George Lucas has shared some of the philosophical, cultural, and religious bits and pieces that informed his work, so it’s fair game here.

In the aftermath of seeing Rise, I quickly scanned the net to see what others thought of it all.  I always note what parts of a movie hit me and then see if it did the same to anyone else.  I wasn’t disappointed as the bulk of the conversation (and cursing) revolved around the culmination of Rey’s and Ben Solo’s storyline(s), especially in regards to Ben Solo’s death.

Ben’s story arc was one of redemption, and the evolution of a fractured, volatile, hostile loner into a man who discovered who he really was, and what he was willing to die for.  And die he did… which infuriated a lot of the fan base.  Ben wasn’t a Sith, but he was bad news as Kylo Ren; bad news in the sense that he committed one of the big immoral no-no’s; patricide.  Yes, he killed his own father, Han Solo.  Yet, there were many fans in a rager that Ben’s redemption ended in his own death, and didn’t that “set a dangerous precedent that redemption includes death?!?!”  Yes, of course it did, but it wasn’t a precedent; the precedent has already been set in human lore.

For sin comes death. It’s something that Christians should know from scripture.  It’s one of the huge lessons we are supposed to be learning down here, and it’s not a pleasant lesson to learn.  This is also what leads to the cross, and ultimate redemption via Jesus who died so that we might live. Yeah, yeah, I went there, so let me be clear; I’m not comparing Ben Solo to Jesus Christ, but I am saying death is (super)naturally connected to wrong choices.  In Ben’s case his death was a result of having to rush to save the day after a long series of bad choices and wrong actions, including Palpatine’s own immoral actions.  Jesus’ death was as a result of humankind’s bad choices all along the way of human history.  Ben’s death represented redemption, not only for himself, but also for Rey as well as his grandfather Anakin.

Christ took the idea “for sin comes death,” and put a new spin on it since He was the only sinless one; Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends (John 15:13).  Now we see the value in a life laid down on purpose, for purpose.  I get why many fans were so upset over Ben’s death… we had just witness the rise of Ben Solo from the ashes of Kylo Ren, we witnessed the connection and love between Rey and Ben (romantic love or platonic love makes no never mind to me in this article), and the final vanquishing of the evil emperor.   Everyone wanted to cheer and be happy, but the world, even in fictional form, has consequences. Ben Solo laid down his life for his friend.  We, the fans, had just witnessed the greatest act of love possible.  It is heartbreaking in its impact, and that heartbreak leads to emotion.

Good stories (including the kind that play out on film) are meant to impact us and to teach us.  Good stories tend not to reinvent the wheel, but rather pull from story telling traditions that reflect actual reality and the human experience.  So we recognize Ben Solo’s sacrifice as an act of selfless love but we rage against it because it hurts.  That hurt is meant to teach us to live our lives in an upright way, walking tall, while the joy of seeing someone redeemed and saved is meant to make us celebrate and to be brave and to recognize the power of sacrifice.

The Rise of Ben Solo impacted fans enough that it took a real world turn, which I will write about in a separate article soon, link forthcoming (And, here it is: The Rise of Ben Solo).  In the meantime, as always, I’d love to hear your thoughts dear reader, let me know what you thought of the movie, Ben Solo, Rey, JJ vs. Rian (lol), anything relevant you’d like to share…

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Earth vs. Eden…

Rereading the book of Genesis right now, and I felt the need to post an important detail, since the mess we find ourselves in on this spinning globe springs directly from the happenings “in the beginning.”

Genesis 1:26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. 28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

Notice that we were given dominion over those things outside of Eden as well as what is in the garden; the whole earth.  Why is that an important distinction?  Because what man did in the garden had massive implications to the whole world and not just that “little bit” of Eden.  When man fell, it affected everything, not just those things within the garden.  We gave up our dominion to Satan, and it took the Last Adam to take it back.

Without Christ the whole world would be lost to us, literally.  It is because of His sacrifice and His position as the Last Adam that the whole world will be remade…He made it, He’ll redeem it.  We messed it up, we messed ourselves up, and only He can fix the mess we made…and if He can fix the whole world, He can fix any of the messes we’ve made in our own lives.  For believers, there is always reason to hope; and our hope is in Him.

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Filed under Christianity, Musings, Origins, Theology

Human beings; neither angels nor demons…

I’ve been thinking on something recently; and that something is the tendency of humans to either put other humans on pedestals, or else so far in the dirt as to not warrant a second thought.  We tend to bestow some kind of odd sainthood on some, whilst having extreme negative feelings toward others.  I believe that we should aim for a realistic balance.

There are people that we like, that we love…and sometimes we can put them up on a pedestal.  There are people that we somehow believe don’t struggle with this earthly life like everyone else.  These thoughts can, and do, cause problems.  First, the person up on the pedestal can get rather tired of it.  Secondly, if we put someone up on the pedestal, that means they can fall off, instead of letting them be on even ground like everyone else…we humans have enough trouble maintaining our balance as it is (even on our knees sometimes).  Adding the extra burden unrealistic expectations on someone isn’t a good idea.  It’s also got to get really tempting to jump off that pedestal.

Also, those people that we seem to think don’t have problems and struggles in life are sometimes neglected because we all expect them to be the strong ones.  Let’s face it; every human is a sinner, everyone has troubles, everyone needs friends, everyone need someone to talk  things over with.  We are all hurtling around the sun on the same ball of mud as everyone else, and life is life.  We are all in desperate need of Christ, and even when we become a part of The Church, even when we become believers, we are still human beings, and in fact that joining of The Church should be something special indeed betwixt all our brothers and sisters.  We believers need to make sure we are there for each other.

The danger in painting someone as “perfect” in our own minds is that no one is perfect except Christ.  Therefore, all humans will disappoint us at some point.  That’s not a pessimistic statement at all, just a statement of fact.  Even if it is something small, we do disappoint others.  People in those phases of infatuated love often think the object of that infatuation is perfect…then it really hits the fan when they find out they are not.  Kids often have an idealistic version of “parents” in their heads and it can be a punch in the gut when they finally figure out their parents are just as human as everyone else.  Same thing goes with parents and their view of their own kids.

On the flip side, we sometimes view someone we dislike or are mad at as something other than human.  The truth it, that person is in the image of God, just as we are.  They are going to face the same types of things in this life as us (like death and taxes…and life and taxes).  We mentally throw mud on others, when it might do us good to remember their humanity.  And, yes, I’m talking to myself here too; I tend to do the exact same thing, and it would be very hard to change.

I think it is interesting that when someone does something truly heinous, we often term it “inhuman.”  The scary thing is that it is indeed human.  Sometimes we don’t like to face human faults because it reminds us of our own…or, rather, it reminds us of what humans are actually capable of. It adds a lot of meaning to the phrase, “There but for the grace of God…” or for the smaller things we should actually be able to connect with the person, because we’ve all sinned. I guess the thing to remember is that there is a person involved in those heinous events…not “only” demons or Satan, but a willing flesh and blood human is indeed involved.

We are human beings, and being human means we are all sinners and we will all have our faults.  We will all sin, without Christ, we are all deserving of judgment.  We are all also made in the image of God…each one of us.  Elevating people to “angel” status, or shoving them in a pit to “demon” status robs them of the fact that we all have to face; we are a bunch of humans dealing with a bunch of other humans.  Praise God, He’s above all things, and still deals with us too…or else we’d really be screwed.  I also praise Him because when He does the elevating, He holds us up in His hand and He begins to change us and work on us…it’s the only way any of us have a chance.

“You come of the Lord Adam and the Lady Eve,” said Aslan. “And that is both honour enough to erect the head of the poorest beggar, and shame enough to bow the shoulders of the greatest emperor in earth.” – CS Lewis, Prince Caspian

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