I finally went to see “The Last Jedi” the other night.  But of course, before the movie we had to spend 20 minutes trying to remember who was related to whom; who was still alive; and who killed who and how and when and why.  But such is the case when you begin a movie franchise in the middle—what in the world was Lucas thinking?

There were some elements of the movie that I enjoyed, but there were some plot flaws that are still hard to overcome (spoiler alert). Plot flaws such as some very small and extremely slow Resistance Bombers dropping what appeared to be gravitational bombs that destroyed a Dreadnought (a ginormous spaceship)—while in space no less.  And how is it that Leia, who is supposed to be in harmony with the Force, couldn’t discern that the gold dice that Luke handed her weren’t real?  Come on, if her spidey sense didn’t go off at that moment, then how did she get so out of sync with the Force?  Especially since earlier she was flying through zero gravity into a blast hole in her ship, which was caused by an incredible explosion that only she miraculously survived some how, which is also another plot flaw.

The biggest disappointment for me, however, is that Disney ruined the movie by attempting to brainwash young viewers with the impression that there comes a time when “old” spiritual truths that are codified in writing should be let go of, and maybe even destroyed.  (Spoiler Alert: the original Jedi ancient texts weren’t really burned because they can be incidentally observed on the Millennial Falcon near the end of the movie.) Nevertheless, you would have to be pretty naive not to appreciate the impact that such a concept would have upon young and uncritical viewers, views that are left with the impression that there is a time in one’s life to throw off old ways and make your own path.  Of course the message to those that consider themselves “Christians” who have grown up respecting the Bible is that mature individuals eventually outgrow the scriptures and let them go.

This is an extremely effective way to disseminate such an impression while appreciation of the Bible is quickly becoming a foreign concept in many “modern” churches.  But lack of value for the scriptures was not so for the saints of old.  Moses told Joshua that “This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success” (Josh 1.8). The psalmist wrote that the godly person’s “delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law he meditates day and night. He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does, he prospers” (Ps 1.2-3).  Isaiah wrote “The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever” (Is 40.8). Jesus himself stated that, “whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels” (Mark 8.38). And lastly, the apostle Paul wrote “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man (and woman) of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work” (2 Tim 3.16-17).  Need I go on?  Regrettably, more and more people are beginning to believe that the Bible contains myths, legends, prejudices, and errors.  Consequently, they feel that it is no longer relevant to their daily lives, and some even view it as a threat to enlightenment and a barrier for progressivism.

There will be those that think I’m making a big deal out of a nothing-burger.  I beg to differ.  Consider this, the first Star Wars movie was released in the summer of 1977 when I was 16.  The next movie is scheduled to be released in 2019.  That means that the nine movies that Lucas originally envisioned will span well over 40 years, and Disney will surely continue making more movies long after I am dead and gone.  They didn’t pay Lucas 4 billion dollars just to sell toys—toys mind you that millions of children played with during some very formative years.  Consequently, I can’t think of a cultural “fad” that has had more of an impact or influence during my entire adult life. Of course there were more significant events during this same period, such as the fall of the Soviet empire, the destabilization of the Middle East, the globalization of the illegal drug trade, the advent of the personal computer, and the technology and information explosion.  Nevertheless, when it comes to engaging our way of thinking during times of relaxation and entertainment, the Star Wars franchise must be one of the top 3 most influential movements of our time. And regrettably, in many areas of the world, it has been more influential then the Evangelical church during that same period.  If you still think I am making a mountain of a molehill, then just ask yourself these very simple questions: during the past Christmas shopping season, how many Bibles, Bible study aids, devotionals, or biblical commentaries did you give away as gifts to loved ones and friends compared to other stuff that has no spiritual benefit whatsoever.  Notice that I didn’t mention Christian music; that’s because much of it provides no spiritual benefit as well.  Moreover, how many of you gave your children, or your nieces and nephews, or your grandchildren Star Wars toys, DVDs, or other related items?  And lastly, which do you have a more comprehensive understanding of, the Star Wars movie series, or the message of the entire Bible?  So I ask again, who is having the greater influence?

Monte Shanks, Copyright © January 8, 2018, The Lantern & Shield Times LLC.


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