Deep Twilight

Posted on November 25, 2011 by

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It is perhaps unadvisable to watch all three non-theatre Twilight movies in a single sitting. There is every possibility that your testosterone levels will drop to dangerous levels and burly men in flannel shirts will materialize to confiscate your man card. Then again, almost two months into marriage, there are few things a man will not do at the behest of his beautiful and sexy woman.

To be honest, after the suicidally boring two thirds of the first movie, things picked up and a certain level of predictable interest was to be had. Interspersed between terrifying levels of romantic neediness and emotional obsession was a tale of intrigue, secret societies, and forgotten histories. Once your brain grew numb to the fact that the actors deep yearning for one another often managed to come across as intense nausea and occasional constipation, the fantastically unreal characters began to reflect an undeniable epic paradigm. By the end of the third film and just after 1 AM something became abundantly clear: the Twilight phenomenon is simply the wind blowing through a hole in our collective soul.

Since the beginning of time, mankind at large has known, on some level, that they are incomplete. No matter how high you climb, no matter how much fun you’re having, no matter what you own, it’s never enough. In the end you die and none of it matters. Whether we choose to or not, our lives are like that hollow, paranoid three minutes before the alarm goes off in the morning. We all know we are living on borrowed time. There’s got to be something else out there and it better be good.

Our minds go to absurd lengths in an effort to fill this aching hole inside. With the increase of leisure time and technology we have simply managed to outline in bright lines just what it is we need. A look at the last fifty years of the biggest cultural phenomenon gives us a pretty good sense. Between Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Twilight, and a dozen others, the paradigm goes something like this.

1. Average Life: An apparent nobody manages to cross paths with someone who notices them as something special and different.

2. Revelations: The apparent nobody discovers that in fact he or she is part of a much bigger, more important story. They are granted personal value by their relationships and role in the bigger picture.

3. Epic Adventure: Our hero goes on great adventures, meets amazing people, makes lifelong friends, and learns important lessons about life.

4. Completion, Rest, Immortality: In the end, after much trial and suffering, the hero goes to their reward and some form of immortality, be it literal or legend.

People like Joseph Campbell and in some part his mentor and predecessor Carl Jung called this the collective myth. (Or something like that.) Stories from all cultures and all time reflect similar these exact same patterns. Whether it be Sir Gawain, Hercules, Aladdin, or that weird guy from Fight Club, every story we really truly love and embrace plays upon a similar model and theme.

If this particular pattern sounds familiar to you, it absolutely should. It’s exactly what God does for us through Christ. We are nobody and are quite literally trapped in whatever hum-drum daily existence we’ve carved out for ourselves. As much as we might hate to admit it, we are going down the crapper with everyone else. Then, one day by the grace of God, a hand reaches down and pulls us out of the monochrome world into a glorious and brilliant new life. Nobody else understands it, and honestly sometimes it’s pretty awkward. We learn amazing new truths, have access to unspeakable gifts, and meet a whole new circle of people who will stand with us for the rest of our lives. Furthermore, we find a purpose and a calling beyond any which the world can offer us. In the end, we have a promise of eternal life and reward. It’s worth all the suffering and pain and trial.

For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. Romans 1:20-23

It’s an imprint given us by God. It’s a hole only He can fill and a story only he can tell in its true fullness. In our humanness, we are on a constant quest to plug it with the dirty rags the world has to offer. We’ve bent and twisted it until it’s unrecognizable, but yet deep down our soul yearns to be Frodo or Bella or Harry because that’s who God made us to be.

So all that having been said, am I a Twilight fan? Not at all. To me, Twilight is just a read-out on our human heart monitor. It’s a cry from a world that wants Jesus so much their willing to take a sparkly, 109 year old blood drinking dude just because he looks like him. As a soon to be parent, I want my child to know the real hero that is Jesus Christ. I want that little guy or gal to know him so well they’ll recognize the worlds heroes for who they are and know the difference. I hope they enjoy great imaginative fiction, but it’s my prayer is that they’ll never be obsessed with the flawed and wrinkled copies that are the worlds heroes. I pray that obsession, that addiction, that yearning and desire will be for Jesus Christ.

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