3rd June 2020
Alphabetic characters of all types can be confusing initially.
“It’s not an ‘S’. On my world this means hope.” (Superman)
Language can confuse meaning.
“Gentlemen, you can’t fight in here… this is the War Room!” (Dr. Strangelove)
Realising I was lucky to be alive on return from Hospital, I had time to watch rather too much on the silver screen. But my experience had changed me. I started to see the world differently and look for deeper meaning in everything.
My wife took me to see Cats after which I told her how moved I had been and how it related to my understanding of… because if you think of the X as Y… Jackie listened politely and said something like, “it didn’t bring that to my mind.”
I’m still thinking all sorts of things stimulated by what I see and hear. For example,
“Roads? Where we’re going, we don’t need roads” (Back to the Future)
has led me to thinking that we do not know the future and sometimes we waste time focusing on the wrong things, perhaps for the right reasons.
Living with me is hard work and my wife has been through a tougher time than I have lately.
Many think of “Trinity” next Sunday. Some disregard the word and in their commentary excitedly report that, “the word Trinity is not even in the bible.”
I’ve tried to learn a bit of New Testament Greek in the past to extract my own meaning from text when necessary. I use a version of the GNT with Strongs references which can be helpful.
I know that some have used NT Greek and literal or Dynamic translations of John 1 (amongst others) to raise some questions about how we might understand trinity. John 1:1 is one of my favourite verses.
In terms of trinity, we must not forget, “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all.” (2 Corinthians 13:14 NIVUK)
Of course, intellectuals can not only argue about different English translation but also the source of the Greek. Which ancient manuscript of the Sacred Scripture is it from? Is it from Codex Vaticanus, the Codex Sinaiticus…? How old and how close to the original NT Greek is it?
John Wesley said, “Bring me a worm that can comprehend a man, and then I will show you a man that can comprehend the triune God!” How true!
My brain injury has made me forget some things completely, although I am blessed by how much is still intact. The plus point of memory loss is that my son shows me movies I had forgotten. He knows that I enjoyed them on first viewing, so I’ve had a second go at my favourites, including superhero films with my son.
As you may expect, my new self has found superheroes say things from which I have extracted meaningful (to me) thoughts and connections. You may be relieved to know I’m not about to relate the Holy Spirit to the force, but hey ho,
“May the Force be with you” (Star Wars)
Most people recognise the Villains as well as Heroes.
“Just because a person stumbles and loses their path doesn’t mean they can’t be saved.” (X-Men First Class, Charles Xavior)
“There are no Heroes or Villains. There’s just what I want and how I’ll get it.” (X-Men Magnito)
Sometimes I’m reminded of hope,
“I shouldn’t be alive, unless it was for a reason. I know what I have to do and I know it is right.” (Iron Man)
Other quotes I can relate to include…
“It’s not who I am underneath, but what I do that defines me.” (Batman)
“No matter how bad things get, something good is out there just over the horizon” (Green Lantern)
“I don’t like bullies, I don’t care where they are from.” (Captain America)
Of course, I don’t think any of these are necessarily inherently biblically sound.
“There is a right or a wrong in the universe and the distinction is not hard to make.” (Superman).
I’m no hero but even this can be challenged. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD.” (Isaiah 55:8)
Nonetheless some quotes do seem incredibly close to biblical text. How about this?
“With great power comes great responsibility.” (Spiderman)
To me on the surface this is remarkably close to, “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” (Luke 12:48 NIVUK)
Are these similar in meaning? More importantly, what difference should the Luke 12 meaning make to us. These quotes have really made me think, even if my thinking remains flawed following the brain injury.
We have just had Pentecost and remembered spiritual gifts. I’ve never been an intellectual but during my film quotes obsession,
“I’m like a dog chasing cars. I would not know what to do if I caught one. I just do things.” (Joker)
I can relate to this as the owner of a puppy.
We need to think of gifts in a very wide context beyond those often focussed on at Pentecost. “For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?” (1 Corinthians 4:7 NIVUK)
We need to recognise all gifts from God as things we should be using. They have all been given to us by Him. Often, we don’t remember how blessed we are even when our lives are in good places. Of course, circumstances can change quickly.
In the context of Luke 12, if we have been given talents; voice, wealth, knowledge, time, intelligence… it is expected that we use these to glorify God and benefit others. “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.” (1 Peter 4:10 NIVUK)
“Intelligence is a privilege, and it needs to be used for the greater good of people.” (Spiderman 2)
“A hero can be anyone. Even a man doing something as simple and reassuring as putting a coat around a young boy’s shoulders to let him know that the world hasn’t ended.” (Batman)
I often mention the cognitive elite, rarely positively, based on personal experiences. Is this because I am Jealous of them?
In fairness, I do think it’s tough for those in powerful positions to remember what it feels like not to be heard or positively responded to by the majority. I personally went from a position of relative responsibility to having to ask if I could go to the toilet.
My experiences have made me realise the exceptional value of all, irrespective of status. We do need to be careful not to be too connected with the ways of the world. “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is– his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:2 NIVUK)
For me Trinity may be hard to understand, especially when we think of the Holy Spirit within us. But we too are included because of His love for us. “And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession– to the praise of his glory.” (Ephesians 1: 13-14 NIVUK)
I have much to learn, but I have learned much, such as how to walk again. The wheelchair did not last long for me.
As such, despite ongoing challenges, I must remember that I have been blessed and given the gift of life. Now how should I use these gifts?
“Where we go from there is a choice I leave to you.” (Neo, The Matrix)