Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Transportation to Narnia

Edwin and I re-watched The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian the other night. I was so impressed by some of the lines that I decided to read the book. Here's the kicker: I think that the movie did a better job of making theological connections. I was absolutely shocked to discover that many of my favorite lines and character development decisions were exclusive to the movie. Here are some of my favorite lines from the movie:
  • Lucy: "I wish you would all stop trying to act so grown up!" (There is a similar line in the book, but it doesn't quite capture the significance for the church, upon which I will now expound.) Lucy is the personification of child-like faith from the very beginning of the series. In this line, she challenges her brothers and sister to consider the fact that they have abandoned the childishness that enabled them to become Kings and Queens of Narnia. How often does that happen? How often do we take hold of God's gift of salvation through a child-like, dependent faith only to abandon it as we "mature" in the faith? How many churches have missed out on God's plan and God's blessing because it simply wasn't logical? If only we could remember the need for complete, total, shockingly childish faith!
  • Lucy to Peter:"Or have you forgotten who really defeated the White Witch? [Ka-da-boom!]" (That last bit was my own interjection.) Oh, how true it is! What a common misunderstanding. What a common roadblock to the abundant life we say that we desire. At the moment of salvation, we are so keenly aware of our own inability to save ourselves that it is hard to believe that we can forget so quickly. And yet, we do. We somehow shift our attention from the all-powerful Savior to our own, feeble selves. It didn't work well for Peter, and it won't work well for the Church, either.
  • Peter: "I think we've waited long enough for Aslan." I have this long-standing belief that whenever a church is trying to make a decision, anyone who starts their argument with, "Well, I just think..." should lose their turn. Who cares what you think?! Who cares what I think?! (Sorry, that is a rabbit-trail that eventually leads to a soap box.) Do we really think that He isn't going to show up? Do we really think that He is going to save us only to abandon us? When He takes a long time to answer, the best option is to focus on His character, which will always prove Him to be faithful.
  • (Context: Lucy and Aslan are discussing how Lucy knew that she saw Him, but her brothers and sister didn't believe her.) Aslan to Lucy: "Why did that stop you from coming to me?" Why on earth do we allow our obedience to be contingent on the faith of those around us?  No matter what those around us may be doing, when we have the privilege of knowing what God wants from us, we have the obligation to follow and seek after Him. Those who don't believe us may change their minds when we are obedient, but even if they don't, we must be faithful.
There were two amazing passages in the book as well. One made it to the movie. The other didn't.
  • Lucy: "Wouldn't it be dreadful if some day in our own world, at home, men started going wild inside, like the animals here, and still looked like men, so that you never knew which were which?" I can only imagine that there are a few explanations for this bit of dialogue. The context is that Lucy was almost attacked by a bear who had gone wild inside so that he could no longer talk or recognize a Daughter of Eve for anything more than a snack. One interpretation is that people have gone wild inside. We have abandoned the original intention of Creation, and it has led to a primal existence that leans on instinct instead of the eternal, supernatural intent of our Creator. Only those who are restored through the blood of Christ are able to reason according to the truth that set us free from our previously meaningless wanderings.
  • (This is the passage that made it into the movie.) I'm going to quote the whole conversation.
    "Aslan," said Lucy, "You're bigger."
    "That is because you are older, little one," answered He.
    "Not because you are?"
    "I am not. But every year you grow, you will find me bigger."
    The movie abbreviated this discussion to two lines. I like the extended version, personally. God cannot get any bigger than infinite. He can't grow beyond the omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent God that He is, but our understanding of Him should constantly grow. As it does, He will grow bigger in our minds until (oh God, let it be!) He is all-encompassing in our lives.
I'm starting to recognize how much I really enjoyed writing papers in college. I know. I'm pretty pathetic. But I can look forward to the next Narnia movie, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. I'm reading the book to prepare. After comparing the movie to the book in regard to Prince Caspian, I'm actually looking forward to discovering the differences in The Dawn Treader.

Remember that the movie comes out on December 10th. Also keep in mind that just because I dissect every single line and moment, that doesn't mean that you have to. Just enjoy what I hope to be a great movie!

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