Monday, June 11, 2007

Pathos (Entry 24)

I've thought long & hard about whether I should post this... an entire chapter from someone else's book. In the end, I decided this was the best way to inspire a number of you to saddle up & head to your local bookstore to purchase Erwin McManus' Soul Cravings. So, don't let me down.

In the meantime, soak in this for a little bit...

For better or worse, for richer or poorer - that's the commitment I made back in 1977 when I first saw Star Wars. I've been there through them all. If Star Wars was the honeymoon, then Attack of the Clones nearly caused our divorce. I was with a gorup of my friends in line at midnight just to be a part of the opening. But it hit me most fully at the Revenge of the Sith. We had flown all night from Los Angeles to Sydney, Australia. We were exhausted, jet-lagged, and committed to finding our life-long colleague Obi-Wan Kenobi and bringing our journey with him to completion.

I have always been very much aware that Star Wars carries at its core George Lucas' Hindu view of the world. Certainly over the last thirty years while God has been going down in the polls, the Force has been steadily climbing. It's not hard to understand what's so attractive about the Force, an untapped source of power that enables us to become more than we ever could alone. Our attraction to the Force is just further proof that our souls long for God. At our core, we know that something is missing, that there's more to us than just flesh & bone.

The challenge is, Which side of the Force will you choose - the good or the dark side? So far so good, right? Of course, you're going to choose the Jedi way. Which one of us would even want to be a Sith? Well, in a world of metrosexuals, the Siths do have better costumes. I mean, Darth Maul had by far the best mask. But as the story unwraps, it all starts to become so clear. I found myself torn by Anakin's dilemma. Anakin, we discover, becomes the infamous Darth Vader. He is training to be a Jedi knight. The way of the Jedi is a life of honor but also a life of detachment. You must give up your right to love, to feel, and even to be loved. You must learn to live a life absent of desire. This is the way of the Jedi. This is what it means to choose the good.

The way of the Sith is the only other option. There is darkness there, and this is where your passions will lead you if you do not relinquish them. Anakin, of course, has a dilemma. He was in love with the young Queen Amidala. This presented a problem. Given, he had lots of other problems too. But really this was the choice before him - live a life of detachment or live a life of passion. How can you disagree with this? Our passions have left an endless trail of devastation. Left to ourselves, it seems, desire leads us only to the dark side. I understand how this view can be compelling, but Jesus gives us another way.

Let him change you at your core, then let your passions fuel your life.

Spirituality & desire are not in conflict from the perspective of Jesus. In fact, he teaches that a genuine spirituality results in the passionate pursuit of life. I'm convinced one of the reasons so many have given up pursuing genuine spirituality is that they didn't know what to do with their desires & passions. No one ever told them that they were placed there by God, that they were intended to be the fuel that would drive them to pursue their dreams & visions. At the same time we must heed the warning of the Sith, that unrestrained passions, passions lacking a moral compass, will lead us to a life that is self-destructive and will hurt anyone who chooses to come near us.

Our greatest danger is living for whatever we can take & devour now and destroying our future in the process. Sometimes we find ourselves seething in anger because our desires cannot be satiated. When our dreams seem out of our reach, it is easy to simply choose apathy. Our worst-case scenario is taht we become enemies of hope. We have to come to grips with the longing of our souls to become something that requires a metamorphosis, which is why no matter what we become, it is never enough. Our souls always crave more. It's not because they're insatiable, but because we know there's more to be had.

No comments: