FCC 161
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On this episode of Finding Christ in Cinema, we join the Resistance with a small, still voice as we look for Christian themes in STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI. How is Luke Skywalker like the prophet Elijah? Why does the Jedi Order need to be eradicated? All that and more in 3, 2, 1!GUEST(S)
Hey, come on in. Admission is free. Grab a bowl of popcorn (extra butter, of course) and find a seat smack dab in the middle - It’s time for Finding Christ in Cinema, episode 161.

I’m Michael, I’m Brenden.

Join us and together we’ll dig deeper into the silver-screen classics of yesteryear as well as the box-office hits of today, we’ll take a closer look at the stories they tell, and see if we find the face of Jesus looking back.

We’re gonna explore the deeper meanings of these films; the plots and their twists; the characters and their choices; and how we can relate them to the gospel of salvation, and ultimately our Christian walk.

You are tuned in to Finding Christ in Cinema on the GCTNetwork.

MONSTERS, INC. | FCC160fcc.gctnetwork.com/160
BLTIntimate Moments: one-on-one scenes
-- Rey and Kylo
-- Rey and her reflection
-- Rey and Luke
-- Luke and Yoda
Set Design: Snoke's throneroom
Open crawl:

Only General Leia Organa’s band of resistance fighters stand against the rising tyranny, certain that Jedi Master Luke Skywalker will return and restore a spark of hope to the fight.

Elijah Under the Juniper Tree

Ahab died in battle; Ahaziah reigns in his place, but he was evil in the sight of Yahweh.
2 Kings 1:8 (NASB)
They answered him, “He was a hairy man with a leather girdle bound about his loins.” And he said, “It is Elijah the Tishbite.”

Matthew 3:4 (NASB)
Now John himself had a garment of camel’s hair and a leather belt around his waist; and his food was locusts and wild honey.

Malachi 4:5-6 (NASB)
“Behold, I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of the Lord. He will restore the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers, so that I will not come and smite the land with a curse.”

Matthew 11:11 (NASB)
Truly I say to you, among those born of women there has not arisen anyone greater than John the Baptist! Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.

Matthew 11:13-14 (NASB)
For all the prophets and the Law prophesied until John. And if you are willing to accept it, John himself is Elijah who was to come.
Guilt, the Jedi Order, and the Tree that Bears No Fruit

Opening question: why did the Jedi Order have to end?

1. Set the Scene:

Luke, overburdened with guilt for losing Kylo Ren and convinced that he has lost Rey, sets out to destroy the Great Tree, but he is stopped by...Master Yoda! And where Luke is...lukewarm...about burning down the house, Yoda is a little less hesitant - CUE THE LIGHTNING!

[Play SFX #1]

After a warm and snarky rebuke, Yoda holds Luke accountable for his actions.

Luke, then in his powerless, confesses that his guilt over Ben is what's stopping him from completing his training with Rey. Yoda, of course, has wisdom for that, too.

[Play SFX #2]

2. Main Point: What is the benefit of guilt?

Chip Dodd on Guilt: http://chipdodd.com/blog//benefit-of-guilt

Listening to Luke's powerlessness, I hear toxic shame and toxic guilt.
-- "I was weak...unwise."
-- This is healthy guilt that could lead to forgiveness if Luke would process it guilty.

Luke is isolated because of toxic guilt and pride.
-- "I can't be what she needs me to be."
-- Pride stops us from processing guilt properly.
-- Pride brings on toxic guilt which then leads to isolation.

The bad thing about the Jedi Order: there is no place to guilt aside the guilt - Luke has to carry it himself.
Luke 13:1-9 NASB
13 Now on the same occasion there were some present who reported to Him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had [a]mixed with their sacrifices. 2 And Jesus said to them, “Do you suppose that these Galileans were greater sinners than all other Galileans because they suffered this fate? 3 I tell you, no, but unless you [b]repent, you will all likewise perish. 4 Or do you suppose that those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them were worse [c]culprits than all the men who live in Jerusalem? 5 I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”

6 And He began telling this parable: “A man had a fig tree which had been planted in his vineyard; and he came looking for fruit on it and did not find any. 7 And he said to the vineyard-keeper, ‘Behold, for three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree [d]without finding any. Cut it down! Why does it even use up the ground?’ 8 And he answered and said to him, ‘Let it alone, sir, for this year too, until I dig around it and put in fertilizer; 9 and if it bears fruit next year, fine; but if not, cut it down.’”

SFX #1: 1:35 - 2:10
So it is time for the Jedi Order to end. | Time , it is, for you to look past a pile of old books. | The sacred Jedi texts! | Oh, read them, have you? | Well, I... | Pageturners they were not. Yes yes yes. Wisdom they held, but that library contained nothing that the girl Rey doesn't already possess.

SFX #2: 2:14 - 3:00
Skywalker, still looking to the horizon. Never here, now, hmm? The need in front of your nose. | I was weak, unwise. | Lost Ben Solo you did; lose Rey we must not. | I can't be what she needs me to be! | Heeded my words not, did you? Pass on what you have learned. Strength. Mastery. But weakness, folly, failure also. Yes, failure most of all. The greatest teacher, failure is.

SFX #3: 3:09 - 3:24
Luke, we are what they grow beyond. That is the true burden of all masters.
What Christian themes have you found in...?
PS Ron of the Red Oaks VoicemailAudio
PS Breanna (Super Curl Poteet) McFarland - Email @fcc.gctnetwork.comHey Michael and Brendan,

Hang on to your collective hats, as this will probably be a rather long-winded email.

It's me, Breanna, Ron's daughter. It's been a while since I last reached out, and the last few years have been a whirlwind. I'm actually out of town on a work trip right now, and I'm filling up the boringness of hotel living with some quality podcasting and good books.

I've been intending to write in for a while now, but life events seemed to keep interfering. One other factor in my delay is related to the second half of the subject of this email. I might as well start with it first.

Here's the point where I ask you to read this note first, BEFORE it's read on air. I think constructive feedback has its place, but I'd like you to have the chance to consider what I have to say before it goes live. Here goes.

I was very disappointed in your coverage of the second Pirates of the Caribbean film. Even if a movie's not your particular cup of tea, I think you still owe it to your listeners, particularly when it's a special request, to at least take it halfway seriously if you're going to cover it. I haven't personally been a fan of many of the movies you've covered, but I've made a point to listen and learn. There was some seriously good meat on this one that, at least from my perspective, you glossed over.

I realize I'm one in a large pool of listeners, and it's been exciting to see the small podcast I started listening to as a co-op grow and expand its borders. But I think this one is worth a revisit. Here's the thing: In the first movie, Jack gives away the entire series in the first few scenes. After he saves Elizabeth's life and is being held by the British soldiers on the dock, Elizabeth pleads for his exoneration and freedom to her father. The governor disagrees with her assessment of Jack's character after seeing the Pirate brand on his wrist. It's there that he delivers the crux of the series: "One good deed is not enough to redeem a man." Jack counters: "But it seems enough to condemn him."

This phrase is the motivating factor for every major character in the story. Jack's one good deed (and honestly, no, he isn't a hero in the least. He's human, and flawed. And his story is all the more poignant for it) introduces him to Elizabeth. Elizabeth's good deed of standing up for her city gets her kidnapped by Barbosa and co, which eventually leads to the beginning of her piratical career. Bootstrap Bill's one good deed of turning his back on the crew of the Black Pearl led to his death, leading to his son's passage to the Caribbean from England, to his meeting Elizabeth. Will's good deed of going after Elizabeth when no one else would leads him down a road towards piracy. All condemnable acts.

The very idea of one good deed redeeming a life of sin is inherently Biblical. We need look no further than the dying thief crucified with Christ, who became the very first Christian. After a life of sin, his one good deed redeemed him.

Think no further than the character of Norrington as yet another, longer example. We see him as a young sailor interacting with Elizabeth on her journey over. We see him side with her father in condemning Jack. Even going so far as to ally himself thoroughly against the pirates in the second film. But by the third (or fourth, memory fails), we see him sacrifice his life to allow Will and Elizabeth to escape captivity by the royal Navy. His betrayal of his precious navy can be seen in two lights. In the first, we see the pirates as the good guys, and Norrington is, like Jack, doing his one good deed to allow their escape, though it will likely result in his death. His character is redeemed by his good choice, like our faith in Christ redeems us from our sinful selves. In the second light, we see the royal navy as the moral right, and Norrington having followed the "law" to perfection throughout his career. He's worked his way up the ranks, and seemingly committed no "sin", where sin is digression from the will of the navy, i. e., the will of God. In this case, his aiding Will and Elizabeth in their escape can be seen as the one "sin" he commits, echoing our human imperfection and that "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God".

Thanks for bearing with me so far. I mean that. I completely understand if you don't make it through the full email or if it takes a while for you to get back to me. I know you've both been very busy, and I applaud your efforts to keep FCC going. In all your busyness, I wonder if you've had the chance to see Black Panther. I couldn't recommend it more, if you've yet to see it. If you've seen it, you probably know what I'm talking about already.

--- END HERE ---

Visually stunning, reframing my perspective on the world around me, Black Panther has to be seen to be understood. And in seeing it, it's clear that the message of Christ shines through from the get-go. Wakanda is a nation gifted with an incredible endowment from their god. Through Bast, Wakanda has vibranium, which, kept secret from the rest of the world, allows them to thrive in ways our civilization only dreams of. Like Wakanda, the nation of Israel was chosen by Yahweh to point the rest of the world towards Christ and salvation in him. In the Old Testament, Israel mostly kept their faith to themselves, and one normally had to be born a Jew to have a hope of learning of God.
But all that changed with Christ's death on the cross. As he died, the veil of the Temple tore, indicating that all could now commune with the Holy Spirit, rather that having to go through a priest. With T'Chaka's death and T'Challa's rise to power {trying to avoid spoilers here}, vibranium and Wakandan technology are to be shared with the world. Faith in God and fellowship with Him are far more precious than vibranium.
The analogy goes deeper [spoiler alert sound here]. N'Jadaka, AKA Erik Killmonger, is a half-American, half-Wakandan who grew up hearing stories of the promised land that he had never seen. There's a bit of an Israelites-in-the-desert vibe here. More than that, I think he can symbolize the "seed that fell on the thorns and rocky ground". He had the potential to be welcomed into the fold, but, through no action of his own (other than N'Jobu's (sin) legacy passing to him), he never came into the fold and realized his true potential life in Wakanda (in Christ).

I'm still working on and thinking through the character of M'Baku. The man who challenges T'Challa for the throne, (relatively) gracefully accepts defeat and his subservience to the man who beat him, cares for the same man when he shows up on his doorstep on the brink of death, and isn't even tempted by the offer made him by T'Challa's mom and sister of the glowing purple plant that would've made him the Panther. He's so selfless in this, and such a complex character, that I really think there's something there. I may write back if I'm able to put my finger on it.

This movie may take a little while and a few more viewings to untangle, but I think I can sense a gold mine in the making, not just from the excellent content but from the incredible exposure this film has had. Everywhere I look on my social media, this film has taken over.

If you've made it this far, I can't thank you guys enough. Thank you for all your hard work that goes into putting the show together, and may God bless all you do.

Your friend in Atlanta,

Breanna H. P. McFarland
PS Philip Comment on MONSTERS INC. | FCC 160Welcome back guys, and as usual you didn't miss a beat. I'll speak for myself and say that I'm pleased to get FCC whether it's once a week, once a month, or whenever.

MONSTERS INC. was such a great creative and imaginative story, and maybe I'm crazy but I had even more fun watching MONSTERS UNIVERSITY. The point Michael touched on towards the end is what was sticking out to me- how people can dehumanize those who are different from us, and use that as rationale to treat them poorly, and I think to suppress the imago dei in them.

Your discussion also reminded me of Christian devotion to duty as displayed by Sully, and called back to GLADIATOR when Maximus' servant Cicero said that sometimes he did what he wanted, but most times he did what he had to.

Lastly, you guys need to see ISLE OF DOGS, it's got FCC written all over it.
Love the show guys! #muhweeladgimli
Brenden Update
-- School's out for summer
-- Job hunting
-- Dad's hospital visit
Inspector Josh Investigates TV podcast
-- The Puffy Shirt, the Low Talker, and the Alienation Effect
UPCOMINGA sneak peak at what is coming up next episode. This is a TEASE to convice folk not to miss it!
Black Panther
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