Today's Devotions

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Worth Considering: CS Lewis

  • On Easter Eggs: CS Lewis +

    There is a stage in a child's life at which it cannot separate the religious from the merely festal character Read More
  • What are we to make of Christ? by CS Lewis +

    Now, as a literary historian, I am perfectly convinced that whatever else the Gospels are they are not legends. I Read More
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avatar1Avatar, the 2009 movie by James Cameron, raised as much discussion and controversy through its piecemeal use of Native American, Norse, New Age, and Wiccan religious beliefs and practices as it did in its application of 3-D technology. Avatar was so popular, in part, because it drew from this bouillabaisse-mix to present a world where every creature, living and dead, is connected to each other—Cameron’s version of the ultimate network. Since creation, humans have struggled with how our reach exceeds our grasp. Apart from Christ, our lens to comprehend who we are and who we were meant to be, and the broken world we live in, is dark and unclear. Avatar teases us with a scenario of experiencing our lives loosed from the limitations of our apartness, whether from God, the world, or each other.

Cameron cannily uses 3-D technology to enhance and exploit the moviegoer’s experience on the planet Pandora, slyly paralleling Jake Scully’s journey within the body of a Na’vi, Pandora’s native, human-like beings, while also enabling us to share Jake’s flights with declans, winged, banshee-like creatures. The director draws the viewer into the Rousseau-like innocent milieu of the Na’vi and their connectedness with all Pandoran living creatures via Eywa, the mind and soul of Pandora. Crucial to the plot is the natives’ ablity to connect with their deceased ancestors through the Tree of Souls, whose roots act as hardwire connections enabling communication.
Following a science fiction tradition, Cameron portrays the human race as desecrators and potential destroyers of this alien paradise. Because the planet contains vast mineral resources, Earth’s mining companies set up shop to satiate the needs of its employers. However, the Na’vi live in an area where the deposits are especially rich, and they are unwilling to relocate. The military sends in Jake, a paraplegic soldier, as an undercover spy, utilizing a technology adapted from the Na’vi that enables him to inhabit the body of one of the Na’vi, his avatar.

Cameron’s 3-D vision of a life where all is in harmony seems a natural attraction for those who do not have a relationship with the Father through Christ, and do not know of the shared intimacy with His Spirit, who speaks among us and between us. Avatar testifies to our desire to experience the rest in our souls only God can provide. Moreover, God can provide a depth and breadth of understanding—of being—that far surpasses what either Cameron or we can conceive. Through Christ we become a dwelling place for God himself. Rather than entering some other creature, we experience the wonder of God’s own Spirit in our lives. However, God is not interested in using us as his avatar. Instead, he looks to share with us who he is, enabling us to know the trinity—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—in a relationship we were meant to live.

. . . with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone. In him the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom you also are built together spiritually into a dwelling place for God. (Ephesians 2)

What are human beings that you are mindful of them, or mortals, that you care for them? You have made them for a little while lower than the angels; you have crowned them with glory and honor, subjecting all things under their feet. (Hebrews 2)

I pray that, according to the riches of his glory, he may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through his Spirit, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love. I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen. (Ephesians 3)

Reflections to Consider

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Publications

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Music

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Audio & Video

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The Hit List

  • Living by Kingdom Narratives +

    The idea behind James Bryan Smith’s The Good and Beautiful God (InterVarsity Press, 2009) is twofold. First, spiritual growth generally Read More
  • Storytelling +

    Eugene Peterson discusses his influences as a writer, as well as how and why he created the Message translation. This Read More
  • Devotional Classics +

    This collection edited by Richard Foster and James Bryan Smith and published by Harper Collins, is a collection of fifty-two Read More
  • Give My Soul Rest: the movie Avatar +

    Avatar, the 2009 movie by James Cameron, raised as much discussion and controversy through its piecemeal use of Native American, Read More
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Gems

  • Process +

      The finished diamond is one of the most beautiful and desirable gems. Read More
  • Not a Conscientious Objector +

    As we abide in him and he abides in us, we are receiving his life rather than creating our own Read More
  • Falling in Love With God +

    “falling in love with God,” as Boa’s subtitle for the facet explains. In this approach we attempt to enter into Read More
  • God's Dimension +

    We experience a great sense of the wonder, boldness, and overwhelming awe of God through our relationship with the Holy Read More
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