Today's Devotions

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Showcase: Assorted Treats

  • Magnificent +

    Few songs capture the entrancing, humbling, overwhelming awe I experience in the presence of God. Magnificent, a song by U2 Read More
  • I'll Go Crazy +

    I'll go crazy if I don't go crazy tonight Every generation gets a chance to change the world - U2 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

  • River of Love

    There's a river of love that runs through all timeBut there's a river of grief that floods through our livesIt Read More
  • I Am Nothing

    I stutter when I tryTo speak the language of lifeI want to shout out loudBut I just cry insideSometimes it Read More
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Audio & Video

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Favorites

  • Transforming this World: The Hope of Glory by NT Wright +

    Wright confronts the perspective that this world doesn’t matter, and that we live only to be in heaven. He shows Read More
  • What is Good in a World that Defies Hope: a talk by NT Wright +

    This is the second part of three talks by NT Wright at Harvard University in November, 2008 on the topic Read More
  • The Stream, the Lake and the River: NT Wright +

      Acts 2.1-21; John 7.37-39; a sermon at the Eucharist on the Feast of Pentecost, 11 May 2008, by the Read More
  • Jesus in the Perfect Storm by NT Wright +

    Zechariah 9.9-17; Luke 19.28-48; A sermon for Palm Sunday, April 17, 2011, In the University Chapel of St Salvator, St Read More
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Hidden Blessings

  • Christ is a Great Savior: a review of the movie Amazing Grace +

    Amazing Grace is a historical drama about William Wilberforce who was elected to British Parliament at the age of 21 Read More
  • Wilberforce, Hollywood's Amazing Grace, Charlotte Allen +

    William Wilberforce's relentless campaign eventually led the British Parliament to ban the slave trade, in 1807, and to pass a Read More
  • Making Beauty out of Ugly Things: Grace by U2 +

    Grace, she takes the blame She covers the shame Removes the stain It could be her name Grace, she carries Read More
  • The True Nature of Grace and Love: a movie review of the Soloist +

    The 2009 movie The Soloist is based on a book by the same name, written by Los Angeles Times columnist Read More
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