- Punk Minister
- I LOVE God, I have been married for 5 years to a wonderful woman, I am a recent college graduate of Lakeland college with a degree in Religious Studies,I have currently foregone going to Seminary, but feel called to work with teens and young adults and do so at my local church, Vineyard CC, in Grafton, WI.
Saturday, February 25, 2012
It is almost serendipitous that my first blog in quite a while would be about how a TV show from the writers of “Paranormal Activity” inspired me to continue my search for God speaking to us when we least expect it when the tag line within the show is “There is magic out there.” I guess it starts with the fact that I have been looking for something to write about or at least the inspiration to actually site down and write for several weeks, so where did the inspiration come from within “The River”?
Well, firstly, the fact that it was created by the same people who created the “Paranormal Activity” series of movies had me wondering where would the series go and what would it deal with. I will have to admit that both “Paranormal Activity” and its sequel, “Paranormal Activity 2” scare the beegeebers (pronounced: be*gee*ber*s) out of me. The main reason is their “real life” depiction of the demonic is probably one of my core fears, in so much as I acknowledge that the demonic exists and can interact within our reality in physical ways. To paraphrase a friend of mine, for something to be scary you have to believe something like that can happen. Once I knew that these movies were not real footage as they were advertised, it was much easier to except them as entertainment. It also helps that “Paranormal Activity 3” was just not as scary, which left me to wonder would “The River” offer a glimpse of the supernatural intellectually as stimulating as the first two or be a letdown like the third? Would the series speak to me?
My faith in God comes with an awareness that the supernatural exists. While I acknowledge that this awareness or acceptance does not come naturally for some, it has and continues to for me. For me, accepting the aforementioned statement, allows me to draw a natural correlation, that is to say that whenever the supernatural is involved we can learn about God. We may not always learn what God is, but we can learn what God isn’t or at least how another person relates to God. I believe that this hypothesis holds true for “The River” as well.
The first observation I could make is, as I stated above, the tag line of the make believe show, “there’s magic out there.” Typically in Christian culture the term magic would be seen as an evil thing, but for me God’s creation is magical and it’s out there. God created many wonders for us to enjoy and that is truly magical. I could go into the long process of listing some of these magical things, but I will let you fill in your own list. I will point out that God coming to earth, taking the form of man, dying, and rising again can be described as magical. This act of God’s leads me to my next observation from “The River.”
The next observation that can be drawn is that of the relationship between the father and the son. The relationship between the father and the son within the show goes from a positive relationship to one that is strained. I really cannot help but see the parallel that can be drawn between us and God. As generations have passed our relationship with the creator has mirrored the strain that a father has with his son as the son grows to become his own man, wanting to go his own way. Within the show the writers have thrown an interesting element into this relationship, which asks the question what happens when the son is drawn back onto a path in search of the father, following the father’s footsteps? Will the son fulfill the hopes of the father, living up to every potential that the father sees within his son? These are not questions that have been answered by the writes thus far in their four episodes that have aired, so I cannot really dialogue about where this parallel will go. What I can say is that we all have a purpose and as we walk the path of that purpose we not only learn more about ourselves, but we learn about God in our lives, just as the son, Lincoln, continues to learn more about a father that has become more and more distant throughout his adult life, despite the fathers continued love and joy over his son and his son’s accomplishments.
Finally, I would like to have a discussion on how God is speaking to us through the supernatural images within the show. Now, it would not be as awesome of a show without the supernatural or the search for the source of magic that seems to have been the focus of the missing father. With the supernatural and the source of magic in play, as I stated above, I have a glimpse into God. God is supernatural and God is the creator of all magic, actually the creator of all things. Now if there were a real life place that we could seek out to find God I think we would all be on journeys like the one in “The River.” However, since there isn’t such a place, that I know of, we have to settle for our lives being the journey and our dealings with the supernatural being more mundane and that of mainly internal revelation. That being said the images of the supernatural show “grey” forces. Forces that operate neither for a preconceived good or evil, but that function based off of their own rules and only appear to be harmful when those rules are broken by those on the journey. Within our own lives we deal with very similar situations where things are neither good nor evil until the point where we break some sort of rule that causes harm or a negative outcome to befall us. Within the show the father left behind a series of tapes and a journal for the search crew to use, albeit unintentionally, to decipher the rules that need to be followed for positive outcome. We too have things that we get to use to decipher what will cause positive outcomes in our lives, such as the Bible and the Ten Commandments. However, just as the father’s journal need to be decoded so too do we have to interpret the Bible in search of what God is trying to say to us.
Within “The River” there is a prophet, a path, a search for “the source,” and there are many run-ins with supernatural both in positive and negative ways. I have yet to find a messiah, or savior, to lead them on the proper path to that which they seek, bridging the gap between the father and the crew, but I will keep watching and let you know when one appears. For now just remember there really is magic out there and when we embrace God’s wonder, all things are possible.