I love a good movie. If you know me, then you know that I have a extensive movie collection. I love a movie that I can dissect and see something more than the story being protrayed. I enjoy being able to take a movie and say, there…that’s it…that’s a glimpse of the struggle that exists between the world and the eternal. That’s how to explain a concept in concrete example.
If you have been following this recently, then you know that I attended the Organic Church Conference in Orlando a couple weeks back. The conference was put on by Frank Viola, Milt Rodriguez, Alan Levine and Gary Welter. There was a lot of great insightful and encouraging things shared, but it also started to get me thinking in looking at things abstractly again (something that I love to do). There is always more than just a simple story to be told. There is a bigger picture, something more going on behind the scenes and for me a few things clicked or I saw things in a way that helped me to understand some things in a better manner.
I, in no way claim that this was the intent of the director or writer of the movie. I do not think that these things concern them to be honest, but that is something that is amazing about the human mind, and the supernatural mind. We don’t have to view the world the same way and we can all find beauty in different things. We can all find meaning in different things. It is a fantastic adventure to be able to look at the world and the worldly things and find something more there, to find a connection or correlation to something deeper.
“What you want, what you need is a story” – Rockwood (aka V)
“A story can be either true or false” – Detective
“I leave such judgments to you” – V
On with the show…The church allegory…
I recently was re-thinking the movie V for Vendetta and something semi-profound stood out to me. I assume it was because I was looking for a good way to explore, and explain the church system, but it worked for me on some level. So what did I see? What did I find? (If you haven’t seen it…spoilers present)
If you know the movie (I refer to the movie as I have not read the graphic novel and assume more people have seen the film…we are a lazy group aren’t we?) then you know that it centers on “V” trying to change government and bring the people back into a clear understanding that said government should work for the people and that governments role is not one that should Lord over the lives of its citizens. In this attempt he ends up helping Evey Hammond and they have an interesting relationship. Early on, V asks Evey a question to which she explains that she does not want to live in fear anymore. It sets up what happens later on in the movie.
It is this “later on” that caused something to stir within me. Later, we find that Evey has been “black bagged” and imprisoned and all that she has to do to be released it to name who is the man behind the mask. She simply has to name who the terrorist “V” is (a name we never truly get throughout the movie). She is scared, but she will not give up the name. During her time there she finds a scroll of paper written by a former prisoner. In this scroll it outlines her life and what it was like to live in fear, to live in rejection and to ultimately know that she was going to die because of her sexual preferences (that was the vehicle the directors chose to use…homosexuality…I am not advocating it). In this “last inch” she reads about a women’s courage and she grows stronger. Slowly the fear disappears.
Evey continues to be tortured and will not give up the name and location of the terrorist. She believes in him and his cause. She faces the torture and ultimately, it comes to the point where she is threatened with being executed. When the final day comes, the guards comes and ask her one last time, and she bluntly states…”I think I’ll take my chance behind the chemical shed”. With that the guards leaves her.
She walks to the door and looks out…she sees a guard down the hallway, or what she thinks is a guard. She walks up and touches the guard, only to find that it is a dummy dressed up. She walks out to find that the entire time, V has been tricking her. What she thought was real, was an elaborate scheme. She of course, is quite angry. She yells at V over all things from torturing her, to cutting her hair.
One of the most important lines for me at this point is V’s response to Evey…”Yes, I created a lie, but because you believed it you found something true about yourself…”
So what does it all mean, how does it relate to the church and what we see going on today? It’s simple really, the church today is trapped in a false prison and I think that on some level many are waking up. Many are finally saying, I am ready to die and are in fact realizing that they have been living a false reality.
More important than anything was the moment that Evey realized that she had been living in a world where things looked one way, but the truth behind things was completely and utterly different than she saw them. When she looked out into the halls, she saw captivity and death. As she read the words of a former prisoner, she was dying and slipping away. She was stuck in different reality. It was in the moment she realized that her prison was fake, not real, that she was actually set free.
In order to understand that true motives of Evey’s imprisonment, we have to look at the creator of the prison. We have to see what lesson she was being taught. She was being taught to live without fear. She was being put in an uncomfortable position so that she might actually grow into a stronger person. She was being thrown an obstacle so that she could in fact see the truth.
I am hoping some of the pieces are falling into place, but I must continue. In this modern day the Body of Christ is being placed into thousands of man-made prisons. We call them churches, but they are false fronts for what the Lord truly desires of His Body, His Bride. They look good on the surface…They have preaching, Jesus preached…so that’s gotta be OK. They have music that stirs the soul (and spirit)…that’s gotta be good. There is no way that can be bad. It has people that want to know the Lord. Those all seem like really good, really Biblical things, but that is the surface. When you get up close to it and look at it, you will simply find that it is just a dummy dressed up.
It is the very thing that is causing more and more believers to simply state “I’ll take my chances behind the chemical shed”. That is to say that more and more believers are discovering that they are truly ready to die, then continue to be asked to give up the terrorist known as Jesus Christ (I don’t really consider Christ a terrorist…). In the traditional church every Sunday there is a man at the front asking his or her flock to trust him for divine leading. The congregation is in no shape, form or fashion engaged with the Lord or His Spirit. They are trapped in a cell, being tortured, being accused, and being silenced.
We, The Body, truly need to accept the death sentence we have been given (to be crucified to Christ), and start living as we are called to do. That call is to live without fear for the Lord. That call is to be one with the other saints, our brothers and sisters. That call is to SHARE life, not site idly by and feel “religious”. That call is to live life by the Spirit and not by the system. That call is to stop taking the easy way out of religious activity and start truly living in the Spirit. To be a living stone building God’s church.
We must all be ready to see past the false front of convenience, and move into the struggle and challenge that is being a follower of Christ.
***Disclaimer – When I write about the church, I am speaking about the system…not the individuals that attend. I feel that many strong Spirit following believers are searching and the church system is the best thing that they have found. I would not want to call into question their hearts or their faith, but I do not agree with a system that utilizes many tactics and devices for things that probably had little or no value to the Lord.