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Epic Theology

Finding God through the lens of an artist

Faith and Film: The 100

Well, everyone, this was supposed to be our 100th post here at EpicTheology, but as the weeks turned out, Mother’s Day happened right at the 100 mark, and I figured our moms are more important than other things I was going to say. So, in honour of our 101st post, I thought we would take a look at one of my favourite Young Adult Post-Apocalyptic TV shows: The 100. (Full disclosure, this may be the only YA Post-Apoc TV show I’ve watched…)

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Essentially, The 100 is LOST for teenagers, in the future. I found the first few episodes to be hard to watch, the writing was so bad. But as the series continued, it picked up in quality and my wife and I were hooked.

The basic premise of the show is as follows: humanity has nearly destroyed itself with nuclear war. The surviving humans live on a space station where any crime is dealt with by pushing the criminal out an airlock and into space (known as floating). UNLESS that criminal is under 18, in which case they are kept in prison until they are old enough to stand trial (and then get floated).

When the space station begins to run out of air, 100 of these teenage delinquents are sent down to earth to see if the planet is hospitable again. If they live, they are pardoned for their crimes. If they die, well, they were going to die anyways, and they saved the space station from sending down everyone.

Once these teenagers are on the ground, the situation turns into a fraternity party-meets-Lord of the Flies. With no strong emotional connection to the adults who sent them to the ground, the teens rebel and begin building a new society that suits whatever their whims may be. It’s everyone for him/herself, with pleasure-chasing and power-wrestling the top concern for many of the survivors.

Sound at all familiar?

Who, as a teenager, didn’t rail against the oppression of adults in our lives? Whether our parents, or teachers, or coaches, we had adults telling us what to do and when to do it. When I got to college, it was like all the controls had been taken off and I could do whatever I wanted.

To be fair, I didn’t build a wooden fortress and become a warlord on campus, but I still flexed in my newfound freedom. I also know many who went through a similar process. No matter how well our parents raised us, curiosity or inner rebelliousness urges us to push against what we’ve been taught.

Which isn’t always a bad thing. A big part of the draw of The 100 is the exploration of the post-apocalyptic world that the teens find themselves in. They world is full of mysteries that the following seasons slowly unravel, and many of the misconceptions (or downright lies) of the space-faring adults are brought to light by the curiosity of the protagonists.

But sometimes, rebellion is just rebellion.

It’s in all of us. Since Adam and Eve listened to the snake, we’ve had a tendency to believe that those in authority over us are holding out on us. That God himself is holding out on us. That if WE were in charge, WE would be happier. But happiness does not usually follow a life of narcissism and hedonism. Only a deep relationship with Jesus and a loving community can do that.

And The 100 shows us the importance of community. When facing the terrors that still inhabit the earth, the heroes have to put aside their differences, their pasts, and their pains in order to stay alive. They have to squash their prejudices and swallow their pride in order to see another day.

Perhaps we could learn a thing or two.

So yes, the heroes can be incredibly whiny (being more concerned with your girlfriend than the survival of your tribe…really now…), but I remember being a teenager. Love and popularity and purpose were the biggest of questions for me. It’s only through the lens of an adult nearing 30 that I can see how much bigger life gets.

If you haven’t seen the show, I suggest it. Push on through the first few chapters and really dig into how The 100 depicts human selfishness and selflessness. See if you can find anything that applies to you. That’s how art changes us.

Blessings,

Happy Mother’s Day

A quick shout out to all the mothers out there. Becoming a parent has been one if the hardest, yet fulfilling thing I’ve done with my life. I have associated closest to God as Creator for a while now, but becoming a dad has really made the Fatherhood of God a much bigger theme in my life.

However, my parental duties are nothing compared to those of my wife. Motherhood, especially stay-at-home motherhood, is such a blessing in our home.

I think many people take their moms for granted. I know I did for a long time. But seeing the work and sacrifice that goes into being a mother makes it obvious why God chose to be compared to a mother hen protecting her chicks. Nothing I’ve ever done has demanded more than motherhood, and I sometimes forget that.

So, to my wife and my mother, Happy Mother’s Day. To all our readers who are moms, remember that your calling is so important. You are true artists, creating life and sculpting it over decades into a masterpiece. The masters would be proud.

I love you, Mum. I love you, Bri. 

Blessings

First Week Done

Hey folks,

Another late update. My first week as Art and Story Director was very full. So far, I’ve caught a couple online classes on filmmaking, rearranged my office, met with one of my mentors, met with the youth ministry to see how we can help them, shot a post-mission interview, spent much of Friday¬†with the Sharpen Tech Conference’s keynote speaker, hosted/attended the conference itself on Saturday, and dressed up as the disciple John to tell some stories in our Children’s Ministry.

I spent all day Saturday learning about how Bethel Media approaches storytelling and followed them through pre-production, principal production, and post-production. God’s timing on all of this has just been amazing. The week I’m hired to look after storytelling at RockPointe, Bethel (a church in California) sends us their Executive Producer to teach on story. Such an amazing way to start. I’m very inspired to put everything I’ve learned to good use in the weeks to come.

Looking forward, I’ll be spending a lot of this week sitting in more meetings with ministry leads. As we figure out what each ministry is looking to accomplish with story, we’ll be able to create a plan and dive right into projects. That’s perhaps the thing I’m most excited about: getting into actually creating art and telling stories for the church.

I should be back on schedule next week with more of my regular articles. Thanks for tracking along with me over the past few weeks. It’s been an exciting, and exhausting, adventure.

Blessings

Comic-Con Update

Hey all. I’m currently in line for a panel on writing comics and wanted to post a quick update.

The panel went really well on Friday. Around 90 people or so came to hear about hope and purpose in post-apocalyptic fiction. We had great conversation after, and I had someone find me afterwards to talk further. I did a short questionnaire on people’s views of the apocalypse, which I will go over next week.

I’ve also had the great pleasure to run into some friends I haven’t seen since college. It’s always awesome to reconnect and I’m looking forward to building into some old friendships.

Now, my back is a little sore, my brain is fried from over stimulation, and I’ve dropped more money on parking than I have in a long time, but it’s been great. I can’t wait to hopefully become even more involved next year. 

Finally, if you came to my panel and didn’t fill out an evaluation for on your way out, please download the app and rate the panel. You get entered for free passes for next year, and if I’m well reviewed, I have a better chance of being invited back.

Thanks!

Blessings

Christian Cosplay?

Hey folks,

It’s a crazy week around here, getting ready for the Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo, but I just wanted to have a quick word about cosplay before the week is up.

For those not in the know, cosplay (short for costume play) is the growing phenomenon of people dressing up in costumes, often for expos and conventions, and often costumes of characters from movies, TV shows, video games, and comic books. It’s becoming quite large, especially around the convention scene, with thousands of people showing up in elaborate costumes to showcase their creative talents.

Now, cosplay can have a tarnished reputation because of the plethora of scantily clad women (and men) in comics and video games resulting in a equal number of scantily clad people in cosplay. There is a much longer blog post on the morality and ethics of modesty in cosplay, but for today I want to offer another thought.

Cosplayers sometimes dress up as their heroes because they want to inhabit the lives of these people. They want to pretend, even for a short while, that they are the superheroes and adventurers and ne’er-do-wells that they look up to. And I think this is fantastic.

Empathy seems to be (at least in my world) to be in the decline. We are quick to make others into villains and ourselves into heroes. We don’t listen to others and we argue only to win our point. We have lost the ability to empathize with others, to think about what it must be like to be them.

Cosplay, and acting in general, forces us to think about what someone else’s life must be like. The best actors are those who have sat in the life of someone else without judgement and tried to understand why they do what they do. This is especially true of villains, who rarely believe what they are doing is evil. We all believe we are justified in our actions, even if we know the actions to be reprehensible. Yet, we are usually quick to judge others by their actions and not their motives.

If we can live like this in our daily lives, if we can spend more time trying to understand others and why they are doing or saying what they do or say, then perhaps we can start moving towards more peace in the world. Our relationships would be stronger if we were to believe the best of our partners and admit that they probably have justifications for what they do.

When we live in someone else’s shoes for a while, they stop becoming a “them” and start becoming a real person, just like us.

And if dressing up like Spiderman or Princess Leia helps us get in that mindset, I’m all for it.

Blessings,

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