Monday, June 21, 2010

The Toy Story Gospel

So we went to see Toy Story 3 this evening and then went to Applebee's for a Father's Day dinner. While I would normally not choose a cartoon, nor Applebee's for such a "special occasion" outing, I wanted to see Toy Story 3 (so did Luke) and I like the price of the theater in Hartsville, SC. Two dollars grants you entrance to see first run movies there, compared with ten dollars in Columbia. And Applebee's and Mickie D's are about your only choices of restaurants in Hartsville. So, once again the cheap-skate ariseth and calleth me forward.

But without digressing, let me give you my quick application. The little green aliens are some of my favorite characters, especially their adoration of the mystical "claw." If you haven't seen the first movie, not much need in reading further, you'll probably be lost.

So the aliens worship "the claw" as their deity. It is one of those arcade machines where a claw drops into a bunch of toys and attempts to grab one and drop it down a chute for the player as a prize. The toys embody their theology in the original movie: "The claw is our master." "The claw chooses who will go and who will stay." They venerate the claw and see it as all wise and all knowing. In one scene of the first movie the claw grabs one of the alien toys. As he is pulled up, the toy beams, "I have been chosen! Farewell my friends, I go on to a better place."

Scarily similar, huh? No, no. Not similar to pretrib doctrine. What are you thinking?! No. Similar to the cultures veneration of anything seen as mystic or spiritual. In our day, as in any other I suppose, people worship out of ignorance. And they will worship anything. But most especially in today's techno-savvy society, we tend to deify anything that posits progress. Paul said to the group gathered on Mars Hill "Men of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious. For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO AN UNKNOWN GOD. Now what you worship as something unknown I am going to proclaim to you." (Acts 17 NIV) He acknowledged the fact that they had a desire to worship something. So much so in fact, that they would even worship the Unknown God, just so they wouldn't risk offending any.

Our culture trusts "progress" in much the same way. We believe that it will take us to that better place, and so there is no need for another god. But if the objects of our worship are machines, they are only as good as the person who is at the controls. It is far better to trust in God than in man-made machines. Progress may take us to the sea floor, the top of Mt Everest, and even to the moon; but progress cannot and will not take us into the family of God and to His heaven. Only a right relationship with the right God can do that.

So don't be like the little green aliens of Toy Story fame. Don't look for the claw to take you somewhere better. Look to Jesus, the Messiah, the only wise God and our Savior. Paul says it best:

"The God who made the world and everything in it, this Master of sky and land, doesn't live in custom-made shrines or need the human race to run errands for him, as if he couldn't take care of himself. He makes the creatures; the creatures don't make him. Starting from scratch, he made the entire human race and made the earth hospitable, with plenty of time and space for living so we could seek after God, and not just grope around in the dark but actually find him. He doesn't play hide-and-seek with us. He's not remote; he's near. We live and move in him, can't get away from him! One of your poets said it well: 'We're the God-created.' Well, if we are the God-created, it doesn't make a lot of sense to think we could hire a sculptor to chisel a god out of stone for us, does it? (Acts 17 The Message)

No, Paul. It really doesn't.


Dan said...

Nice! We're taking our kids to see the movie today, so I appreciate your thoughts on it.

Steve said...

It is an excellent movie. The best of the three in my opinion.