Posts Tagged ‘Survivor’

This week: God using Survivor? Some solid personal notes to bookend the current discussion of hell by Tim Challies, Wilson blows up some conventional wisdom, and how not to just drift away from Kevin DeYoung.

‘Survivor’ Update: Hat Tip to the Almighty (by Mark Morning, CT): My wife and I are fans of this show and after we watched the episode that aired this past Wednesday, I was intrigued by what Julie shared and wondered if she meant it. From this article, it looks like she did!

I Hate Hell (by Tim Challies)

I hate hell. I hate that it exists and hate that it needs to exist. I’m amazed to realize that, when we are heaven, we will praise God for it and that we will glorify him for creating such a place and for condemning the unsaved to it. But for now I am too filled with pride, too filled with sin to even begin to justly and rightly rejoice in the existence of such a place of torment. I cannot rejoice in such a place; not yet. It is just too awful, too weighty. And I know that I deserve to be there.

Seven Memes for Keeping Christians in their Place (by Douglas Wilson)

Darwinian evolution is actually the funniest thing I ever heard of. It is so dumb that the average Christian needs at least three years of graduate study from white-haired profs to get adjusted to it.

Lest We Drift Away: A Sermon for Good Friday (by Kevin DeYoung)

Most church people drift away from God not because they meant to, but because they got busy, they got lazy, they got distracted, they had kids, they got a mortgage, a few illnesses came, then some bills, then the in-laws visited for a week, then the mini-van broke down, and before you knew what was happening the seed of the word of God had been choked out by the worries of life.

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I know that all of my posts (the few) so far have been about movies and tv but can I help it? There were 2 series finales last month for 2 of the only shows my wife and I watch! Just to disclose, my wife and I have stuck  to a couple of shows: Lost, 24, Survivor, and Biggest Loser. We’ll sometimes watch CSI NY or The Office but not very consistently.  I covered 24 in 2 previous posts here and here. Survivor is a great demonstration of human sinfulness and a fun show. We love the outward transformations while rooting for heart transformation in The Biggest Loser.

Then there’s Lost. I honestly believe that there has never been a show quite like it and there never will be again.  Tell me about another show with those ratings and popularity that ended after 6 seasons and had one single purposeful story arc that finished. The new Battlestar Gallactica?  Maybe. We bailed in season 1 simply because the characters weren’t great and it felt like it would be same storyline over and over until they found Earth (another reason we bailed – way too much sex). Lost had both the mythology and sci-fi aspect as well as superb, well-acted characters that you locked in with. Between Locke, Sawyer, Jack, Kate, Hurley, Sayid, Ben, Desmond, and more, you had someone you gravitated towards and rooted for. It was pretty much the question in the first few season: Locke, Jack or Sawyer, who’s your guy?  I just listed 8 characters above and I could name 10 more. Without the characters, there would be no Lost, just a mysterious island with a smoke monster.

The show creators knew that and wrote it that way. Sure there were the mysteries: the time travel, the smoke monster, Jacob, the Darma Initiative, the Others, Richard, the Island’s weird powers, the fertility issues the Island caused, the strange bermuda triangle aspect of the island, the electromagnetics, the man in black/Jacob’s brother’s name, the nature of the island and the light at the center, and more. But the heart of the story was always the characters. Is there redemption for them? Will they unite? Will they find happiness? Can they overcome their pasts? People have whined about the finality and how too many mysteries remained unsolved but you knew they had to end it the way they did – a redemptive ending centering on the characters. There was no other way to finish. Who cares about the mysteries? I just wanted to see if Ben would be redeemed. Would Sawyer find peace (and Juliet)? Would Jack and Kate finally be together and happy? Was Locke right, did his life matter? Would Sun and Jin reunite and finally get to move forward? Who cares what the Smokey’s name was.

You can already guess then what I thought of the finale. It was awesome. I loved it. Even watching a second time, I still wept at certain moments – Locke and Ben’s conversation at the church, Charlie connecting with Claire, Jack saying goodbye to Kate on the island, and of course when Jack meets his dad. Such a bittersweet finish. A few things to key on: the flash sideways and Jack.  I like how the flash sideways ended up being the sort of purgatory, like the gray town in The Great Divorce by CS Lewis. I loved how what happened on the Island was real. There really were no second chances at life. Locke really did die when Ben killed him. The flash sideways was not a simple everything ends well story where all is good. Sun and Jin really did die on the sub together. Sayeed really did sacrifice his life so more of them could get off the sub. Hurley never met up again with Libby in life, she really was gone. Sawyer didn’t simply get to erase his past sins as a con artist and leaving a wake of brokenness in his path. Charlie really did die trying to help rescue the others. Jack’s dad really was dead. Powerful. This life matters. What happened on the Island and the choices that were made – mattered. Jack’s final choices on the Island were not just a temporary death before the storylines merged, but mattered. Wow. Do I think that about my life? Do I wake up and think my life matters for Jesus everyday? Do I live as if I really only have one shot at this whole thing? Am I living like the selfish, wounded, fixer pharisee that Jack started as? Or am I living as the Jack walking by faith, ready and willing to genuinely unselfishly lay his life down for his friends? What a gut check. I’ll come back to this.

I have to talk about Jack and his dad. I  wanted to see them reunite. I knew it had to happen for the story to be complete, the writers were building towards it and you knew it would be a significant moment when it happened. And it was. It hit me at 2 levels. First, I lost my dad almost 9 years to alcoholism (yes, like Jack’s dad, Christian). I loved my dad. Sure he had his faults but I always felt like my dad was for me and we could always be straight up with each other.  I miss him often. I long to see him again. When I came to Jesus as an eighteen year old, one of the first things I wanted was for my dad to experience Jesus with me and that he would know Jesus and be a spiritual father to me not simply my dad. My dad accepted Christ on his death bed and I never had that chance. When I think about heaven, I think about seeing him again and fully experiencing the love of Jesus and his glory together, no longer divided and no longer blind. So to say that I looked forward to the moment when Jack would see Christian again is an understatement. The loving embrace, the tender revelation. Second, Christian Shepherd has his name in this story for a reason. A loving father meeting his son at the end, ready to guide him into eternity? I wonder what book they found that theme in. It hits us emotionally (at least it did for me) because of the truth of the gospel in it.

Finally, the bittersweetness of the ending. Walking into eternity at the same time as flashing back and forth to Jack’s death, mirroring the exact beginning of the show.  Really well done in how it draws out that feeling of nostalgia, that longing for home, for that perfect time and place, for the past and “better times”, for innocence, and for redemption. We all feel it. That longing for home. That desire for ease and peace and no more struggle. Safety. But it’s unattainable. Everything is broken in this life. Everything can feel tainted. When we try to reach back for what we’re longing for all we find is emptiness and memories, not satisfaction. What we really long for is eternity. This life is truly bittersweet and meant to direct us to the only one who really can give us a second chance and is the reason we’re even here. That bittersweetness is meant to tell us that this life is not all there is. Nostalgia is a gift to point us to our true Father, the one who really is waiting for us, making a home for us, able to redeem us and desiring to show us what matters.

Jesus’ death on the cross matters. God’s glory really does matter. Finishing well matters. A life well lived for Him and with Him matters.

Other good reads on the Finale and Series:

The Rabbit Room




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