Thursday, August 21, 2014

Seven Spiritual Lessons from Guardians of the Galaxy

I went to see Guardians of the Galaxy the other night with my sons, as the summer of twenty-fourteen wound its way to a close.  It was a Tuesday night at the local theater, meaning it was student night.

Cheap tickets, free popcorn, bottomless sodas, and a hoo-hah comic-book space-opera?  Those are all the ingredients for a perfect summer moviegoing experience.

Did I enjoy it?  Sure.  It was totally enjoyable.  Of course it was enjoyable.  It was made to be enjoyable, a spun sugary confection carefully calibrated for the consumer palate.  Wham bam zap, went the movie, pitching out bright colors and bathos, like carnival cotton candy and the tilt-a-whirl.

What's not to like?  Carnivals are fun.

And because as a pastor I always, always, always have my theologian hat on, I found myself with my antennae up for those blessed teachable moments.

Lord, did I have my antennae up.  It's what's expected, right?  I mean, seriously, these sorts of blog posts are what the web eats up with a spoon.  The Seven Lessons of the Thing You and All Your Friends Just Saw!  Three Important Teachings that Piggyback My Blog in With That Huge Marketing Push!

But for the love of God, this was just summer fluff, a great yarping bliss-out of comic-book colors and cybernetic raccoons.  It has no more meaning than one of those old 1930s Buster Crabbe Buck Rogers serials, or that deliciously campy Queen-soundtracked Flash Gordon from the early 80s.

It was the cinematic equivalent of dumping a couple of bags of Pop Rocks in your mouth.   Blam pop poppity pop, goes the candy in your mouth, a moment of empty bright carbonated sweetness.   It's not more than that.  Why does it need to be more than that?  Not everything has to be more than that.

What?  You're cheesed at the click bait?  You still want Seven Spiritual Lessons?  Oh, come on.  Don't make me.  I...

Oh, all right.

Um.  Well.

1)  Take the Hand You're Offered.  Because, well, you should.  You don't know when it'll be withdrawn, or when you need to do it so the energy from that strange glowing mystic purple rock won't blow you to pieces.  Unless you're the villain, and you need to jump that spaceship so you can escape and make it to the sequel.

2)  Stand Up for What You Believe In.  Preferably in a small group.  In a circle.  In the frat-boy-decor common area of your awesome space-ship.

3) We are Groot.  Because ultimately, it's all about being together with friends, even if you have a four word vocabulary and are some sort of talking plant-god voiced by Vin Diesel.  I really hope he wasn't paid by the word on that one.

4) Seize the Day!  You have a short lifespan, perhaps not as short as a raccoon, which generally lives for no more than three years in the wild.  Maybe five, if it's cybernetically augmented. life!  Carpe Diem!  Yeah!

5)  Um.  Your You Sometimes?  You know, like making lighted spores drift from their bark, or impaling a couple of dozen faceless enemies on a giant wooden spike.

6)  Murder is Against the Law.  Like, it's the worst crime.  You really shouldn't, unless it's some faceless extra or that unarmed prison guard who surrendered.  I mean, he made such a funny sound when they threw him to near certain death.  Hoo hah!

7)  You Are the Special.  You have something inside you that...Wait.  That was the Lego Movie.

7)  Peter Quill is Like Jesus. Dad wasn't human, and he had like, these super powers, that like, saved all of us.  Or something like that.  I don't know.  I got bupkis here.

There.  You happy?