Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Forrest Gump Christianity

Forrest Gump was an endearing character and when the film came out in 1994 it took the world by storm. It won 6 oscars (nominated for 13), it had a top selling soundtrack, it tapped into something. Yes, he was slow, simple and made sense of the world around him through his mothers childish proverbs. But as Forrest Gump blundered through life amazing things happened to him and he did amazing things.
And that touches us deep inside.
Because we yearn for simplicity in a complicated world.
We shrink from the responsibility of being grown up.
It’s comforting to believe that we’re OK as we are, that we don’t need to change, that good things will happen to us because we’re good people.
And so we can make a nice comfortable theology for ourselves by plucking verses from here and there; that we don’t need to worry because God clothes the flowers of the field, or that we must simply come to him as little children, or that his house has many rooms and one day he’ll come and take us there… but who are we trying to kid? Jesus did not live a Forrest Gump style existence! Neither did he appear on the earth as a finished product - an all-knowing rugrat revealing universal mysteries at the Bethlehem mums and tots group. He needed to grow into all his human potential just like we do. The bible says that he, "grew in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and men." (Luke 2:52) Later it says that "in all things" we need to "grow up into him". (Ephesians 4:15)
No matter how much we want our growing pains to come to an end we should just think first what it really means to stop growing... it means we start dying.

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Jon Hares said...

I agree with you Matt... but that's a bloomin morbid thought!

Anonymous said...

I don't agree that seeking a simpler life equates to shrinking from the responsibility of growing up. Most of us are simply after an alternative to a system that feels more and more oppressive and we perceive as limiting our potential and ultimate autonomy as human beings. The introduction of concepts like Jesus, Satan and the peversity of christian 'morality' do nothing to help us and only give us yet more unnecessary things to worry about and make sure we're conforming to. I happen to believe that the older you get, and the more you "grow in wisdom and stature", the more you strip yourselves of what's unhelpful and stops you living a life in which contentment and pleasure found in the most simple wonders are the ultimate signs and wonders. Perhaps we'll both agree with Jidu Krishnamurti who once said "it's no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society". Amen to that!

Matt Wilson said...

Thanks for your comment anon.
The thrust of my post was to be pro-spiritual growth, not to be anti-simplicity. I agree entirely that the path of spiritual growth is likely to lead us away from the tangled mess of materialism.