It’s ok if you’re late to the Harry Potter party. It’s been 20+ years since the debut (omg, we’re that old) and as a high school junior I had little time or interest in the hype and hysteria that came with it. Not to mention many Christian circles (still) actively opposing the magic and “witchcraft.”
It wasn’t until this year when my kids’ school sent a letter urging parents to be alert for trends and hypes, particularly where magic or superpowers were involved, that something in me started to rumble.
In February I got an email from my kids’ school to be alert for “trends and hypes.” All parents were encouraged to give extra thought to the cartoon figures we let our children wear or bring to school, via bags and lunch boxes. My kids attend a school that identifies as Christian, so we knew, in addition to extra singing/music, bible stories and praying, there would be attention to avoiding really frightening stories, or stories of witchcraft, zombies, etc. But this email called out Elsa, Anna, and even Superman. Uh, What??
Disney’s Brave touched my heart like Frozen, but deeper. In Frozen we glimpse our divine identity and sacrificial love, but Brave touches on the reality of our love-hate relationship with God. (Warning, spoiler alert.)
Fiery and fun-loving Merida wants to live on her own terms, like most of us, but cultural traditions oppress her spirit. Her mom tries to prep Merida for the way of a princess, including arranged marriage and great authority, but the mom and daughter are losing their minds and eachother.
Remember “50 First Dates,” where Henry (Adam Sandler) meets Lucy (Drew Barrymore) who suffers from a rare form of amnesia? It’s a funny love story that shows how a devoted heart will go to all lengths, even self-sacrifice, to prove itself.
When watching we may consider our own relationship with God–atleast I did. Every day looking for *Him in Every. Thing. Hoping for an encounter in anything from a flash in nature, or a song, or moment with the kids, fill in the blank. The stuff where your heart flutters and you catch a glimpse.
But sometimes it’s like *He’s not there.
Sometimes, some days, some seasons, I feel nothing, sense nothing. I’m surrounded by Void. I hate these moments that unite against my heart’s grip on memories of when God showed up…
How can music banish a bad mood and transport us to a place where problems, cares, fear, sometimes even pain (and certainly time) don’t exist? For a moment there’s just that beat, or lyric line, or bass, or …plug in your own thing– it’s magic. I’ll be feeling down but if a song comes on that rocks, something changes–and even babies know the feeling:
Melodies can spark our spirits, balm our hearts, mirror something of our soul, and sometimes floor us. Who needs Ecstasy when some tracks are flat-out orgasmic?
And Music also heals Socially…
Just think: when we rock to the same jam, things like Race, Gender, ‘Status,’ etc., disappear. Love takes shape in a sea of people grooving. Unity, peace, joy, no fear, no shame, No Problem.
In Racer X like Jesus (Part 1), I shared how you can hear from God in unexpected places: timely counsel from a neighbor, that special song in the store, the wisdom of your kids, the breeze on your skin.. I got unexpected lessons from Frozen (5 Lessons I didn’t See Coming), so an encounter in Speed Racer should’ve been no surprise.
But once your spiritual antennae are up, movie dialogue touches deeper than simple script. Here were 6 gems I pulled:
I believe God can be found anywhere, from the breeze on your skin, to the wisdom of your kids. Sometimes He* makes surprise appearances in a theater or a Justin Bieber track (post coming!) and my latest encounter was during the Speed Racer film.
The more I watched Racer X, the more I thought of Jesus, and the more I watched Speed, the more I thought of myself. Racing is a great metaphor for life–tension, time, passion, power— and every ‘Speed Racer’ can use a ‘Racer X’ in his corner…
This starts with a snail named Turbo who dreams of speed. When Turbo almost drowns in an engine filled with nitrous oxide–and my kids and I started getting nervous– I started to wonder: isn’t that stuff laughing gas??
SNL skits and Steve Martin flashed before me, and I checked wiki to confirm: sure enough, the stuff that numbs pain and causes giggles is the same stuff that turns car horsepower into unicorn power.
I don’t believe in coincidences so what’s God trying to say??
Speed and Joy can go together like Slow and Annoyed, but maybe the connection runs deeper. What if Fun, Laughter, and Joy are some of our Greatest Weapons in life?
God can use anything to get our attention, from a song on the radio, to a kids movie. As a recovering Pharisee (aka, avoid-anything-not-blatantly-God), this was hard for me to accept, but Disney’s Frozen blew my mind (5 Lessons from Frozen I didn’t see coming here).
I recently saw “Oz, the Great and Powerful ” (2013, with James Franco), and it was chock full of heart lessons. Here are three that touched me, and I hope you too. (Warning, Spoilers!):