I love baking shows like Cake Wars, The Great British Baking Show, and Holiday Baking Championship. I enjoy watching the competitors strive to create something beautiful and tasty, and I’m thrilled when they succeed. I like to bake, too, but I’ve never had the time or inclination to perfect my skills and make anything as beautiful or as complicated as the masterpieces created on these shows.
That’s why I like the new Netflix show, Nailed It. This is a show I could actually be on because it’s for bad bakers – or at least inexperienced ones. IMBD describes the show this way: “Home bakers with a terrible track record take a crack at re-creating edible masterpieces for a $10,000 prize. It's part reality contest, part hot mess.” While the original masterpieces are beautiful to behold, the re-creations are usually pretty funny (if not just sad).
Like most baking shows, the competitors face a distinct disadvantage in their quest to make something beautiful. They have to do their work in a short period of time. It’s bad enough that the bakers in Nailed it lack any kind of training and have little or no experience in cake decorating. They’re also asked to re-create something that probably took an accomplished cake artist many hours, or even days, to make. Patience is not a virtue in these shows. It’s a luxury no one can afford.
I was reminded this week of the importance of patience in finding and following God’s will for our lives. I want to know God’s will now. I want to get started on the next task. I want to have a finished product ready to serve up by dinner time. And I don’t understand why, so much of the time, I can’t discern God’s leading in my life telling me what to do and how to do it.
Part of the problem may be that I forget to ask for instructions – like the contestant in one episode of Nailed It who went through the first challenge never turning on the tablet at his workstation that contained the recipe for the cake he was supposed to make. The bigger problem for me, though, is just not being patient. I have trouble letting God work in his own time and in his own way. So it’s no wonder I mess up so often.
God isn’t interested in making a half-hearted, barely-recognizable, rushed-through, re-creation of something else in my life. He’s making an original masterpiece, lovingly thought out, painstakingly assembled, with attention to every detail. I can join him in that work, patiently waiting for directions, learning by watching, making mistakes and starting over, or I can rush through on my own and end up with an unappealing mess.
It’s really not that hard to choose.
“In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:4-6
Over the weekend, I went to see the latest Marvel superhero movie, Ant Man and the Wasp. It was entertaining and funny, with lots of special effects as the two main characters (Ant Man and the Wasp) keep changing from human to insect-size and back again in the midst of hand-to-hand fights and wild car chases. Ant Man’s suit also allows him to grow very large or to shrink beyond the view of any microscope into the “quantum realm” – an important plot point in this movie.
To really up the thrill factor, the good guys in the film have more than one bad guy coming after them. One is a ruthless businessman with his armed thugs, after “quantum” technology he can sell to the highest bidder. The other is a mysterious matter-phasing “ghost” woman who wants the technology for her own needs. The Wasp and her father, who have the technology, have to hold onto it long enough to enter the quantum realm and find the Wasp’s long-lost mother (the original Wasp, who shrunk down too far to come back while rescuing thousands of people from an incoming missile many years earlier).
If you forget about the questionable science and focus on the action, it’s not a hard movie to follow. Like most superhero movies, it’s also easy to figure out who are the good guys and who are the bad guys—and what will happen to them in the end. The good guys will win. The bad guys will lose. And the people in between? Well, they might just get a second chance.
Isn’t that why we like superhero movies? If you use your powers for good and care about other people and try to do the right thing most of the time, things should work out your way. If you care only about yourself and don’t mind hurting other people to get what you want, you will be punished. But, what if there’s an excuse for your bad behavior? What if it’s not really your fault that you became the person you are? Do you deserve a break? Do you deserve to be saved?
This, of course, is the real problem with superhero movies—and with the way most humans think. We try to earn our way to happiness, to deserve good breaks, to be good enough to be counted among the winners. And when we fail, we look for excuses. We say, “It’s not my fault. I can’t help being the way I am. Shouldn’t I get a break, too?”
The Bible tells us that “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23) and “there is no one righteous, no not one” (Romans 3:10). There isn’t one person in the whole world who has been good enough to earn the blessing of the holy and perfect God. But there also isn’t one person in the whole world who hasn’t been given a second chance. God offers us his forgiveness and a place in his family, not because of what we have done or not done, but because of his grace and love.
Too often Christians fall into the trap of separating people into the camps of good guys and bad guys. We’re willing to help the good guys. We’re even willing to help people who are the victims of their circumstances, people who have an excuse for not being as good as they could be. But the bad guys are simply bad guys, and they deserve nothing but God’s wrath.
Perhaps we need to change that way of thinking. Perhaps we should remember that we were once “God’s enemies” but that “we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son” (Romans 5:10). That’s the only thing that separates us from the bad guys out there. So, shouldn’t we be more understanding—and more gracious? Shouldn’t we be more concerned with sharing the good news of God’s grace and spend less time vilifying people who don’t agree with us?
There are a lot of “people in between” out there just waiting for someone to invite them into the camp of the forgiven. Get out there, superheroes, and give them that chance!
I read an interesting article yesterday in Christianity Today about the Brazilian national soccer team which has a number of evangelical players.* In this predominantly Catholic nation, these players have made a name for themselves by being very open about their love for Jesus.
According to the article, the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) recently banned team members from “religiously themed demonstrations” on the field. That would include the practice of some team members of wearing tee shirts with Christian messages beneath their jerseys and displaying them after a goal, and could even include kneeling during a game as if in prayer or pointing to heaven as if to thank God for a successful play. According to the CBF, these celebratory displays are being banned because “the practice could divert focus on competition and constrain athletes who practice other beliefs or are agnostic.”
As I read the article, I could imagine a chorus of outraged Christian voices rising up to condemn this suppression of religious belief. It reminded of a friend who once argued that we need to support public displays of Christian belief (on our coins, in the pledge to the flag, at the beginning of legislative sessions, and in national days of prayer) because God needs the PR. And there’s no better PR than a winning team or a winning player displaying gratitude to the Heavenly Father after a spectacular GOOOAAAAALLL!
The real problem with these displays, as I see it, is that they associate the grace of God with winning. You don’t often see a Christian player of any sport pause after a disastrous play or the loss of a game to point to heaven with grateful smiles. It’s when they score that they thank God for being with them. It’s when they win that they show the world that God has favored them.
So, where is God in the losing?
In the Bible, we often find God in the losing. Many of the most beautiful Psalms were written by David while he was being hunted by King Saul who wanted to kill him. David ran from country to country looking for a safe place to stay. He was betrayed by allies and surrounded by enemies. He lived off the land and bedded down in caves. Again and again he prayed for deliverance and wrote out those prayers in commemoration of God’s goodness.
Wait, God’s goodness? Even when David was on the run? Even when things weren’t going his way? Even when he had to wait three decades for the fulfilment of God’s promise to make him king over all Israel?
The introduction to Psalm 54 says, “For the director of music. With stringed instruments. A maskil of David. When the Ziphites had gone to Saul and said, ‘Is not David hiding among us?’” It ends with David proclaiming, “I will praise your name, Lord, for it is good. You have delivered me from all my troubles.”
Psalm 56 was written about a time “when the Philistines had seized (David) in Gath.” In it David sings, “In God, whose word I praise, in the Lord, whose word I praise—in God I trust and am not afraid.”
In Psalm 57, David is hiding from Saul in a cave. He writes, “I will praise you, Lord, among the nations; I will sing of you among the peoples. For great is your love, reaching to the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the skies.”
Psalm 59 was written “When Saul had sent men to watch David’s house to kill him.” David’s response was to declare, “You are my strength, I sing praise to you; you, God, are my fortress, my God on whom I can rely."
Each day David survived, he found a reason to praise God—whether he was winning or waiting or on the run, fearful for his life. He didn’t wait for a great victory to declare that God was on his side. He loved God and trusted God’s love for him, perhaps finding it richer and purer and stronger during the losing times of his life. Shouldn't Christians today live more like that?
Even though my kids are both grown, we thought it would be fun for the whole family to go see Incredibles II for Fathers’ Day. The story picks up right where the original Incredibles movie ended, which I think was a great idea. In the original movie, the Parr family had grappled with living with powers that other people didn’t have. Some people loved the “Supers” and thought they did much to make the world a better place. Others feared them because they were different or blamed them for the damage done while they were trying to stop bad people from doing bad things. At some point, using super powers had become illegal, and the Parr family was forced to hide who they really were.
In the new movie, using super powers is still illegal. Bob and Helen Parr (aka Mr. and Mrs. Incredible) are trying to find a balance between helping others, obeying laws they don’t agree with, and protecting their family. It’s not an easy task when their teenage daughter, Violet, is trying to fit in at school, their pre-teen son, Dash, is a barely controllable ball of energy, and their baby, Jack-Jack, is … well that’s hard to explain without seeing the movie, but even a normal baby requires a lot of attention. When Helen is offered a chance to come back into the light and use her super powers to try to convince people to change the “anti-Supers” laws, the family dynamics become even crazier.
In the United States today, some people fear there may soon be “anti-Christian” laws. In fact, laws in some states which protect the rights of homosexual and transgender individuals are already being used to try and silence Christians who disagree with them. As the Supreme Court reminded us earlier this month, the times are changing and laws which affect Christian speech and actions are changing with them. The time may come—much sooner than we imagine—when Christians everywhere will have to choose between obeying the laws and living according to their faith.
In Incredibles II, Helen Parr has no desire to break the law unless doing so would serve a higher purpose. In the first movie, she was willing to “suit up” to save her husband’s life. In this second movie, she “suits up” to be an advocate for changing laws she believes are unfair and not in anyone’s best interests.
As Christians, we should also respect the law of the land as much as we can. The Bible tells us, “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities” (Romans 13:1a). But it also says, “the one in authority is God’s servant for your good,” and “rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong.” (Romans 13:3-4). So what do we do when the rules favor those who do wrong in God’s eyes and punish those who do right?
Like the Parr family, we may have some tough decisions to make about how to live in a society that fears and marginalizes us because of our beliefs. However, there’s one important lesson we can learn from the “supers,” and that is to MINIMIZE THE COLATERAL DAMAGE. Fighting bad guys can be messy, and people can get hurt. Fighting sin can be messy, too. If we try to win our battles at any cost, a lot of people who don’t understand what we’re doing will be hurt. Instead of seeing the good we’re trying to do in the world, all they will see is the damage.
So the next time you “suit up” to fight for something you believe in, ask yourself what kind of damage you might do in the minds and hearts of people who need to make a decision about following Jesus. What is the good you are trying to achieve? What is the harm you might cause?
The world needs us. It needs our core values. But mostly, people need Jesus. Remember that the next time you “suit up.”
In case you missed it, one state is taking full advantage of the relaxed view toward Christianity under the current Presidential administration. On June 27, the governor of Kentucky signed a bill into law that permits public schools to teach Bible literacy as an elective social studies class. The stated intent of the bill is not to allow the teaching of religion in schools but to explore the Bible’s role in American history.
According to Kentucky Representative D.J. Johnson, “It really did set the foundation that our Founding Fathers used to develop documents like the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights. All of those came from principles from the Bible…. Where you believe that it’s the word of God or you think it’s complete fiction, you can’t deny the impact it’s had on our culture.”
Opponents of the new law include atheists, humanists, and I would assume members of other religions who oppose the teaching of one set of religious beliefs without balancing them with other viewpoints. According to the Kentucky Secular Society, “If this course is really for literary purposes, it should include other mythologies and literatures that have impacted our culture as well.”
Some Christians also oppose the law, such as one person who posted a comment on the Christian Post article about the law: “I can't imagine why any reasonable person who believed in the holiness and sanctity of the Bible would want to put its teaching into the hands of the state government…. I am a school teacher and if you had worked with many of the people that I have over the years, then you would not want most of them teaching the Bible to anyone.”
It’s very difficult, of course, to teach the Bible without touching on religious issues. Is there really a God? Did he create the world? Are humans made in his image? How does God want us to live in this world? and What happens if we don’t live according to his plan? These are all questions likely to come up during a discussion of the Bible. Who is going to answer these questions? The Kentucky Department of Education will be tasked with putting together the curriculum for this class and ensuring that the classes do not promote Christianity in violation of the 1st Amendment Establishment Clause. That’s not a job I would want!
One has only to do a quick search of the different Christian denominations in their area to realize there are many different ideas about what the Bible teaches. Even at the time our nation was founded, there were different ideas of what it meant to be a Christian and how to live as a Christian. Some of our Founding Fathers, including the author of the Declaration of Independence, considered the Bible to be a good source of wisdom, but they denied its authenticity as the inspired Word of God and rejected Jesus as the Son of God and source of our salvation. Will that important bit of information be included in Kentucky’s Bible literacy classes?
Bible literacy is a good thing – I won’t deny that. But teaching the Bible as a source of human rights and governmental structure without the essence of the Bible’s message is a very bad idea! Stripping the Bible of the Gospel leaves behind only laws and moral admonitions that never saved anyone. That’s the core message of the Bible. Salvation comes through faith in Jesus Christ – not through good living, good intentions, or good government. And that’s not a message our government is tasked with sharing. That’s on us!
It’s time that we stopped trying to authenticate our religious beliefs by having them taught in public schools or posted on courthouse walls or set in stone on memorials in city parks. It’s time we got back to the job of preaching the Gospel to our neighbors, near and far, and loving them as Jesus loves us.
Spider-Man swung into theaters last weekend to rave reviews and big box-office numbers. I have a thing for superhero movies (if they aren’t too dark or just plain weird), so I went with my family to see it. It was a fun movie, with lots of humor and just enough danger to make me gasp a few times.
This movie joins Peter Parker after he’s already been introduced to the Marvel Universe of movies as Spider-Man. He’s a smart, somewhat awkward, high school student with super strength and the ability to hang onto walls, ceilings, and other surfaces like—you guessed it—a spider. His origin story (how he got this way) is skipped over except for one short discussion with his buddy about getting bitten by a spider. You have to watch the older Spider-Man movies, or read the comics, to get the whole story about secret experiments, radioactive spiders, and genetic mutations.
Although we don’t see Peter become Spider-Man, we do see him continue to grapple with the big question: what do I do with this power now? The villains in the story come across a different kind of power—high-tech alien weaponry and power sources—and they use it for themselves, making money to take care of families or just for the rush of blowing things up. Peter wants to use his power for others—to help people who are in danger or just being taken advantage of.
All over the world, I’m sure people were leaving theaters debating what kind of superpower they would like to have and what they would do with it. Most of the answers were probably pretty self-centered. Some might want to have super strength so they could get back at the bullies who tormented them in school. Others might want to read minds so they could embarrass people or blackmail them. My husband might like the power of teleportation so he could go on a business trip without 4-hour delay at the airport. Sometimes I wish I had super speed, so I could whish through my housework and computer work and still have time to relax at the end of the day knowing everything is done.
As Christians, we often forget that we have been given something much greater than any of the superhero superpowers. We’ve been given life eternal, a relationship with a loving God, peace in troubled times, and hope for the future. We can focus on ourselves, as many Christians do, asking for God to bless us, to take care of our families, to protect our rights and privileges. Or we can focus our gifts on others, the way Jesus did, and bring light into a dark world.
“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” - Matthew 5:14-16
So “hero up” and think of ways you can use your gifts to help others this week.
If you haven’t figured this out yet, I’m a bit of a nerd. I like books and movies, and my favorites tend to have some kind of fantasy or science fiction element. Or they should at least take place in the past and have interesting costumes or settings and characters with accents. Some movies are enjoyed best on the big screen, and I’ve been known to go to the theater to see a movie a second time—or a third.
Yesterday, I went to see Wonder Woman again with my daughter. I liked the adventure, the costumes, and the settings, but mostly I enjoyed the story. I wrote about it in a post a few weeks ago, but I knew there was more about the story than I had touched on. In fact, there is one important aspect to the story I don’t want to pass over. So, I am writing a second post on Wonder Woman (and not only so I can justify seeing the movie again).
I think it would be difficult for any Christian watching this movie to miss the parallels to the story of Jesus. Diana, Princess of the Amazons, is the daughter of Zeus and the Amazonian queen—a union of god and mortal. Jesus is the Son of God but born of Mary—a union of man and God. Diana was brought into the world to end the reign of evil instigated by Aries, the god of war. Jesus was sent into the world to destroy the power of sin instigated by Satan, an angelic being. And if those similarities weren’t obvious enough, Diana even strikes a pose at the climax of the movie where she takes the full brunt of Aries’ attack and hangs in the air with her arms outstretched, making the form of a cross.
Diana wins against Aries. Jesus won against Satan. And all is good and right in the end. –Or not.
The point the Wonder Woman movie takes pains to make is that Diana’s victory is a hollow one. She can finally see that all the evil in the world is not a direct result of Aries’ meddling, and it won’t stop just because Aries has been defeated. Every human has both light and dark within them, and they can choose to act either for good or bad. As Diana muses at the end, that’s something no hero can fix.
Many people in our society have drawn a similar conclusion about Jesus. He came, he died, he left, and sin and evil continue. It seems as if whatever it is that ails humanity is something no hero—no god—and no Savior can fix.
It is this kind of thinking which has driven so many people today into the arms of humanism (the idea that humanity must depend on itself to find a way out of its own troubles), scientism (a commitment to the advancement of knowledge to solve our troubles), or nihilism (the abandonment of hope that our problems can be solved). What they fail to see is the HOPE that only Jesus offers.
The story of Jesus—the story of the whole Bible—is that a Savior can fix what ails us.
“Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil—and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.” (Hebrews 2:14-15)
“For everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.” (1 John 5:4)
It’s true that no demigod, caped crusader, man of steel, or mighty avenger is going to save the human race. And humanity isn’t going to save itself. “But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 15:57)
Less than a week ago, a lone gunman opened fire at a group of Republican Congressmen and others attending a baseball practice in Virginia. A day or two later, I noticed a friend of mine posting on Facebook her outrage at all the posts she was seeing on Twitter celebrating and justifying the shooting. I didn’t see those kinds of remarks, but I don’t spend a lot of time on social media. Yesterday, though, I received an email from a family member—a good Christian woman—sharing some words of wisdom from Thomas Jefferson, including these:
I don’t know if the email was intended to rationalize the Virginia shooting and the anger behind it or if it was just bad timing. Either way, the connection between Jefferson’s words and the shooter’s actions is hard to miss.
Personally, I found the shooting in Virginia to be appalling and totally without justification. I can’t say, though, that I was shocked by it. Anger, division, and finger-pointing have taken over the political discourse in this country. Lines have been drawn, and people are categorized by one or two identifiers such as Republican, liberal, evangelical, Trump-supporter, or Trump-hater, and each group is all good or all bad, depending on which side of the line you stand on.
Christians, in particular, are being painted with a broad brush. The week before last, a nominee for a political post was accused of being Islamophobic just because he believes salvation is through Christ alone. And a few days later, a British political leader announced his resignation from office because he was taking too much heat for being an Evangelical Christian. The idea that Christians are hateful toward Muslims, homosexuals, and anyone else who doesn’t support their social and political views, is causing some Christians to keep their beliefs to themselves. Other Christians are standing up and saying, “That’s not us!” *
It grieves my heart more than I can say to know that some of my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ are adding to the hateful rhetoric that fuels acts of violence like we saw last week. It grieves me even more to think that other Christians are afraid to speak at all for fear of being seen as a hater.
Jesus never promised that practicing our faith would be easy or that all the world would love us and accept our message. He told us, “You will be hated by everyone because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved” (Matthew 10:22).
As for me, I would rather be hated for a message of love and redemption than a message of hate.
Since I often write about current movies, you probably expect this post to be about the new mummy movie from Universal which opened last week. But it’s not. And it’s not about the original Boris Karloff movie or the many reincarnations starring Brendan Fraser. It’s not about a movie at all. But it is about a mummy.
Did you know that mummies are mentioned in the Bible?
In Genesis 50:2-3, Joseph had physicians embalm his dead father, Jacob. Joseph was an Israelite working in a high position for the Pharaoh of Egypt, and embalming (or mummifying) was the usual way dead bodies were prepared for burial in that culture. Jacob’s mummified body was then taken back to his homeland in Canaan to be buried in a cave with his father, Isaac, and his grandfather, Abraham (Genesis 49:29-32, 50:12-14).
Later, when Joseph died, he was also embalmed (Genesis 50:26). Like his father, he made his family swear he would eventually be buried with his forefathers in Canaan: “’I am about to die. But God will surely come to your aid and take you up out of this land to the land he promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob…. God will surely come to your aid, and then you must carry my bones up from this place’” (Genesis 50:24-25).
For reasons which aren’t explained, Joseph’s body was not taken to Canaan right away. Perhaps Joseph, as an old man, no longer worked for the Pharaoh or had any influence with him. Perhaps things were already changing in Egypt and Jacob’s large family were no longer treated as welcome guests in the land. Whatever the reason, Joseph’s family did not leave Egypt for over 400 years—not until God sent Moses to lead them back to the land promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
It’s interesting to note that even after 400 years, the Children of Israel had not become assimilated into the people of Egypt. They were still an identifiable group with a common heritage and a family history handed down either orally or in written form. They knew where they were from. They knew they were aliens in the land of Egypt. They knew they had a promise to keep to return Joseph’s bones to rest with his fathers.
But when it came time to move forward, many found the challenges of going home a little too daunting, and they thought longingly of all the “comforts” they had left in Egypt (Exodus 14:10-12, 16:3, 17:3; Numbers 11:4-6, 14:2-4, 20:4-5). At times, it must have seemed to Moses that the only one among them who wasn’t complaining was the mummy. “Moses took the bones of Joseph with him because Joseph had made the Israelites swear an oath. He had said, ‘God will surely come to your aid, and then you must carry my bones up with you from this place’” (Exodus 13:19).
So, you see, this story had a mummy in it. It also has a moral.
God wants us to look forward, not back. He wants us to remember we are aliens in the kingdoms and nations of men and that our true home is the Kingdom of God. He wants us to let go of the “comforts” of this world we think we need and hold on to his promises. And if he has to make us “obnoxious” in our modern-day cultures to remind us of his calling, he will.
If that last thought intrigues you, I wrote a short book about it, called One Nation Under God: A Christian Argument in Favor of Separation of Church and State. You can find it at Amazon.com, where the Kindle version is only 99 cents for the next week!
Another superhero movie hit theaters last weekend to usher in the summer blockbusters. This one is noteworthy for being the first superhero movie to feature a woman. It’s also the first of the genre to be directed by a woman. There’s plenty of action though, with enough shooting, sword-fighting, and explosions to satisfy anyone who loves a super-sized smack-down.
Like all the superhero movies, this one involves a battle between “good guys” and “bad guys,” with Chris Pine’s character actually using those terms to help Diana, the Amazonian princess, understand what’s going on as she encounters mortal humans for the first time.
The film also provides the “origin story” of Wonder Woman, much like the many versions of the origins of Superman, Bat Man, and all their counterparts in the Marvel Universe. But unlike those movies, Wonder Woman also provides an “origin story” for mankind, leading to difficult questions about whether mankind is inherently good or evil and whether mankind is worthy to be saved.
According to Amazon legend, the chief god Zeus created mankind “in his image” and essentially good. Out of jealousy, Aries, another god, corrupted mankind by placing war and dissension in their hearts. The all-female race of Amazons was created by Zeus to be peace-makers among men and—inevitably—to destroy Aries and save mankind.
Aries has a different story, though, one he shares with Diana near the end of the movie. He claims mankind was corrupt from the beginning, and all he has done is whisper encouragement in their ears to get them to destroy themselves.
The similarities between this origin story and the Christian story of the Creation and Fall are striking. In the Bible we read that God created humans in his image and set them over his “very good” creation (Genesis 1-2). Another spiritual being caused the first humans to question God’s commands and disobey him, leading to separation from God and the need to be “saved” (Genesis 3).
Just like the Amazons’ legend, the creation account leads to some difficult questions. Did God know his creations would rebel against him, but he made us anyway? Did we rebel because of something inherent in us or because of some outside influence? Are we worthy of being saved because it’s not really our fault, or because there is still good in us (along with the evil)? Or are we unworthy because of our sin, but God loves us anyway and he offers us his grace?
The movie raises other questions just as important, because it’s not just Diana who struggles with understanding why humans act the way they do. The humans question it, too, and they question what they should do about it. As humans, it’s all too easy to look for the “worthy” among and be willing to fight, and even die, for them. It’s much harder to sacrifice for the “unworthy” in our world—the poor, the sinners, the lepers of society, the people who hate us, the people who persecute us.
Jesus loved all those people and paid a great price to make it possible for them to be saved. He also said: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven.” (Matthew 5:9-12).
There aren’t many movies out there which can spark a good discussion about sin and grace, but Wonder Woman is one, and I hope you’ll go see it.
What is my mission as an author? It's a tough question, but I believe the goal dearest to my heart is to help Christians think about what they really believe and then to act as if they really believe it. It all begins with understanding what it means to be a Christian. Then we have to learn to live like a Christian.