The Gospel According to Star Wars

musicmonkey
Founder
Posts: 2517
Joined: Sun Jan 30, 2005 1:12 am
Favourite TV Show: The Leftovers
Quote: Nevermind, it's pointless
Location: Vancouver, BC
Contact:

The Gospel According to Star Wars

Unread postby musicmonkey » Fri May 20, 2005 12:13 am

Films such as "Star Wars: Return of the Jedi" are becoming a more popular part of discussion on religion's relationship with culture.

"Star Wars" is hardly alone as a film looked to for spiritual enlightenment...," says Bill Blizek, founding editor of the Journal of Religion and Film. "And movies are filled with religion -- sometimes it is done well, and sometimes it is not done well." For Perkins, the overall arc of the six-movie "Star Wars" series is inherently Christian. "The whole story is the redemption of Darth Vader. He falls to temptation and is redeemed by the son in Episode VI," Perkins says.

'Star Wars' has strong presence in religion
Series inspires reflection as the story lines are compared to those in the Bible, some say.
By Karen Vance / Cincinnati Enquirer

"Star Wars" was the first movie Russell Smith ever saw in a theater.

Twenty-eight years later, as a Presbyterian pastor, Smith was an easy sell when asked whether his Cincinnati church would host a Bible study entitled "Gospel According to Star Wars."

"This is our language. We grew up with this," says Smith, 33, pastor at Covenant-First Presbyterian Church for four years. "With this study, we're saying there are hints of truth, beauty and goodness in the story that can bring us back to the biblical story."

It doesn't hurt that the May 19 opening of the final installment of the "Star Wars" series coincides with the 12-week study, which focuses on the original trilogy, Episodes IV (1977), V (1980) and VI (1983).

"It's a story we all know, and a vast majority of people who know it love it," says Jeffrey Perkins, 34, author of the Bible study and a member of the church since 1999.

"Star Wars" is hardly alone as a film looked to for spiritual enlightenment.

"We are now movie watchers as never before," says Bill Blizek, founding editor of the Journal of Religion and Film. "And movies are filled with religion -- sometimes it is done well, and sometimes it is not done well."

The most written-about mainstream film in terms of hidden religious meaning in recent years, he says, is "The Matrix." But people connecting faith to film have also found such films as "Mystic River," "Twelve Monkeys," "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" and "Fargo," among others, can be discussed in terms of a religious message.

For Perkins, the overall arc of the six-movie "Star Wars" series is inherently Christian.

"The whole story is the redemption of Darth Vader. He falls to temptation and is redeemed by the son in Episode VI," Perkins says.

A recent study was a discussion of Luke Skywalker and Han Solo's decision to try to rescue Princess Leia from the detention area of the Death Star in Episode IV and how that relates to the obstacles Christians face and are willing to overcome to follow Jesus and put values into action.

The study has evolved into some heavy thinking, says Andy Adams, 27, who teaches the course.

In the first session, for example, class members discussed the urgency and need to share their faith with others. The class discussed how every action R2-D2 takes in the first 30 minutes is motivated by his need to share his message from Princess Leia to Obi-Wan Kenobi, including going into the desert on his own.

Adams likens that to Matthew 28:19: "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost."

"This is a Bible study that's simply using 'Star Wars' as a vehicle," Adams says.

That's not a new way to teach Christianity, says John Brolley, director of the legacy program in religious studies at the University of Cincinnati.

"It's the modern-day version of something that is described over and over in the (New Testament's) Acts of Apostles as what (St.) Paul did. He provided a blueprint for evangelization," Brolley says.

"(Paul) accessed the concepts and the images from the dominant culture to teach the Gospel. If 'Star Wars' was in those days, (St.) Paul would have invoked C-3PO and R2-D2."

Brolley says Paul would visit communities in the ancient world, and begin by talking about themes they were comfortable with. Then he would segue into talking about Christ.

"Popular culture is something that many religions, Christianity in particular, either sets itself up against or tries to incorporate," Brolley says. "Churches try to make the principles of religion that may be too abstract or too dull to the average person more accessible."

Incorporating pop culture as a way to teach a faith is a skill urban churches have become especially good at because they often deal with people exposed to the arts and culture, he says.

"The Gospel According to Star Wars" isn't the first connection Covenant-First has made between the secular and the sacred. In the past, the church has done "The Gospel According to Shakespeare" and "The Gospel According to the Simpsons" Bible study sessions.

Return to “Star Wars”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest