more darkness

I went to see Sherlock Holmes (the movie, not the person). Yet another dark movie. Not only is so much of it filmed at night, or in the shadows, or with the lights out - but creative energy is poured far more into portraying evil than good.

There has been a string of movies like this. It is a feature of Peter Jackson's work, for example. While I am no Tolkien expert, did Jackson approximate Tolkien in the balance of the creativity given to both good and evil? I doubt it. Harry Potter seems similar to me. As do the Batman movies - and the Pirates of the Caribbean ones. And if I thought about it a bit more, I reckon I could come up with heaps of examples.

In movies 'evil' seems to receive far more care from the director than 'good' - and these become the compelling and memorable scenes for people.

From movies, my attention is directed (by my son Joseph) to music - Christian music no less. Look at these lyrics from Switchfoot's recent song, Mess of Me:

I am my own affliction
I am my own disease
There ain't no drug that they could sell
No, there ain't no drug to make me well

There ain't no drug
There ain't no drug
It's not enough
The sickness is myself

I've made a mess of me I wanna get back the rest of me
I've made a mess of me I wanna spend the rest of my life alive
I've made a mess of me I wanna reverse this tragedy


[It takes me back to DC Talk in the 90s: "the disease of self runs through my blood; it 's a cancer fatal to my soul; every attempt on my behalf has failed to bring this sickness under control; Tell me, what's going on inside of me? I despise my own behaviour; This only serves to confirm my suspicions that I am still a man in need of a saviour."]

More WOW!

And here is my concern. Yet again, it is for our young people. They soak themselves in dark movies. They resonate with lyrics from DCTalk and Switchfoot. They know evil and sinfulness are real. They see it. They experience it. They know they are 'in need of a saviour.' They 'wanna reverse this tragedy'. But time and time again they will have pastors and leaders who won't talk about sinfulness and evil for fear of damaging their self-esteem. Instead they'll hear tripe about different doorways into the gospel - and rarely has it got much to do with sinfulness. So bogus conversions proliferate and with them shallow disciples. Then when 'back-sliding' occurs (as it will, inevitably) it isn't named for what it so often is - the natural consequence of a spurious conversion. Our understanding of the gospel is so often deeply flawed.

At a time when movies and music so resonate with evil and sinfulness let's not be caught opting out of giving people an accurate self-understanding of who they are in God's sight. Dignity and Depravity. The best work of a brilliant Creator receiving the enduring love of the model Father. Made fully alive in Christ and empowered to live that life in the Spirit. Knowing who they are only when they know whose they are - vertically (with God) and horizontally (with others).

nice chatting



Paul Long said…
I find myself in a related dilemma. I have long been NO longer personally surprised when I see or hear about evil (at least most of it).

It is in one way good (I think) as many are not afraid that I can't understand and am out of touch with "reality". It is helpful pastorally and even in evangelism.

But it frightens me that sometimes I am unmoved by evil because it is so prevalent and often highlighted (overdose) that it is almost as if I have come to accept it as part of normal life.

I suppose in a way evil is part of normal life BUT then again, it should not be!
Paul said…
To prove your point, Paul, I have just put down the NZ Herald having read that "the war in the Congo is the worst since Adolf Hitler marched across Europe: it has killed more than five million people and counting ... the violence has been turned primarily on the country's women: one favourite tactic is to gang-rape a woman and then shoot her in the vagina." This has probably happened numerous times already in 2010 - and I am writing on the 2nd of January!

Hitler was one of history's enduring monsters - as evil as it comes. But evil did not stop with him. It continues on ...

... I have a son giving himself as a volunteer to helping with the consequences of the war in Congo.
Paul said…

For switchfoot's 'Mess of Me'
damianv said…
A friend sent me a link to this switchfoot video (, and it reminded me of this old post of yours. (by the way, it would be really good if you could add a search box to your site somehow!)

I think young people today are generally more aware of the evil in the world and in themselves than I was when I was young, and therefore more hungry for an alternative. The song above ends with a longing to "thrive, not just survive", which could lead on to all sorts of life-changing discussions.

I think personally I have been too focused on what I've been saved from than what I've been saved to. Easier to see myself as a reforming sinner than a blameless child of God wearing Christ's righteousness and walking in light.

I'm still queasy after reading your Jan 2 comment, P-dub...

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