After spending a weekend in an environment soaked in creativity and artistic freedom, I began to realize that our lives are stories. Whether we communicate our trails and errors through tales about storm troopers and rebels or through detailed drawings meant to invoke our feelings in color—as humans we all community through a language (visual and written) telling and interpreting our lives.
Christianity has aspects of this too…in fact all religions has a story-telling element. Leaving aside any disputes in language/translation/doctrine, in Jewish tradition there is something called midrash. It is a story-telling aspect of faith where the author can take biblical characters and expand on the stories in the Bible based on research and doctrine to provide any insight to practice. In the Christian faith, we have parables where Jesus communicated a certain concept. And the bible says we could not understand because we could not see, could not hear. Interesting, right?
And yet when we try to communicate things through comics, people freak out. Or through movies—people turn against the very creative outlet for thousands because they actually think they in and of themselves are evil. Stories are not wrong. And using stories to express something you may not know is wrong or right is not a bad thing. How else are we to know? If God provided us a story, then why do we avoid using stories? We should be encouraged about our stories, not downplayed. And what I think makes it better is that as humans, we are part of God’s story and meant to be graphed into His story through eternity through Jesus. Does that mean we stop telling our story? Far from it! It means we keep telling, acting and creating in harmony our stories while seeking and living the God-story we are called into.
So—how do comics and movies fit into all of this? They are expressions of this story. And it is wrong? No, you can’t tell someone not to express something. What do we do instead? Personally, I would look at the God-story we have (The Bible) and see where it lines up with these story expressions. For example, let’s take Hunger Games. Big movie, huge book series about a fantasy, utopian government gone haywire when one person stands out & up to survive. Sound familiar? The Capital = Rome? The Districts=people groups as defined by their work, and Katnis?—maybe us, maybe a significant leader (I’m not sure I would place her with Jesus as she makes mistakes) but as a character she addresses many human struggles, pain and suffering intermixed with love for family and love for others through a struggle to survive. And you tell me we can’t watch but it does say “God is good” somewhere in the movie? You’re crazy. If God is God, creator, than a it will be there….