What Grieving People Wish You Knew by Nancy Guthrie, Free for CAPC Members
Nancy Guthrie’s overwhelming message in What Grieving People Wish You Knew is to enter into the awkwardness and difficulty of loving grieving people.
It’s time for everyone to posit their theories. What exactly was the LOST series finale trying to accomplish, other than wraping up the series, and giving us lots of “feel-good” moments? If I am honest, I am not totally sure anyone can know in full. There are lots of theories, some good and some ridiculous. I am not necessarily going to propose another theory, as I am sure mine is far more deficient than others. Yet I would like to look at how two themes in the series – those of community and redemption – can and should captivate Christians.
Arguably these have been the two most prominent themes in the whole series. From the very first season “live together or die alone” became the mantra of the castaways. Redemption is a clear theme in nearly every storyline and with every character. Some of the characters never find redemption, and some don’t find it until the very end, but the theme is there. The finale cemented these two themes together when, at the end, all the castaways are brought back together after death as they prepare to “move on.” In my own view it seems that the series creators are trying to highlight the significant role of community in the process of redemption.
This theme is not isolated to LOST, of course, as it finds its roots in much theology too. Some of the theologies that support this view tend towards a more theologically liberal position. It has renewed vigor among the writings of Emergents, and The New Perspectives On Paul camp (theologian N.T. Wright deals intimately with this theme as well). At one level I love the idea, and yet as a Christian I am not comfortable with it. My redemption does not come from my identification with a community, but with a man named Jesus. That identification with Jesus does place me in a community, but there is a fine line here, and the distinction must be maintained.
That being said there is a related area of consideration: communities of redemption as places of diversity and forgiveness. One of the amazing characteristics of the castaway community on LOST is its ability to so easily forgive, show grace, and embrace diversity. The very make up of the cast represents wide-spread ethnic diversity (probably the most ethnically diverse cast on television to date). The people often give grace quickly and offer redemption to all people, no matter their background or their actions. This is a theme that the Christian church can surely embrace and appreciate.
While the church has often been characterized by unbiblical judgment and legalism, we ought to be identified as people of grace and love. Too often Christians can forget that they were one time like those outside the community of the redeemed and what they needed more than anything was for someone to offer them hope, redemption and community. In this vein, then, I think it might help Christians to watch the LOST finale once again. Though the church does not say join our community to be redeemed, we are a community who opens our doors to anyone who seeks redemption in Jesus Christ, no matter how LOST they are.
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