Being There by Dave Furman, Free for CaPC Members
Dave Furman’s Being There is intended to help us navigate life with those who are suffering.
With the final season of Lost just around the corner, a lot of the writers at Christ and Pop Culture have finally found a television show they can agree on. From it’s beginning, it’s dealt head on with issues of morality, spirituality and faith. Most importantly, it’s a show that is thoughtfully and artfully produced, presenting us with a unique plot and real, empathetic characters. Naturally, it’s a perfect show for CaPC writers to discuss in our Water Cooler series.
For the next two Tuesdays, we’ll discuss the show so far, and what we might expect in the coming weeks and months. Once the show starts, you can expect regular updates, in which we discuss each episode and its implications.
Warning! There are spoilers down there!
I don’t know about you, but I haven’t been moved by a television show more than I was moved during the season finale of Lost. Ben’s struggle, which we see hints of throughout the season, is pretty clearly a struggle with faith, but not the kind we often pay lip-service to. In fact, I’d say it’s a far more common struggle. Rather than doubting Jacob’s existence, he doubts that it’s in his best interest to follow him. He shows an unwavering faith for an incredibly long time until he finally can’t take it anymore, and he is understandably outraged. The writing here is brilliant: Ben doesn’t go on an overwrought angry tirade. Instead, he mournfully explains his feelings of rejection, frustration, and confusion at Jacob’s ways. It’s clear he doesn’t ask for much, but he is asking for something: simple acknowledgment. For me, the heartbreaking moment? When Ben asks, “What about me?”, Jacob replied with a neutral expression: “What about you?” The look on Ben’s face is shock. Who expects that, when given the chance to ask God that one question we’ve always wondered, he would respond with something like: “Who are you, oh man?”
One thing can’t be denied: Ben’s struggle is a common one and one that we’ve got to acknowledge if we’re going to have an honest conversation about faith.
Lost is certainly trying to do just that. A theme of the show from the beginning has been the seeming contest between faith (John Locke) and reason (Jack Shepard). My question is this: where do you think they’re going from here? Should we brace ourselves for the most powerful and convincing case against God ever produced in a television show, or are they presenting this conflict only to resolve it?
Anything else you guys are looking forward to finding out next season?
I would also ask this question: does it seems like Jack has become a man of faith in this most recent season?
The Faith vs. Reason theme that has been central to the show from the beginning has always interested me, and I’m excited to see what Season 6 brings. One of the problems I’ve had with this theme, however, has been that Faith has typically been portrayed as a leap-of-faith. People in the show tend to have “faith” in things or people or the island when they just believe in something, despite reason. This either Faith or Reason dichotomy which seems to often define the theme in the show is precisely the kind of Faith that we want to distance ourselves from as Christians. We should be rejecting the mystical vs scientific, emotional vs rational, ancient vs modern divisions that dominate contemporary discourse on Faith. That all said, there are many interesting ways in which the show’s writers have problematized these divisions. Locke’s gut-feeling faith has occasionally helped him out, and occasionally lead to disaster. Meanwhile, Jack’s reason has often been little more than gut-feelings disguised as the “logical thing to do.” I’m quite curious to see how this theme plays out this season. Will we get any sort of closure to the theme?
Probably the biggest question I have going into Season 6 is who Christian is, I mean, other than Jack’s dad, and why is he named Christian? There are many strange connections between Christian and Christ, as any good Lost site will tell you (the most obvious is that he appears to have risen from the dead in some sense). If he is supposed to represent Christ, or Christians, I’m anxious to see what the producers intend to do with him.
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