Wednesday, January 11, 2023

Father Stu, Sandman (Season 1, Episode 6), Stranger Things (S4, E4), and the Gospel

Father Stu is definitely a film to see, at least for believers. A compelling story in three acts, with solid acting of quirky characters by Mark Wahlberg, Mel Gibson, and Jacki Weaver. Provocative on redemption, forgiveness, concerns about reputation vs. character, and the role of suffering in our walk with Christ. Wow.

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I tried The Sandman, but it was somewhere between creepy and too-far-off-for-me-to-watch. (I forget exactly why it bugged me.) But I read a review that said Episode 6 was golden-- that it "ranks among the single most profound episodes of television produced in the streaming era". So, I gave that a shot-- and it was deeply moving (in the first half) and provocative (in the second half).

Bottom line: I agree with the reviewer and strongly recommend it. (You don't need to know the series to follow along. But in case it helps: Morpheus' sister is, quite obviously, Death. And then there's a cameo by Desire at the end.)

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Finally working through Season 4 of Stranger Things. It's been good so far, but not nearly as good as I remember Seasons 1-3. Not sure if it's diminishing marginal returns or it's just not as good. BUT... Episode 4's focus on Max is golden. Staggering on what unrepentant sin does to us and how it distances us from others-- and the power of honesty/candor, repentance, and community.

The lyrics of ST's theme song used in the climactic scene point to Christ: "If I only could, I'd make a deal with God. And I'd get him to swap our places." He has offered to swap places with us! With recognition of sin and repentance, the offer of grace is there to take. If you're not already in the goodness of God's Kingdom, accept the swap of grace today and join robust biblical community (Acts 2:37-47). If you're in the Kingdom and fooling around with Vecna or wasting your time on distractions, join me in a fervent pursuit of discipleship with Jesus, understanding and living out God's word, through the Spirit. 

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