As I saw it, it was a rite of passage. And it was time for my sons to take it. But about halfway in, I started to regret my decision.
The movie was E.T., the Steven Spielberg mega-hit from the early 80s. I saw it as a kid and loved it. But I hadn’t seen it since then. As I watched the movie with my two young sons I began to worry if the storyline was too intense. Maybe they weren’t ready for a movie about an alien that goes trick or treating and drinks beer. So I took the movie out and we watched Apocalypse Now instead. I haven’t seen or heard from my kids since.
Actually, we stuck with E.T. and they really seemed to like it. They loved the end where Elliot’s bike starts to fly, allowing him to elude the police and return E.T. safely to his spaceship which took him home. But we almost didn’t make it that far.
Halfway through the movie, E.T. starts to get sick. He turns pale and eventually dies. Elliot, because he seems to have some sort of weird cosmic connection with the alien, begins to suffer the same fate.
And then the DVD started to skip. Badly.
How would I explain this one.
“Okay boys. The end. The moral of the story is to never get an alien because they’ll eventually die and you will too. Now time for bed.”
I worried about the psychological state of my kids if they grew up without knowing that E.T. recovered and made it back home. This couldn’t be happening. I contemplated calling Ken Nugent to discuss a lawsuit against Netflix. But thankfully, the skipping stopped and my kids got the whole story.
No matter what your political affiliation, it’s hard to deny that our country has been through a rough stretch lately.
At best, Benghazi was a terrorist attack. Most likely it was a cover-up.
At best, a few low-ranking government officials went off the rails to tap reporter’s phones, and unfairly profile organizations seeking tax-exempt status. Most likely, these are examples of an administration drunk on hubris and power.
At best, a lone con-man working for a government funded agency killed several babies who survived botched abortions. In reality, Kermit Gosnell is not alone.
On their own, any one of these stories is enough to bring a nation to its knees. A dose this heavy seems unbearable.
But Christians have to remember the rest of the story.
In response to scandals like these, some Christians tend to get too spiritual for their own good.
“Oh, so you’re upset about the government listening in on your phone conversations, huh? Well, did you know that they don’t even have phones in certain parts of African and Asia, you fat, rich, American, phony, Christian?”
And still others act as though each new scandal is one step closer to hell on earth. As if God is popping his knuckles and biting his nails, worrying about what to do next.
Remembering that there is more to the story will protect us from both of these mistakes. Yes, things are bad. And yes, it all seems to be getting worse by the day. But for Christians, something better awaits.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls. 1 Peter 1:3-9 (ESV)
Corrupt rulers can and are trampling our constitutional rights. The freedom to own a gun, worship as we choose and speak or write what we believe are all slowly being taken away. The Bible gives no guarantees that these things are permanent. But it does guarantee that Jesus Christ, through his death and resurrection, has secured an inheritance for his people. An inheritance that no man or government can touch.
Freedoms can be taken away. Our identity in Christ cannot.
Things don’t look so good for us right now.
But there is more to the story.
There is a better home awaiting.