Thursday, December 31, 2009

"I see you"

Stephen and I saw the new James Cameron movie, Avatar, this morning. The key sentence, repeated three times, is "I see you." And that makes all the difference.

When the Pharisees have a problem with a certain prostitute washing his feet, Jesus asks, "Have you seen this woman?"

When 4 men bring a cripple and make a hole in Jesus's roof to let him down when they can't get in the door, Jesus doesn't see the hole he'll have to fix. He sees their faith, indeed he saw the 4 men carrying the ark of the covenant.

When we sell ourselves to do evil, it's essential for us not to see. When it comes to our blindness, Jesus's question hangs in the air - "Do you want to be healed?"

When we see the dead babies, the birth defects from the US military's depleted uranium, the piles of rubble that used to be the homes of people like us, and the tortured and the starving wherever the imperial forces go, "Support our troops!" is no longer so easily shouted. To be a good friend of the world, to fit in, and to still sleep at night, it's essential not to see. In the language of The Matrix, we have to take the blue pill so we can live in pleasant illusion and not see how it is. When we take the red pill, the world doesn't look so pretty, but the red pill is the pill of life that God offers. I'm rather sure that that is why Adam and Eve didn't eat from the tree of life in the middle of the garden when they had the chance.

When we don't want to see, the prince of this world owns that piece of us. At that point we are his faithful disciples. We'll prove that by stealing, killing, destroying, and lying - or at least giving approval to those who do.

Another thing in Avatar - the heroes are traitors, depending on who's looking.

Was Dietrich Bonhoeffer a traitor or a hero? When the AVH, the Hungarian secret police, began firing on the crowd in front of the Parliament building on October 25, 1956, was the Soviet tank man who decided to clean the AVH snipers off the roof with his machine gun a traitor or a hero? Were the men of the St. Patrick's Brigade who deserted the American invaders to fight for Mexico in 1846 traitors or heroes? Was Elijah really the troubler of Israel that Ahab thought he was?


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