A funny thing happened in the past couple of weeks. My favorite fictional universe and the stories told within became a political statement. Some of the language and imagery found in Star Wars has been adopted in political protests. The women’s marches contained a lot of signs that proudly portrayed images of Princess Leia. Scientists have been going rogue on twitter. They fly their geek cred high, as many rogue twitter accounts have incorporated the symbol of the rebel alliance and resistance into their twitter logo. Finally there are calls to resist or join the resistance, which every time I see it triggers the “March of the Resistance” from the Force Awakens soundtrack to play in my head. I am not the only one to sense these connections, because again Star wars is visible all over the protester imagery.
This really should not be that surprising. After all the good guys in Star Wars are rebels. They are protesters and political dissidents. The rebel alliance and resistance are the little guys taking a stand for what is right in the face of powerful evil. It is a powerful pop-cultural symbol and it is one that co-opts well. Of all the areas of geekery, Star Wars is the one that I am to drawn to the most, and it is one one that I have written about the most. I resonate with the theme of rebellion and resistance. Jesus rebelled against the religious leaders of his day. Paul wrote about the Christian’s struggle against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world. Christianity started as a counter-cultural movement that stood in defiance against the empire, and historically the faith is at it’s strongest when it is a counter-cultural force of good.
I think the idea of being a resistance is a Christian one. It is up to the individual freedom of the believer if they think current social and political developments deserve protesting, but there are certain ways of thinking and cultural patterns that I believe all disciples should resist. Christians should resist certain ideas prevalent today. Ideas like bigger is better, winning is everything, and might makes right. We are presented with the perverse idea that success is measured only by money. Not only success, but there is a cultural push to measure how much intrinsic value a person has a human being by how much stuff they have. There is a repugnant cultural undercurrent that attempts to define wealthy as inherently good and poor as morally deficient. The general attitude today is that winning is the only thing worth pursuing. Winning is defined by having more: more money, more likes, more followers, bigger crowds, bigger buildings, the list goes on and on.
Just winning is not enough anymore, you have to win bigly. A cultural win is one that leaves your opponent humiliated, roasted, shut down, or furious. It is not enough to win, The opposition has to be stripped of their humanity and their sacred worth. We see this played out in a variety of ways, One such way is how the powerful apologize. When is the last time you have seen a person in a position of power truly apologize for their wrong doing? The non-apology apology is all we hear because to truly apologize would be to admit wrong doing, imperfection, and a need for forgiveness and grace. That kind of humble admission is seen as a weakness, and you cannot be winning if you are weak.
That is the way of the world, but that is not the ways of Christ. Jesus said the first shall be last and the last shall be first. Jesus said that whoever wants to be great must be least. Jesus said the son of man did not come to be served but to be serve. In seeking to follow Jesus of Nazareth we should rebel against the sinful cultural attitudes and we should resist them. When we live in a culture that proclaims bigger is better and winning is everything, ours should be the prophetic voice that states putting others first is better and sacrificial loving is everything. The message of the church in the world should be a counter-cultural voice crying from the wilderness. Instead of vilifying those we disagree with, we should embrace them with love. Instead of closing our doors to people who are different than us, we should invite them in with radical hospitality. Instead of seeking power and wealth, we should seek first his kingdom and righteousness. Instead of refusing to apologize, we should be able to humbly say I am a great sinner, but thanks be to God that Christ is a great savior. Instead of putting all of our energy in self-promotion and building up a personal brand, we should boast in the Lord that saved a wretch like me.
It is very popular in church circles to bemoan the fall of morality and decency in society today. Instead of complaining and vilifying the least of these, it should be the holy calling of Christians to rebel. It should be our mission to resist the pull and sinful patterns of a fallen world. The way of the world is one built on selfishness, fear, and hate. The way of Christ is to go rogue by living authentic truth and loving radically. The way that individual believers rebel will be different. Some seek to lead by example and radically love others. Others seek to be prophetic voices that call out evil actions and demand accountability from those who pledged to serve the public interest. Then others live a quiet life above reproach so that their very presence is an example of what it means to live like no one else.
In whatever way you feel most led, may you rebel against the dark powers of the world. May you resist evil, oppression, and injustice in whatever forms they present themselves. May you go rogue by loving justice, seeking mercy, and walking humbly with God. In doing so, may you be the kind of disciple that transforms the world.