Stuff Christian Culture Likes

Stuff Christian Culture Likes


#157 Lost

posted by Stephanie Drury

lostfinale2.JPGChristians love Lost like they love 24. They’re currently mourning the finale and discussing it with anyone who will sit still. They loved its arresting portrayal of journey and American folk eschatology but feel it lacked a solid worldview, to their chagrin. Christians love a solid worldview.

They object to the Universalist belief system they say is the overarching philosophy but its talk of the “next life” and the struggle for redemption made this series irresistible to Christians. Right now there is surely a book on how to find Jesus in “Lost” being rushed together by Zondervan or something.

flannery.jpg(Jacob the immortal protector reads Everything That Rises Must Converge. Oh so rife with allegory!)



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nobodyssister

posted May 24, 2010 at 4:11 pm


It’s not a book from Zondervan, but does this pukealicious little tchotchke count?
http://amzn.to/9mFUH6



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Bill (cycleguy)

posted May 24, 2010 at 4:14 pm


Stephy: I must be the only one on this planet who has never, no make that NEVER, has seen one episode of either LOST or 24. am I weird? Neither appealed to me and now I seem to be bombarded by post after post on LOST. I think I may be the only one who will be glad when the whole blasted thing is over. :)



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shelly

posted May 24, 2010 at 5:00 pm


I’ve never seen Lost either. Meh.



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Cindy McLennan, TelevisionWithoutPity.com

posted May 24, 2010 at 5:35 pm


Which Christians? Speaking only for myself, nothing could be further from the truth. I found the Lost finale immensely satisfying. I’ve published a recaplet of it and am working on my long recap now, so I am not going to spill all my beans here, but the characters and the mysticism of Lost are what kept me tuning in to the show and the finale fulfilled all its promises on those fronts (at least to this Christian).
Additionally, another of my Christian friends is actually disappointed that Lost lost some of its polytheism over the years, so I’m wondering how many Christian Lost fans are feeling what you claim they’re feeling. I’ve seen disappointment from Christians and non-Christians alike and I’ve seen satisfaction from Christians and non-Christians alike. Got any links?



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Al

posted May 24, 2010 at 7:34 pm


I’m with you, Bill. Never watched either, and never cared a bit. Sure, it will be nice when all the endless hoopla dies down, but then there will be some other incredibly important cultural icon to latch on to. So we will never escape.
Shelly, your ‘meh’ covers it all!



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Zachery Oliver

posted May 25, 2010 at 4:15 am


Lost’s ending was a piece of emotional schlock designed to appeal to the viewer’s emotional attachment to the characters.
Rather than, perhaps, explain some of the persistent questions that have arisen during the series (Walt, Dharma food drops, how the whole Island thing even works), they’ve basically admitted that had no idea what they were doing.
Sure, It’s satisfying purely from an emotional point of view, and if you believe the producers when they said the series is “all about the characters”, it would be fine, but the gimmicks and crazy stuff were the reason anybody watched in the first place.
On that note, it’s impossible to find any real message in Lost that actually means anything at all. It’s like the Matrix trilogy in that it intends to have deeper meaning but ends up at “pop philosophy”. Both series have characters that do incredibly inane and stupid things, and mythologies that have to be “figured out” rather than explained. Or, the creators are lazy. Take your pick.
As a Christian, I’m not disappointed that the ending didn’t conform to my world view, but that it was the obvious move to make – either they finish the character arcs, or answer questions, and the former is easier than the latter. They dug themselves so deep a hole that it was impossible to dig themselves out without missing something or other.



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Jeff

posted May 25, 2010 at 6:49 am


I like a lot of your stuff because you really nail it. However, I do think you are off with Lost. I find the more at work watch it than from church. I think 24 is more appropriate because of the political aspect of it. Anyway that ir my two cents. BTW one thing a I notice mainly about my christian couple friends on facebook that have their own accounts is they like to write on each others wall how much they love each other for the world to see.



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Steve

posted May 25, 2010 at 7:59 am


Add my name to the list of those who have never seen one episode of Lost or 24 and who don’t care.



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Rollo Tomassi

posted May 25, 2010 at 11:00 am


It’s so funny what gets the Christian-Kosher seal of approval these days.
Lost, 24 = Kosher. What a fantastic marketing tool that is.
Harry Potter = Bad, Lion, Witch and Wardrobe = Kosher.
Abercrombe & Fitch = “of the world”, Aeropostale & Ezekiel brand clothing = Kosher
Dungeons & Dragons = Satan’s recruiting game, Lord of the Rings = Kosher
I need to find the Evangelical Christian Rabbi equivalent before I launch my next new brand and consult him about what makes for a Christian-Kosher status.



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Em

posted May 25, 2010 at 3:20 pm


Rollo: good point. Though I can say, something super-violent is way more likely to be “Christian-Kosher” than something with even a 10-second sex scene in it. I’ve always found that…interesting, at the least. Especially since Biblically, sex is the natural gift from God and random violence is a big no-no. It’s more of an American attitude than anything else, but it still bothers me–boobs on TV is an outrage, but someone getting their head blown off is no big deal? Who decided that? Boobs are more dangerous than guns and violent images? I don’t know. It’s beyond me, I guess. But if I ever have kids, I’d rather them exposed to some nudity than crazy violence.
As for when witchcraft is okay and when it is not–I HAVE NO IDEA. Let me know if you find an expert who can answer this because I’ve never figured out why Harry Potter is evil but Gandalf is a-okay. Guess what, Christian culture? They’re both wizards!



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Zachery Oliver

posted May 25, 2010 at 4:17 pm


Gandalf was created by a Christian
Harry Potter was not.
Thus, Gandalf = OK, and Harry Potter = Evil.
How this could be seen as a justifiable belief goes over my head. And that’s pretty much the only justification for Christian culture’s indulgence into certain fantasy worlds and not others.



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Em

posted May 25, 2010 at 4:57 pm


What’s weird about that to me is Tolkien told people to not draw conclusions, and the LOTR was not supposed to be an allegory, just a fantasy story. I think he’d be irked by the current church interest in it. And Harry Potter actually does have some very Biblical themes in it–self-sacrifice for the sake of one’s friends, foregoing an easier life in order to fight evil in the world, etc. I mean, it’s a wealth of cheesy pop culture sermons (not that I encourage these). But they don’t know that because they’re all too terrified that if they read it, the Devil will get them.
Though now that the hype is died down you get random Christians like, secretly reading them without telling anyone. I know a few people who are doing this, it’s kind of cute.



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stephanie drury

posted May 25, 2010 at 5:55 pm


Gandalf was created by a Catholic, which Christian culture will often argue isn’t the same as being a Christian.
http://blog.beliefnet.com/stuffchristianculturelikes/2009/08/95-being-skeptical-that-catholics-are-saved.html
Has this been anyone else’s experience too?



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cd

posted May 25, 2010 at 8:05 pm


What’s weird about that to me is Tolkien told people to not draw conclusions, and the LOTR was not supposed to be an allegory, just a fantasy story. I think he’d be irked by the current church interest in it.
Oh, Tolkien would be rolling on the ground, laughing. Of course it’s an allegory- trust the tale, not the teller. (Which is not a thing that comes easily to the conservative Christians who currently so champion LOTR, obviously.)
And it’s an allegory that isn’t Christian, either. (Which tells you just how well theologically educated the conservative Christian Tolkien fandom really is.) It’s a cryptic allegory of the journey of the soul, the journey of the mystic- the great and universal religious story. Which is why Tolkien has built in lots of cryptic motifs and elements of pre- and non-Christian mystic lore itself allegorical. Some bits of LOTR are rather hilarious once you ‘get’ a substantial number of the symbolisms and metaphors. Like the very male forces of Orthanc trying to get into the Glittering Caves of Aglarond, which is weakly protected by the Hornburg. Gandalf obviously represents one form of the God of Theism- who is by no means omnipotent or capable of helping in all situations. Where the tale departs from conventional Christian theology (or rather, the hobbits pass where conventional Christian theology ends) is hard to pin down precisely, but it’s somewhere between Tom Bombadil’s House and Rivendell.



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Em

posted May 26, 2010 at 1:11 am


Stephy, I recently married a Catholic, so I know exactly what you mean :) I’m as backslid as they come. I believe one “friend”‘s exact words when she found out I was dating a Catholic was “Is he even a CHRISTIAN?”
Mind, this happened loudly. Inside the church. With everyone milling about. It was awesome.



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Sue

posted May 26, 2010 at 5:03 am


@Zachery Oliver, what makes this justification even dafter is that both Gandalf and Harry Potter were created by Christians. Jo Rowling belongs to the Church of Scotland.



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Rollo Tomassi

posted May 26, 2010 at 8:31 am


The LotR reference was just one of many regrading Christian-Kosher status. In my line of work we recently achieved real Jewish Kosher status for our consumable product. All this amounted to was applying for it to the right authorities (a certified Rabbinic), paying the fee and 2 months later we can use the Kosher logo on our product. Now orthodox Jews can imbibe our product with confidence.
Evangelical Christian Culture has been doing exactly this more or less unregulated for the past 2 decades, and it cross a broad spectrum of media. Clothing, music, movies, TV, news sources, literature, even schools and universities, all have some form of Christian-Kosher facet. It’s a closed marketer’s dream come true. Take an “of the world” popular brand or cultural phenomenon, repackage it with a jesus fish (the logo of Christian-Kosherness) and sell it back to the Evangelical market that would otherwise reject it.



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Sarah

posted May 26, 2010 at 12:47 pm


I believe that it was Tolkien’s Catholicism that allowed him to write so non-allegorically (cd, I totally see what you’re saying and I’m definitely with you about the otherness of the construct of LOTR, but I don’t think the motif of the journey of the soul makes the tale an allegory. The myth-types in LOTR don’t correspond exactly to one specific signified). Protestant writers seem to be more hampered in their creativity by a sense of obligation to allegory, as if a complex symbology (a/k/a mystery) somehow denies truth – as if truth were simplistic and reducible. Lewis transcended this better than most, particularly in Till We Have Faces; but the self-contained cosmos of Tolkien’s Middle-earth far outstrips that of Lewis’ Narnia (although each writer had his own aims, and each, I believe, accomplished what he intended).
Stephy, it has been my experience that when I tell members of Christian culture that Tolkien was Catholic, they are first struck speechless, and then have to swallow an instinctive denial (picture Luke Skywalker in The Empire Strikes Back upon learning that Vader is his father). Catholicism is so frowned upon by Christian culture that in order to like LOTR they have to remain ignorant of the author’s faith and the creative intentions inspired by that faith. It’s kind of funny because they then tend to grudgingly accept Tolkien as a Christian simply because they love the story so much.
As for Harry Potter, the objections I have mainly heard center around the author’s apparent lack of faith (although they can’t cite this), the use of actual spells in the books by everyone at Hogwarts (instead of, I guess, the sort of wordless natural magic of Narnia and Middle-Earth, which is only wielded by good people of divinely appointed power or by evil people, and wherein good and bad magic are clearly identifiable), and the obvious interactions between the “real” world and the story world of Hogwarts. Apparently Narnia and Middle-earth are far enough removed from our world that the use of magic is okay; I’ve heard them adopt Lewis’ explanation that magic is part of the natural order of Narnia and is not part of the natural order of our world, so it’s good there and bad here, and Harry Potter, well, Harry Potter’s world is intimately connected to our world, so it’s “here,” and therefore bad. (They love themselves some polarization.)
Christians also seem to resent some implication that being just plain human is “bad” in Harry Potter terms – “Muggle,” “mudblood,” etc. (Of course, Rowling makes clear that “Muggle” is only a vocabulary term to the good-hearted witches and wizards, and the anti-Muggle people are usually working for Voldemort; but most Christians I know who rail against the books have never read them, or at least have never read past the first or second book, and wouldn’t be able to identify the ways – not-so-subtle, I grant you – in which Rowling deals with the struggle between prejudice and equality.) There seems to be this fundamental belief that being human is the best a creature can possibly be – according to popular Christian doctrine, we’re even better than angels – so anything that is superhuman is an affront to the pinnacle of God’s creation. (This is a reason for them to dislike Avatar, as well, although superheroes seem to be okay. Maybe because they’re “comic book” characters and totally involved in our culture?) And in this glowing offendedness about the “fundamentals” they sally forth boldly to miss the point.
Umm, sorry, I know none of this has anything to do with LOST; but when Lewis, Tolkien and Rowling are all brought up at once I just can’t help myself.



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Still Breathing

posted May 27, 2010 at 6:26 am


Em, My Grandmother, who attended an evangelical church in Chile, used to talk about ‘Christians and Catholics’ – I was in my teens before I discovered that Roman Catholics ARE Christians.



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AdmNaismith

posted May 27, 2010 at 11:13 am


I found the Lost Finale to be fairly satisfying as I watched it, and more satisfying the more I thought about it.
The Sideways universe is a Bhuddist concept. From the Gawker blog Jezebel:
‘a component of Tibetan Buddhism, bardos are the different phases the deceased experience between dying and rebirth. It’s a dream-like reality, created by the “awareness” (or a soul) that is freed from the body upon death. Because of the disconnect of the awareness from the physical body, the deceased doesn’t immediately realize that he or she is dead. In the different bardo phases, the “awareness” needs guidance—from different deities, or, you know, guides (hello, Desmond)—to attain enlightenment, i.e., realize that they’re dead. A karmic mirror (remember all those mirrors?) is held up to the deceased so that s/he can reflect and eventually recognize. Once this happens—and it can happen in any of the bardo phases, depending on how much emotional baggage a person has packed for the afterlife—the deceased achieves Nirvana, and can “move on.” Depending on your belief system, this can be heaven, reincarnation, or some kind of simulated reality, like Eloise Hawking for herself and her son. The final scenes in last night’s episode showed Jack’s first and final bardo phases, occurring simultaneously. (Because time is no longer relative.)’
http://jezebel.com/5546559/lost-finale-recap-case-closed
The ultimate ending could be interpreted as christian, but not necessarily (but that has never stopped christians from appropriating something that was never theirs as something that was always theirs).



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zack

posted May 27, 2010 at 12:09 pm


Not sure this claim is accurate. Some Christian culture phenoms you purport are just American phenoms. Yeah lots of Christians are American so lots of Christians are LOST fans. But really does the ‘culture’ push it? Not gonna buy it til I see that book.



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Steve

posted May 27, 2010 at 1:40 pm


Tolkien worked on the Jerusalem Bible, an English translation/version of a French Catholic Bible. His name is on the list of consultants towards the beginning of the book. I remember being pleasantly surprised when I saw that some thirty years ago.



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Leigh Anne

posted May 28, 2010 at 1:35 pm


Guess what? That book already exists. Harvest House beat Zondervan to it.
“What Can Be Found in LOST: Insights On God and the Meaning of Life from the Popular TV Series.”
It was published in 2007 and given to me by a friend from church, because she knew I was such a rabid fan of the show. (Even Jesus watched Lost. Come on!)
But the best part? It was co-authored by none other than John Ankerberg.



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Trev

posted May 30, 2010 at 10:13 pm


This post somehow makes me all the proud to have not seen one episode.



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Still Breathing

posted June 1, 2010 at 6:16 am


Trev, Ditto.



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goperryrevs

posted June 2, 2010 at 4:49 am


@ Steve, Trev and Still Breathing
You’re really that proud that you’ve never seen an episode of a TV series? Really!?!? That’s something to be proud of?
Gosh, I’ve never seen an episode of CSI, The West Wing, Flashforward, Sex in the City, Ally McBeal, The Sopranos… the list goes on. I demand my medal for not having seen those shows!
For what it’s worth, Lost has been the best thing I’ve seen on TV since Twin Peaks, and it’s your loss that you’ve never seen it. Still, each to their own…



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stephanie drury

posted June 2, 2010 at 10:37 am


Goperryrevs is very passionate about Lost, y’all.



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goperryrevs

posted June 7, 2010 at 8:36 am


Not very passionate, just bemused about people being passionate about not being passionate about something!



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Steener

posted December 2, 2010 at 4:30 pm


I’m still stuck on a question I asked on episode 1. Why is the herion addict dude great for kicking dope, when he HAD to do it. He obiously didn’t have an endless supply, he couldn’t make it, and its not like he could bop on down to the dope house and get some with whatever they used as money on the island. Wooo Hoo!!! Someone who had NO ACCESS to drugs quit. Big effin deal. When you quit like I or many of my friends have. You’ll have my utmost respect.



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