Last night, on a whim, Jani and I went to a late-night showing of the new Batman film. Some of my favorite people in all the world liked it. But I left vowing not to go back to the movies for the foreseeable future.
First off, for twenty-five minutes we were subjected to the previews of coming attractions, one subwoofer punch in the stomach after another, sitting there like the Maxell logo guy being blasted with stupid sex and stupid jokes, thinking "This is not some bizarre medical experiment for which they're paying me. I paid them. Wait a minute."
(By the way, when sex comes on the screen, which I absolutely do not need in my mind, I just close my eyes. When it's over, Jani nudges me and I open my eyes again. It works.)
Then the movie itself. Visually stimulating. Technologically impressive. Hollywood has fast-forwarded a gazillion years since my favorite films by Steve McQueen and John Wayne. But peel off the layers of glittering presentation, and what's actually there? A ripping good yarn. I grant that. But not much else. In fact, it comes down to a lie of human idealization being passed off on the public because they're supposed to be better off thinking the lie. That violates everything I believe. I learned nothing. I was not enriched in any way.
Immanuel Church cannot compete with Hollywood in terms of raw momentary impact. No church can. But that's one of the great things about church. It can be real. It can be entry-level discovery, for anyone, of the Lovely One who will amaze us forever.
I'm weary with the world's disappointing stimulants. I want more of Christ.