Tonight, my Dad and I went to finally see Ghost Rider. I’ve had an interest in the superhero aspect of our culture and how we live in a society that wants heroes to stand up for the good and defeat the evil. I don’t know much about a lot of the comic book characters, but it’s something interesting to learn and good father/son time together.
So what’s the plot? Johnny Blaze is a stunt motorcyclist in love with a beautiful girl and finds that his Dad is dying of cancer. He winds up making a deal with the devil so that in exchange for his soul, his Dad is cured. His Dad gets cured, but his Dad is a stunt driver as well and dies the same day in a stunt. Blaze leaves the girl and everything behind running from the devil who will come back to collect at a later time. The one thing he keeps saying as he continues doing more and more crazy stunts is “You can’t live in fear.”
In this one, the devil has a son of sorts who wants to collect a contract of 1,000 lost souls from an earlier Ghost Rider. Blaze is then sent to get the contract for the devil and keep his son from it. Blaze has no control over this and goes to fight the son and his goons who are wrecking havoc.
However, he is also trying to fight it off. As the story progresses, Blaze learns more and more to control his power so that he is not totally possessed. As the story ends of course, Blaze defeats the villain and has the chance to run off with the girl. It is at this point that the devil appears again.
The devil says that he will free Blaze from the curse and allow another one to take it. Blaze can have the second chance he’s wanted the whole movie and go off and live a normal life with the girl of his dreams. Blaze tells the devil though that he’s keeping his curse and he’s going to use it to fight the devil every stretch of the way.
Naturally, not everything in the movie is fit with a Christian worldview. At this point though, I’d like to interject a side point. I left the theater and heard someone say on a phone “Not a Christian movie” and I thought about that. If I wanted to see a “Christian movie” I’d see something like Jesus of Nazareth.”
However, why do we have such genres as “Christian” movies? Christian should describe people. It does not describe objects. We can say that a movie or book or song has tenets in it that reflect a worldview that matches with that of Christianity, but can we really call movies and music and literature “Christian”?
What do I find that I like though? I like the hope that I see. Hope? Yes. Blaze wants nothing more than a second chance and when he sees the girl he left behind so many years ago, he takes this as his sign and is ready to go on and face the world. C.S. Lewis once said that it is more important that Heaven should exist, than that any of us should make it there.
As long as we have the tiniest glimmer of hope in our quest, we can move on. If there is but the slightest chance that we can succeed, we are more than willing. We will gladly trek over that last hill if we have reason to think that there could be a place of safety on the other side.
I like Blaze saying you can’t live in fear. Despite his past, Blaze wants to keep leaving. I’ve recently been thinking that the Bible doesn’t say much about personal past. It speaks about the past of the history of Israel, but it rarely talks about the past of individuals. It doesn’t give people tips on what we call “Getting past your past.”
Why? I don’t think this was a problem back then. People were more collectivist and put the society as a whole before themselves. Today, we are the center of our universes and we often push ourselves to the forefront. We can look at our past and it seems like the whole world knows what it is.
There is a story that even at least a century ago, someone sent a message to twelve leading officials in London. It read “All is revealed! Flee now!” By morning, half of them were gone. Now I might have the time wrong and the numbers off, but the basic thrust of that message is the same. Imagine going to your mailbox one day and opening a letter to find written a message from someone saying “I know all your secrets.”
To them though, I think the past was the past and we seem to get so obsessed over it. I still find myself beating myself up for sins I committed years ago. Why? Could it be we’re so focused on us that we’ve lost focus of God and his forgiveness?
The last thing I thought about was Blaze’s refusal to give back the curse at the end. I think the thing that made him keep it was the idea of someone else having to have it. Blaze knew what it was like for him and he didn’t want that put on someone else. In the story, the devil wasn’t too pleased with Blaze’s decision. Does Blaze care? Probably not.
And where does that leave me? With my decision. I look to the future with hope. I put the past behind me refusing to live in fear. Then, I accept the challenge and say “I’m gonna keep fighting.” Do you want to come along for the ride?