This entry is being written to address the big question, "What did I think of Avatar?" Apparently the movie is controversial and considered by some to be dangerously New Age. I talked with a woman tonight was seemed somewhat afraid and offended by the movie, yet had not seen it. She wanted my opinion on whether or not it was "safe." Oh, my. While I don't consider Avatar a children's movie, it certainly did not offend me. Quite the opposite.
Now, it is important to note that I am the same person who, just a few days ago, mentioned feeling messages in the wind. To some, that is already a red flag. :-) It is possible that I am a bit more liberal in that area than some Christians. And that is my disclaimer for what I am about to say.
I loved the movie. Hmmm, how should I organize my thoughts? :-) I guess I will just list them as they come to me, so they are not in any specific order.
1) There was a point in the movie when my spirit was very sad. The male lead stepped out in faith and began to pray. The female lead came up behind him and sadly told him that it was pretty much a wasted effort because their deity existed only to keep the balance of nature. A part of me wanted to sign up to be a missionary to Pandora right then. To tell them that the God of the universe was interested in so much more than the balance of nature. I kept thinking, "They are so close . . . ."
Then, some time later in the movie, God shows up. The female lead is stunned. And my spirit shouted, "Now THAT is my God!" He is a God who fights for and with His people, who turns the impossible into the possible, who has a personal interest and investment in His people. And, while the people did not yet understand that about their deity - and the director may or may not have understood it either - the true character of God showed up.
2) SPOILER ALERT
When the main male character is praying, he tells the deity that earth destroyed its mother - implying that each planet had its own deity. What he did not realize was that he had already been proven wrong. Just before one of the humans died, she opened her eyes and said, "I am with her. She is real." And then died. This sounds like the God of the universe, not of a planet. This deity had no dilemma regarding the woman being alien to their planet.
I imagine part of the New Age fuss is that their deity is referred to as "she" and "mother." I can see how this could ruffle some feathers. I, personally, do not take offense with this because, while we have been taught to refer to God as "Father", I doubt He is limited by gender. My guess is that He is the perfect embodiment of both genders. I do understand the argument regarding the many "goddess" based false religions that have been around for centuries.
One of the things I find to be interesting is that it is very possible that the creators of this film intended for it to be New Age-y and "goddess" based. But, if it was, I think they missed. You see, in another setting, I probably would have been uncomfortable with this aspect of the movie. But the God I know kept showing up. I could ramble about that for a while . . . :-)
3) Especially as Americans, I think we chose to ignore some aspects about the way the church is described in Acts. I believe there is power in unity and submission. I think this is demonstrated in the movie in some interesting ways.
4) I like that the "real marine" was the good guy. :-)
5) I like the whole concept of "I see you." But then, I would. . . .
6) I enjoyed the liberation theme. Made me think of our Social Justice Ministry and the traffickers. They may believe that money and violence run the modern world, but there is Something much bigger!
7) I love that the tide is turned because of one man's prayer.
8) I like that a broken "alien" is who God chooses to assign as the ambassador of liberty. Again, that sounds like my God.
I left the movie reminded of what an amazing God I serve and found myself humming worship songs as I made my way to the car. My humble opinion - Avatar is a great movie to foster intriguing discussion.