The View, The Scorch, and a Zombie Apocalypse

Blog_TVControlRoomHave you ever wondered what it would be like to be a victim of a zombie apocalypse? Me neither, though yet another movie has emerged to depict the potential outcome of such a catastrophe. Which has me thinking. We’re not so different from these would-be victims.

Though much of our world is now wireless, how much of our days are spent connected by invisible wires to a monitor of some sort? The TV screen, the computer monitor, our cell phone display. And though we’re told by the talking heads on such monitors to think for ourselves, they’re doing an awful lot of the thinking for us. “Be original, be yourself, be unique!” they cry as the silent warning sounds that if we so much as diverge from their status quo, we will be verbally persecuted, if not worse.

A recent and now-notorious episode of The View serves as example. Nurses around the world were rightly outraged when their selfless profession was casually mocked by the talking heads on this opinion-driven platform, triggering the hashtag #nursesunite. No matter if the initial comments were a weak attempt at humor. It took this obvious untruth spoken across the airwaves to wake would-be fans to what has been reality for as long as the first TV antennas went up: not everything we hear from rich and famous self-proclaimed life-experts is…true.

We’ve lived so long in a media-induced stupor that we don’t realize how far we’ve drifted from reality until some clearly misguided statement wakes us from our near-comatose state. How long prior to #nursesunite were the screen-bound personas of The View and shows like it speaking untruths, half-truths, misguided words and emotion-driven opinions without a public outcry as the outcome? How much of our own worldview is so influenced by the media that we can’t even separate truth from opinion…from blatant lie?

#Nursesunite is not just a hashtag. It’s a wake-up call, reminding us that the people on TV are just…people. They are not gods. They are not life-experts. And we don’t owe our lives, or our brains, to them. As much as the world of monitors has become our world, we need to detach ourselves from the wireless wires and finally…think for ourselves.

A War Hero’s Greatest Triumph

Forgiveness Symbols from Bing ImagesAn eighth-place finish at the Olympics is a dream few attain. And it’s no small exploit to survive 47 days stranded at sea. To endure two years of cruel treatment at a Japanese prison camp is unimaginable. Yet there’s something more remarkable about Louis Zamperini’s story than any of these feats combined.

The life of an Olympian-turned-war hero is a treasure for the history books, but Louis Zamperini accomplished something greater than these other impossibilities. It’s found in the words of a letter penned by his own hand, written to the man who’d tortured him during those years at prison camp…

“Under your discipline, my rights, not only as a prisoner of war but also as a human being, were stripped from me. It was a struggle to maintain enough dignity and hope to live until the war’s end…The post-war nightmares caused my life to crumble, but thanks to a confrontation with God through the evangelist Billy Graham, I committed my life to Christ. Love has replaced the hate I had for you. Christ said, ‘Forgive your enemies and pray for them’I also forgave you and now would hope that you would also become a Christian.” –Louis Zamperini (Unbroken)

Reading these words, I’m humbled to consider the depth of suffering and staggered to contemplate the degree of forgiveness on the part of a man who suffered so greatly. This overcoming of unthinkable trials, this forgiving of unimaginable torture is the war hero’s greatest triumph.

It reminds me of Corrie ten Boom, who after saving the many lives during World War II was sent to prison camp—there tortured and starved, there losing her family. Years later, upon encountering one of the guards who’d dealt the blows of suffering—she forgave. Or of Elisabeth Elliot, who after her husband was speared to death, returned to the tribe responsible, living among them and teaching them the way of love.

Ultimately, it reminds me of Jesus who, beaten, tortured, suffering, and dying on the cross spoke words of forgiveness to his tormentors. If I am ever to forgive the unforgivable, love the unlovable, and overcome the impossible, I look to my Savior, who went before me in the way of suffering and forgiveness. And who enables me to do the same.
“But I say to you, love your enemies and bless the one who curses you, and do what is beautiful to the one who hates you, and pray over those who take you by force and persecute you.” (Matthew 5:44)
True Love…FORGIVES (Day 36,#50ShadesOfTrueLove)

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption, by Laura Hillenbrand, Random House, 2010, pp. 396-97.

A Deeper Hunger

Harvest from Bing Images Katniss Everdeen and Anastasia Steele: two different stories, two contrasting journeys. Both are hungry. For one, this hunger leads to heroism, for the other, to the arms of a sadistic villain.

Though both stories portray a culture of brutal violence, there are glaring differences between the themes of the Hunger Games and 50 Shades. Katniss—the heroine of the Hunger Games, recognizes this culture of brutality as wrong, not succumbing to its pervasive evil. Instead, she hungers for something better. Her undying loyalty to her sister grows into a sacrificial love for her people. She will not bow to President Snow. And she will give her life to defend her people from his malicious plans.

In stark contrast to the Hunger Games, 50 Shades celebrates the culture of brutality, painting a deceptive picture that a person can fall into the arms of unabashed violence and emerged unscathed. The story attempts to normalize what is a nightmarish reality for millions of human trafficking victims across the globe.

Katniss’ hunger is driven by a love for her people. This love leads her to become a symbol of courage, saving her generation from pervasive evil whatever the cost. Anastasia’s insecurity leads her to find fulfillment in torturous, manipulative lust, and in so doing she leads a generation into the same deception that has entrapped untold numbers in abusive relationships, modern slavery, and the grave itself.

Mother Teresa once said, “The hunger for love is much more difficult to remove than the hunger for bread.” How we go about satiating our deepest hunger will, in the end, determine whether we are filled or left empty. A hunger driven by selfishness will lead to pain; a hunger driven by selflessness will lead to life.

True love hungers for goodness. It hungers to protect itself and those it loves from the entrapments of deception and abuse, and to free others from lies, manipulation, and violence. The greatest hero of all time had such a hunger. He died on a cross so we could be free from the penalty and power of depravity. He died that we can live in a love that brings life, not suffering and death. God, change our appetites! Let us hunger for what is good. And let this hunger move us to act courageously to protect our generation, and future generations, from that which would seek to destroy.

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” (Matthew 5:6)

True Love…HUNGERS (Day 11, #50ShadesOfTrueLove)