Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Lost and Community

In previous comments about the finale of Lost, I may have missed a primary theme that has run throughout the series—the place of community in redemption. The “live together, die alone” phrase surfaced early on in the first season and was repeatedly emphasized during the last season. Perhaps the idea is not that the “survivors” find redemption within themselves but that they find it in community.

This may be the way that postmoderns come to faith.  The old approach to conversion was "believe-belong-behave" whereas the new model may be "belong-behave-believe."  This seems to express the experience of the "survivors."

In order to make any significant change in our lives, we need a community of people to support us. People in this type of community challenge one another, support each other in the difficult times, and share their spiritual struggles. Just as in Lost, this group is often flawed and divided but they stick together for the journey. We need to be part of a community of people. We need accountability. Christians find this within the church.

A key idea of Lost may be that people find redemption in community. In the case of Lost, it is not Christian community, but it is community. Those behind the program may well realize that most of us find this by participation in a religious community. This may be the significance of the stained glass window behind Jack and his father at the “church.” The window seems to depict the symbols of the world’s major religions, thus pointing out where most individuals seek community.

In the New Testament, the writer of John’s first epistle says, “If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen.” (1 John 4:20, NIV) For Christians, the community that we call the church is the laboratory of relationships where we learn to love the unlovely and perhaps come to the realization that we may be part of the “unlovely.”

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