I go to a lot of movies; thankfully I have found fairly inexpensive ways to see them. But I have noticed something in movies that I find frustrating, where is the happy ending? Maybe aside from the Disney movies, which have taken their own interesting turns, I am amazed at how many are laden with hyper-realism, dystopian angst, or massive violence. Movies today seem to almost go out of the way of allowing the viewer that clear, unmistakable, happy ending. I wonder why or even what really is wrong with the fairy-tale ending?
I am not meaning to sound as if everything had to end happy, but I wonder what is going on that we no longer demand the happy ending; why is it that our despair as society has devolved so much that we accept movies that seem hopeless. Does it validate our own feelings or point to the viewpoint of the coming generations? I can guarantee there are dissertations being written about this as I write this article. Many will highlight the sociological state of a post 9/11 world where vulnerability, terror and economic instability have been rampant. I might agree, but I think there is something worse, more sinister to blame.
I think that the evil that has always been part of this world has found its way into the heart of society, disguising itself as cynicism, contempt, vitriol, anger, and hate. All of this leaves us without the one thing Christ came into this world to give us, Hope!
In Christ, we have a unique view of the world in that every life is not subject to an end, but is given hope for a new beginning. In fact, one of the quintessential parts of the Christian life is to let go and leave. Take a look at all the disciples; none stayed. Either they found themselves martyred or made their ways in all directions. They followed the great commandment to bring the good news beyond what was known, trusting that God was there.
Just as the disciples were not to stay, the churches they and Paul left behind were not to be stagnant either, but they were called to be bold in the threat of death and respond to the world without fear, because they knew the glory that was to come and the hope that was held within that.
A professor of mine in college used to say: “Fear is a fickle thing” as if this quote was a mantra. He said that when we fear, we will find ourselves doing stupid stuff (though he did not say “stuff”). Moreover, he said that with time there is nothing to fear, because, good or bad, whatever we fear now won’t exist in the future. Thus, fear is only a construct, which makes it fickle.
I would go one step further to say that one of the great powers that fear has is that it makes us hopeless. When we are hopeless we no longer seem to seek or strive for hope; rather, we seek and strive for survival because hope tends to be illusive. As people of faith, one of our greatest battles is the battle to bring back hope, and show a better way.
Rev. Dr. Bryan James Franzen