Friday, August 01, 2008

I Hate...Me?

A couple weeks ago I had the opportunity to have lunch with Brian McLaren. We talked about evangelism primarily and I very much appreciated the time to talk with him. During the course of our conversation I told him that one of the things I admire most about him is how he deals with his more vitriolic and mean-spirited critics. (There are critics of his who are fair and thoughtful in their criticism, and then there are others.) I told him how I used to read these "others" but in doing so, I realized that it didn't help me to think more critically about the topic at hand, but rather it made me want to be like them. That is to say it made me want to start a website designed to tear them apart in return.

It is often said that we hate in others that which we hate in ourselves. Maybe hate is too strong of a word, but regardless, I've seen the truth behind this sentiment in myself more than I care to admit. (I suppose there are times when this doesn't hold true, but it may be true more often than we realize.)

In his review of The Dark Knight* Greg Boyd writes, "The Joker’s mission is to expose what a joke this thin veneer of human righteousness is. Throughout the movie he creates anarchy to reveal the evil that lurks just beneath the surface of our orderly lives. He also forces people to make impossible choices where they either become barbarians like himself or face death. He is usually (but not quite always) proven right." And later in the review, "Along the same lines, The Dark Knight ingeniously explores how easy it is to become the evil that we fight."

The obvious example of becoming the evil that we fight is George W. Bush. Some have accused him of essentially becoming Al Qaeda-like in how he has pursued the war in Iraq. That criticism may or may not be valid (and I don't care to discuss it, but for more check out this review) but it does serve as an example of how this might work.

Closer to home, that is personally, I have been prompted to think about people I am critical of. (And, I think the list is, thankfully, pretty short.) What is it about them that I am critical of and how is that quality/characteristic/flaw present in me? I think this is the essence of Jesus instruction to remove the plank from our own eye before attempting to remove the speck from another's eye. It's not an easy thing to do, and somewhat uncomfortable, but ultimately it can be and is, life giving.

*Boyd's review contains some spoilers, so beware before reading. Also, he confuses the commissioner (Harvey) and the DA (Dent) as he describes Dent in his review but identifies him as Harvey. It does no damage to his overall point, but may throw you for a temporary loop if you've seen the movie.


Blogger Tony Myles said...

I have been bottling up my theological reflections of the Dark Knight so as to not create spoilers. :)

But I track with this well, dude.

12:40 AM  

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