So there’s a new video floating around the internet called “Falling Plates.” It’s about four minutes. Take a look.
There’s something catchy about it, right?
Great imagery, decent music, and so on. But what about the message?
To me, it comes across as perhaps a beginner’s guide to Christianity. Geared perhaps toward kids or teenagers. And maybe that’s its intention. I wonder how useful it is for adults, however. It is operating on a rather simplistic view of the gospel, and certainly a very individualistic gospel:
God made you. Unique, beautiful, and all that jazz. But you messed up. Now your life sucks. And it is going to continue to be miserable unless you ‘plug in’ to the source.
Nice use perhaps of John’s vine imagery, in a more contemporary manner. I can see how this connects – it shows failed attempts at other sources of life: alcohol, relationships, aimless internet surfing. (But seriously, man, slow down! Beer is meant to be enjoyed, not guzzled).
Find the ‘right outlet,’ plug in, and have life. And the right outlet, of course, is Jesus.
Now you’re happy, running at full strength, and ready to go.
In many ways, Jesus is like your morning espresso, only he doesn’t let you down mid-morning.
I suppose that perhaps is much of what doesn’t resonate with me in this video, the simplistic nature of it just doesn’t connect. (Again, this is how it struck me — I know many folks who love it.)
Many of us seek to follow Jesus, but not just for a ‘power boost.’ We follow Jesus because we are inspired by a life which lays itself down for others, one which makes room for the other, extends hospitality, and is rebuffed at injustice. Such a life is one that we want to emulate, one we suspect might make a real difference in the world. I do think there is spiritual power found in a life connected to Jesus, but that doesn’t mean now life is easy, or there are no hurdles, or things are at full strength. It also doesn’t mean that others who have found other sources of life are somehow faking it, or ‘dying but they don’t know it.’
Don’t get me wrong: Jesus as a magic floating plate really hits home, but perhaps a better picture would be a presence that continues to be incarnate in the world through a bunch of plates that, despite their cracks, pain, and brokenness, offer themselves in service to others, even if they’d rather just magically ‘plug in.’
I suppose this could be a decent introduction to Christianity for some folks, but to me, it feeds in to the desire we have for a magic pill that ‘just makes it all better,’ and makes it all better, for me.
Yes, there is that micro component to the gospel, and it is a crucial one: that God does offer forgiveness/renewal/life/healing, but there is also a macro, or universal element, that God longs for this wholeness to overtake the entire creation. And maybe this is hinted at in the movie, with the reverse video segments of trees unburning and plates unbreaking… but is it really just a simple fix: Jesus died, so everything’s OK? Or is it a complex one that is in process, and that may call us to be broken in the midst of the renewing?
But of course, all of that will take more than 4 minutes.