They made no bones about the point of the movie. In fact, they made it wildly apparent. Well, there were several points really, the most obvious of which being that everyone is special and has worth.
There is a point there where the kid/Emmet has one thing he can say to Lord Business. There is a pause there, where he finally settles on starting with these words, “You don’t have to be the bad guy.” Man, I could write a lot about that alone, but I think it speaks pretty well for itself.
But then there was something else that was, quite frankly, HUGE. Another point that they practically beat you over the head with (but, it’s a kids movie, obvious is often the name of the game when it comes to ‘subtext’). Even so, I really hope everyone got it.
There’s this idea that they hit you with, that basically the world tells you what to believe. What to watch, what to listen to.
It happens a ton still today. And don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate everything about it, if you have something you want people to see or hear you want to get it out there. I just want to have that big of a platform too. I want to be a culture shaper. Because too often, what the culture has been shaping itself into isn’t too great. I’m not out to tear down the Grammys or something. Let me take a few of them babies home. You’d have to read my blogs about prosperity and the music business to totally get my take on this, but I donna want to digress right now.
It sometimes astounds me, the things people go wild about where music artists are concerned, and I think to myself, “Dear Lord, the Newsboys were doing that in the 90’s. Why didn’t people freak out then?” Well, frankly because they were listening to what “everyone” was listening to, which apparently didn’t apply to a “Christian” artist, whether what they were doing was good or not (and that’s not to shrug off the Newsboys, they were and still are one of the biggest forces and success stories in “Christian Music”, a genre and industry whose existence continues to be embroiled in much……big-worded, bloggy, debate-yness).
Now, you can go too far with this, really, and become someone who avoids something just because it’s popular. I’m one of the farthest things from a hipster. I like big budget movies (anything less typically disappoints me to some degree, with a few exceptions), music that is really well produced, and TV shows that probably cost as much as the aforementioned movies. I want to play stadium concerts, and I just like most things that are big, adventurous, and most likely, expensive. Though, at the same time, I can live without them as well.
Still, I try to be watchful about what I put my stamp of approval on. I try to pay attention to the messages, the intent, the spirit. And I haven’t always been perfect at that.
People jump in one ditch or the other about this. So often, I see hordes of people wanting so badly to be non-conformists, that they just conform to the culture of “noncomformity”, which trust me, is so ridiculously obvious that it may as well have its own rulebook.
The tragedy is that people think that being an individual means they have to be rebellious or wretched or attention-getting (or something else just as “edgy”, whatever the flavor of the day may be) as a means of being “true” to themselves, when in fact they’re just letting themselves be twisted out of shape. It’s something we’ve all had to deal with, when in fact, we need to first realize that we are loved. Then, we can better change into what we’re meant to be.
Ok, well, here comes the part where I can’t separate the fact that I am a Christian.
I’ve been learning a lot lately that Grace and Righteousness are free gifts. That I have to know how much I am loved so that I can be what I’m truly meant to be. Instead of trying so hard to “make” myself into it, by whatever means. Sure, there are things I have to do. Sure, determination may be (and has been) a part of that picture at times, but grace is also huge.
But swinging back around here.
The truth is, you’re going to conform to something. Whether it’s good or bad, whether you think it’s original or not, we all conform to something, or somethings. Or, perhaps someone.
I believe that accepting and living with Jesus is how you really live that freedom. And there that is.
Look, it’s all well and good to tell people to not “listen to what the world is telling you”. Frankly, that’s half the battle, because the whole world has become so adroit at just feeding you the next thing. But the thing is, usually that next thing pretty enjoyable (seriously) because they’ve literally got it down to a science (don’t believe me? Do a tiny bit of research about what typically gets on national radio, all the way down to the BPMs). Well, that is until something “breaks the mold” and gets a success story. But then we figure out why that worked too.
I don’t mean for that to sound so conspiracy theory. I just mean that most creative people go to school to learn how to create things people will actually like, and often there’s an amount of procedure to that.
But again, it’s all well and good to tell people to not listen to what the world is telling them. Or something. But then what? Because a lot of people fall off the boat right there and become paranoid, pot-smoking whacktivists, that typically don’t look or act like well-kept human beings. If I dislike a pop song, it is typically because of the lyrics, because let me tell you, I don’t always care if it’s the same four chords I’ve heard for 30 years, sometimes I also think they sound fantastic.
Maybe it’s not so much about who not to listen to. What not to do. Maybe it’s more the positive. Who to listen to. What to do.
It’s about believing the right thing, not trying so hard to disbelieve the wrong thing. Because right believing will lead to right living, and that will naturally push out the other stuff. Grace is meant to teach us the difference between something good and something that’s just dressed up like it, and then our perceptions will naturally mature.
Because you’re going to listen to something. Someone. You’re going to become something, to take on the form of something. So make it the right thing. I don’t really believe that we can (or at least, SHOULD) be just WHATEVER we want. I mean, how many times have you seen someone trying so hard to be something they just aren’t? You smile and congratulate them, but you just think to yourself, “Man, you just ain’t got it.” And that’s why so many people spend their lives just searching for their purpose, arbitrarily “trying” things. But I do believe that we are called to be great. Greater than we can even imagine, and that if we follow that calling it branches out into many of those avenues we had tried and failed at before. We can learn that we really do have to capacity to be a part of many or all of the things our seemingly endless interests would have led us to, but first we had to focus on just the one. On drawing the strength instead of trying to create it. First we had to focus on who we are.
Because, remember, you’re The Special and so am I.