Movie Theology (Cowboys and Aliens)

by jpserrano on January 6, 2012 · 0 comments

A couple nights ago I had the pleasure of watching Cowboys and Aliens. If you’re like me, you see more movies on Netflix and Red Box then you do on the big green. So, this may be a day late and a dollar short because of how far removed it is from the theatre showing.

Here is the movie’s tagline according to IMDB (to be read in the voice of the action movie voiceover guy), “A spaceship arrives in Arizona, 1873, to take over the Earth, starting with the Wild West region. A posse of cowboys and natives are all that stand in their way.” Are you thinking, what I’m thinking? I’m thinking this is going to be awesome–And it was.

But I don’t want to talk solely about how you should see this movie, I want to talk theology.

In movies I find the most interesting lines to analyse are those of the priest/preacher/pastor/minister whatever you want to call the token religious leader. I am always fascinated by what the writers unintentionally or even intentionally are saying about God through the pastor.

Clancy Brown plays Meachem, a small town pastor who can shoot, drink, and stitch wounds with the best of them. He makes several theological statements but non more in line with popular American Religion than this.

1. Speaking about God, “You gotta earn His presence, you gotta recognize it, then you gotta act on it.”

The preacher is 2/3 on to something here.

First, we can’t earn God’s presence.  God’s presence isn’t something the we can redeem at the vending machine of good works pulling from the wallet of good intentions.  God’s presence is gift.

Second, I agree  with him that we have to recognize God’s presence.  But, this is exactly why we can’t earn it.  God’s presence is only something we can point out when we see it.  Its like a been of light breaking from the clouds, we notice it.

Third, when we see God’s presence we should act on it.  I think too often I am guilty of knowing God is present in my life but succumbing to the the business of everyday activities and not acting on it.  I don’t act on it because I get apathetic.  I get tired.  I get lazy.

This line from the preacher actually spoke to me…well at least the last two clauses did.  It reminded me that I am called to be a scout for God’s presence and act on what I see.

Where do you recognize God the most?

How do you act on it? or come back from not acting on it?



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