Romance and Representation: A Review of Crazy Rich Asians

Crazy Rich Asians released last week in theaters. The film earned the number one spot at the domestic box office two weekends in row. Attendance dropped only 6% in the…

Crazy Rich Asians released last week in theaters. The film earned the number one spot at the domestic box office two weekends in row. Attendance dropped only 6% in the second weekend, something that is nearly unprecedented in films. It is the first major studio film set in a contemporary setting to feature an all-Asian cast in the last 25 years. The last film being The Joy Luck Club. Crazy Rich Asians is a romantic comedy based on a best-selling novel by Kevin Kwan, and is helmed by director, Jon C. Chu. It stars Constance Wu, Henry Golding, and Michelle Yeoh. The entire cast is fantastic in this film. Remarkably this is Henry Golding’s first feature film, but he gives a wonderfully charming performance as Nick Young.

The story follows Rachel Chu (Constance Wu), a young successful Chinese-American economics professor who has been dating for a year the charming Nick Young. Unbeknownst to Rachel, Nick Young is the heir-apparent to the insanely rich Young family of Singapore. When Nick invites Rachel to attend a wedding with him in Singapore to meet his family the hijinks ensue.
Crazy Rich Asians is an excellent romantic comedy. Both leads are instantly likeably, and share a fantastic chemistry. I found the movie to be hilarious. I was surprised at the depth at which it tackled issues of race, class, and cultural differences between Asian-Americans and Mainland-Asians. These all combine to create a warmly funny and moving film. I highly recommend Crazy Rich Asians to those who love a good romantic comedy, and encourage you to see it on the big screen if you can.

In Defense of Romantic Comedies

Some might wonder what biblical truth one could possibly pull from a romantic comedy such as Crazy Rich Asians. I firmly believe that Crazy Rich Asians could be a significant cultural event. There is more than I possibly write about in one small review so I will only highlight a few thoughts.
Romantic Comedies had seemingly fallen out of favor with audiences, but recently they have making a comeback primarily through streaming services such as Netflix. I personally have a deep affection for Rom Coms such as When Harry Met Sally and While You Were Sleeping to name a few. With the success of Crazy Rich Asians I hope this means we will see an increase in good Romantic Comedies on the big screen.

One often spouted critique of romantic comedies is that they are cliché. However, I find this critique to be misguided. When we think about the nature of Story in general we find that all stories follow basic patterns and archetypes. If it was the simple story beats of a romantic comedy that made them bad, then they would not tap into our desires, nor would there be an audience for such films. Now for sure there are many bad romantic comedies, just as there are many bad dramas. How the story is executed defines what makes a good film from a bad film.
We are drawn to the retelling of these familiar stories because we all bear the image of God. Romantic comedies like Crazy Rich Asians also reveal something about us as human beings: we all long to love and to be loved by someone. We all desire complete trust and intimacy with others. This is why we are so taken by films like Crazy Rich Asians. We all want to believe that we can find someone who will love us as we are.

This desire for love is universal. Crazy Rich Asians demonstrates that it does not matter what your race, class, sex, cultural background, or country of origin is; we all love to be loved and to love. We are all bearers of the Imago Dei and we are all beautiful in the eyes of God. We are all valuable. In the great metanarrative of Scripture we see this longing portrayed. Once we were in perfect loving relationship with God and each other, than sin entered the world and relationships were broken. We have lost the perfect intimacy and love that we so desire. The Gospel story is in this sense an epic romance, where God pursues those that he loves. We are so undeserving of his love yet God gives his love freely to us.

Furthermore, Crazy Rich Asians demonstrates the power of representation. One does not have look very hard online to see the impact this is having on the Asian-American community. The film shines a light on the beauty of Asian faces. One cannot underestimate the power of seeing someone like yourself being displayed as beautiful and valuable.
And if one should doubt that representation matters, let us be reminded, “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” Humanity became infinitely more valuable when Jesus who was fully God took on humanity. Jesus lovingly left his heavenly throne and descended to earth to become our representative to God the Father; “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has been tempted in every way as we are, yet without sin. Therefore, let us approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in time of need” (Hebrews 4:15-16).

Crazy Rich Asians points us toward the truths that all people regardless of race are intrinsically valuable because they are image bearers. It reminds us that there is power in being represented. It reminds us that we all long to love and be loved. This deep desire of our hearts is most fully fulfilled in life and death of Jesus Christ who became like us, so that we might become sons and daughters of God. And one day in heaven there will be a beautiful diversity of people of every tongue and every race praising God together. What a glorious day that will be we those who know the Lord will have the deepest longing of their hearts satisfied.

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Ant Man and The Wasp

Ant-Man and the Wasp was definitely a surprise for many critics and audiences, as it was slightly less conventional than your average superhero movie with black-and-white protagonists and antagonists. Everyone is fleshed out in the film as all having very believable motives for wanting the same thing.


After an exhausting battle with Captain America and the Avengers, Scott Lang, known as Ant-Man, finds himself under house arrest. But no sooner does he settle in before he finds himself in yet another adventure, as he assists his old mentor, Dr. Hank Pym, in rescuing his wife from a mysterious place called the Quantum Realm by building a gate to get there. Ant-Man and friends are in for a bumpy ride, though, as two other characters, with very different motives, seek to obtain that same gate.
Ant-Man and the Wasp was definitely a surprise for many critics and audiences, as it was slightly less conventional than your average superhero movie with black-and-white protagonists and antagonists. Everyone is fleshed out in the film as all having very believable motives for wanting the same thing. The movie turns into a game of cat-and-mouse as our characters scramble for access to the quantum realm in a comedic but compelling way. The film’s biggest weakness was that it did not really feel like Ant-Man’s film; the movie was really about Hope, the Wasp, and finding her mother. Even the side characters had bigger goals and arcs than did Scott. There was, perhaps, something there in Ant-Man’s journey in the film that could have been fleshed out a little better, while not at the expense of the rest of the story, but it seemed like a missed opportunity. Overall, Ant-Man is not a complete waste of time, and holds audiences over after its amazing predecessor, Infinity War.

Many Redemptions

All the characters are in some need of redemption. Firstly, the film centers around the restoration of a lost loved one back from a mysterious realm. At the same time, our main character, Scott Lang, is seeking to be accepted by the people he loves after a series of poor decisions; Ant-man also struggles with his identity as a superhero, not being as powerful as he wants to be; and to make matters worse, his romantic relationship with Hope (Evangeline Lily) is suffering. The cherry on top of all this is an angry character searching for a shot at normalcy, after a tragic explosion has rearranged the molecular structure of her body. What’s really compelling is that there is no actual “villain”, though there is a character who has plunged headlong into love for money, having passed his moment of redemption, and now pursuing a criminal life.

There is much truth here to contemplate for the believer. When Christ restores us, he restores multiple areas of our lives. The film shows a myriad of people who are, together, caught in a web with their own losses and agendas. Christ brings together loved ones in eternity, restores broken romantic relations, restores human identity through sanctification, and establishes normalcy in a life mauled by the effects of the fall. He even holds out his arms for those who still reject righteousness for money while remains the day of grace. The godly may meditate on this film and remember that just as sin affected all areas of life, so also does the redemption of the Lord Jesus Christ. As Van Til once said, “The sweep of redemption is as comprehensive as the sweep of sin.” What was brilliant about this film is that depicts life as it often is: a compilation of hurting people seeking their redemption. The Christian worldview responds by saying that all forms of redemption are echoes of that eternal reality that is in Christ Jesus.

Cornelius Van Til, Christian Theistic Ethics (Phillipsburg, New Jersey: Presbyterian and Reformed, 1980), 86-87.

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The Good Place: An Entertaining Reality Check

What does the gospel tell us about point totals, and “the good place?”

Recently, my wife and I started watching a new comedy television show called The Good Place. Without spoiling its twists and turns, the show begins with the main character, Eleanor, waking up in “the good place,” or what many would consider to be heaven. Entrance into the good place is based strictly on merit, a literal point system in which only the most notoriously noble men and women would get to enjoy their eternal paradise; house, soul-mate and frozen yogurt included.

The other day while I was watching the show, I couldn’t help but wonder if The Good Place viewers consider how they would fare with a merit based “good place.” Do they think their lives would be good enough to garner entrance into a “good place”? Or do they think they would go to “the bad place?” Who decides what a good life looks like? Who develops the point totals?

The Good Place should be a reality check. An entertaining reality check, but a reality check nonetheless. Apart from an objective, biblical lens by which we view our lives, all of life is a subjective, fearful attempt to tally-up enough points to enter paradise. The gospel of Jesus Christ however clears the fog off a cloudy lens of opinion and gives us the truth on the matter.

So what does the gospel tell us about point totals, and “the good place?”

Our Point Totals

We all have a point total. A negative one. Antithetical to the witty world of The Good Place, we’re all prime candidates for the bad place.

And when I say everyone, I mean literally everyone: You, me, Ghandi, Mother Teresa and the sweet old lady down the street. We’re all what the Bible calls sinners and sin earns us eternal death.

The apostle Paul writes in his letter to the Romans, “…all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…” (Romans 3:23), and, “…the wages of sin is death…” (Romans 6:23)

In other words, we all deserve “the bad place,” or what the bible calls, hell.

Notice the bolded word there. Deserve. Hell isn’t an unjust place created by a cruel God. It’s a fair place created by a holy God, originally intended for the devil and his angels (Matthew 25:41), but fit for us who have followed in their ways rather than God’s, which again, is all of us.

But the gospel offers us good news, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)

Jesus’s Point Totals

Jesus wasn’t merely a good man that killed it in the positive point total category. Jesus was the only perfect man to ever walk on the face of the earth. He is the only man that actually deserves “the good place.” In fact, Jesus the Son of God, stepped down from “the good place”, put on human flesh, and lived among sinners like you and me 2,000 years ago.

But he didn’t only live among sinners like you and me. He died for sinners like you and me.

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person – though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die – but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:6-8)

As we saw in the last section, the gospel is abundantly clear that you and I cannot earn our way to heaven through a point total. And this is one reason why God the Son became man: to live the perfect life that you and I could never live and to die in our place for our sin. On the cross, God poured out his wrath on Jesus Christ so that you and I wouldn’t have to know his wrath, but rather we would know his mercy.

But there is a condition to these gospel promises.

The apostle Paul writes, “if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For the Scripture says, ‘Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.’” (Romans 10:10-11)

Reader, you must trust in Jesus Christ as the Lord and Savior of your life. In other words, you believe by faith that Jesus Christ has made you right with God through his death on the cross. As a result, true belief will cause you to love him, serve him, and follow him for the rest of your life.

Jesus’s Point Total Given To You

Alluding back to The Good Place, you’re probably asking yourself, “How does this affect my point total?”

This is how: Through faith in Jesus, you receive his perfect “point total.”

The apostle Paul tells the Corinthian church, “For our sake he made [Jesus] to be sin who knew no sin, so that in [Jesus] we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:21)

Jesus took your sin on the cross, and he gives you his righteousness as a gift, through faith in him. It’s a gift from God beyond our wildest dreams and imaginations; that he would choose to save sinners, not through making us work and work and work in hollow attempts to earn our salvation, but rather, by giving us a gift, Jesus Christ.

Reader, there are many things in life that you give time and attention to that simply aren’t worth your thought. Where you’ll spend your eternity is not one of those things. In fact, considering where you’ll spend your eternity is the most important question you can ask yourself.

Jesus says himself that he is the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through him. (John 14:6)

He has made a way to “the good place.” Even more beautiful than that, Jesus has made a way for you to truly know and enjoy God forever. Reader, if you haven’t trusted Jesus by faith, I hope and pray that today will be the day of salvation for you.

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A Spark of Hope: The Last Jedi Review

This is the most spiritual of any Star Wars film. Luke Skywalker even refers to “the Jedi religion” (a term not used since A New Hope). There are many things one could discuss from The Last Jedi, but at its heart it is about restoring lost faith and the rekindling hope in the midst of despair.

Last Jedi is not a perfect film, but it is truly great at times. It is the most visually beautiful Star Wars film we have ever seen. It has one of the best space battles and one of the best lightsaber battles of any Star Wars film. It is thematically rich and gives strong interesting character arcs to Luke, Rey, and Kylo. Kylo/Ben Solo is one of the most interesting villains I have seen on screen in the last decade. The Last Jedi features some of the best acting of any Star Wars film as well. Adam Driver gives a mesmerizing performance as Ben Solo. Mark Hamill and Daisy Ridley also give very strong performance. I cannot recommend The Last Jedi enough. Some do not appreciate what Rian Johnson did with Luke’s story, but I think it is a magnificent end to such a great hero. I highly recommend The Last Jedi. It is a remarkable Star Wars film, that is both a true Star Wars film, and surprisingly new.

Spoilers follow….

This is the most spiritual of any Star Wars film. Luke Skywalker even refers to “the Jedi religion” (a term not used since A New Hope). There are many things one could discuss from The Last Jedi, but at its heart it is about restoring lost faith and the rekindling hope in the midst of despair.

In the iconic opening crawl, we read in bold yellow script the Resistance is waiting for Luke Skywalker to “return and restore a spark of hope to the fight.” Evil has arisen again. Hope is dwindling. The galaxy is need of something to rekindle hope. Rey goes in search of this hope, but instead of finding Luke, mighty legend, she found a broken man of lost faith.


Luke Skywalker is a man adrift. In a moment of weakness, Luke had contemplated killing his nephew, Ben Solo because he could see the potential of great evil in Ben. Luke ultimately did not give into the temptation, but by simply lighting his lightsaber he set off a chain of events wherein, Ben Solo went over to the dark side and Luke’s other students were killed or joined Ben. Luke had failed himself, his sister, his best friend, his nephew, his students, and the galaxy. His failure led him to despair. He lost faith in the Jedi way and walked away from it all.

Rey begs for Luke to return to the fight. In brilliant foreshadowing Luke ask Rey, what she expects of him, “To show up with a laser sword and face the entire First Order” (the exact thing Luke does at the end of the film). Luke does not think the galaxy needs him anymore, but Rey wisely says they still need a legend.

Later in the film at the moment where all hope seems lost (Leah actually says hope is gone), Luke Skywalker walks into the room. Luke after his time with Rey and some counseling from an old friend, has his faith restored. He will not be the last Jedi. They will continue through Rey. Luke confronts Ben Solo and the First Order to provide time for the Resistance (should we call them Rebels now?) to escape.

In confronting Ben and the First Order, Luke becomes a legend once again. He is the spark that rekindles hope in the galaxy, as is wonderfully shown through the kids telling the story of Luke Skywalker at the end of movie. In a powerful display of the force, Luke sacrifices his life to save the Resistance, Leah, and Rey. In Luke’s final act of sacrifice he has become greater than he was before, and he has brought hope to a galaxy in desperate need of it.

Why would Rian Johnson tell this story? Why do so many respond to this message of hope in the face of despair? We live in a world full of darkness. We hear wars and rumor of wars; racism, natural disasters, and oppression seem to abound.

The world is in desperate need of hope. 2017 was a very difficult year for many people. Despair is on the rise, and all seems lost.

In his essay On Fairy-Stories Tolkien introduces the term eucatastrophe which is a sudden unexpected turn to joy in a story. When Luke arrives at the old Rebel base, The Last Jedi experiences eucatastrophe. All is hope seems lost, but then an unexpected change comes in the story. Luke comes, saves the Resistance, faces the New Order and brings hope to the galaxy. In a same manner the history of humanity has its own moment of eucatastrophe in the arrival of Jesus Christ.

In the epilogue of his essay On Fairy-Stories Tolkien argues that the Incarnation is the eucatastrophe of mankind’s history, and the Resurrection is the eucatastrophe of the Incarnation. When all seemed lost, Jesus the hero of our story has stepped in and conquered evil and the grave for us so that we might have life, light, and hope. I believe as Tolkien believed that Christians should never live in despair, because despair is the absence of all hope, but in Christ we always have a hope no matter how dark things may seem. Our story has already unexpectedly turned to joy.

There is much more one could discuss about The Last Jedi and its themes of hope, faith, and love. However, I will end with two of my favorite lines from the film which beautifully capture the heart of the film.

“Hope is like the sun. If you only believe it when you see it you’ll never make it through the night.”

“We’re going to win this war not by fighting what we hate, but saving what we love.”


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The Stories We Tell by Mike Cosper – Review

Cosper brings a wealth of experience to the subject of cultural engagement with his previous work as a minister and his current role as a consultant and coach for pastors and worship leaders. In The Stories We Tell, Cosper argues that we can find and share truth through art; that in our films and television (the stories we tell) we find the reality of the human condition and the innate yearning we have for redemption.

The Stories We Tell: How TV and Movies Long for and Echo the Truth, by Mike Cosper. Wheaton: Crossway, 2014. 236 pp.

“Cultural engagement.” “Redeeming culture.” “Cultural relevance.” We hear these terms frequently in today’s churches and ministries. In the well-intended desire to share the Gospel with our neighbors, we search for the best ways to communicate what we believe in a way that most will understand. After this shared starting point, however, there are multiple differing opinions and strategies on how to accomplish this. Not only that, every strategic proponent believes his or her perspective to be the best, or most effective. There is no shortage of opinion on this subject.

Mike Cosper’s book The Stories We Tell: How TV and Movies Long for and Echo the Truth is a recent contribution to the discussion. Cosper brings a wealth of experience to the subject of cultural engagement with his previous work as a minister and his current role as a consultant and coach for pastors and worship leaders. In The Stories We Tell, Cosper argues that we can find and share truth through art; that in our films and television (the stories we tell) we find the reality of the human condition and the innate yearning we have for redemption.

The chapters are organized by various subjects, with Cosper using examples from film and television that speak to these subjects. Cosper’s objective is to demonstrate that our longings for eternal truth are so rooted in our humanity, that they manifest themselves in the art that we create. From this perspective, The Stories We Tell is a defense of the doctrine of general revelation. The film and television examples he uses are mainstream “Hollywood” productions, media that non-Christians and Christians alike will, at the very least, certainly be familiar with. Cosper is not advocating for more film and television from Christian studios or perspectives, but rather showing that opportunities to discuss matters of eternity are abundant in mainstream media.

Cosper sees intrinsic value in storytelling for reasons beyond simple entertainment. In his introduction (“A World Full of Stories”), he shares why he sees storytelling as important:

“The profound and dangerous power of TV and movies is that they have ways of getting inside us, shaping the way we see the world by captivating our imaginations (17).”

He builds on this idea through the introduction and into the first chapter (“The Stories We Tell”), continuing to explain why the subject matter of the book is significant:

“It’s important to say from the outset that I do not look at our stories as allegories or metaphors. Instead, I look at them as evidence of longing and desire. They intersect with, reflect, or parallel what the old story tells us about the whole of history (38).”

The “old story” he refers to is, of course, the story of the Bible. Throughout the book, he engages with different examples of film and television which he believes intersect with, reflect, or parallel the message of Scripture.

Later chapter titles include intriguing names like “The Ghosts of Eden,” “The Search for Love,” “Shadows and Darkness,” and “Heroes and Messiahs,” among others. Each chapter begins with a biblical reflection on its subject, then explores the ways we see those ideas echoed in various examples of film and television. Cosper often refers to examples that one would not normally expect a Christian book to refer to (films of Quentin Tarantino, most notably), yet they are examples that will be known to a majority of readers. Each chapter concludes with a summary of the topic. Cosper ends the book with an “Epilogue,” along with a message to Christian filmmakers, imploring them to tell good stories.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. An easy read, the subject matter is one that I have had interest in for many years. By using popular examples of visual media, Cosper demonstrates that he desires to engage with a wide audience. It is unlikely that every reader will know every example to which he refers, but most readers will be familiar with a good percentage. Regardless, Cosper does such a fine job introducing and summarizing his examples that readers, as in my case, will find themselves wanting to check out the ones they may not have previously known. In terms of content included, readers should know that several of the films and television shows Cosper references are intended for mature audiences. It is also important to note that he does not endorse any of these films or television shows as “Christian,” nor does he try to rationalize objectionable material. Rather, he is showing that there is a universal longing in humanity for truth and redemption that manifests itself in these art forms.

Particularly of interest to me was chapter 9, “Heroes and Messiahs.” Cosper discusses the wealth of stories that tell of the hero that comes to save humanity, and how all of these hero stories parallel, to some extent, the story of Christ. One of the prime examples of a hero in our culture’s stories today is Superman, the near flawless hero that was sent to earth to protect and lead humanity by example. While there are many who think Superman is “too good,” Cosper explains why he seems to stick around:

“We want someone like him to exist, someone who can end wars,
who faces down bullets and bombs like they’re harmless, and
whose power is in good hands. We want someone we can trust to
save the world (184).”

The parallels to Christ are obvious, and Cosper is suggesting that our longing for someone like Superman is really showing our longing for the One who truly did come to save world. This general purpose and method of Cosper’s book make it difficult to put the book down.

The Stories We Tell is a valuable resource for pastors, professors, students, and artists that are interested in apologetics, evangelism, theology of culture, and philosophy of the arts. Cosper’s writing is straightforward, engaging, and packed with lots of information to digest and contemplate. While there are seemingly endless opinions competing with each other on how the church can “reach the culture” around us, The Stories We Tell invites us to step back and reflect on why we are moved by stories and why specific themes continually engage us on deep levels, suggesting that it is because our stories echo humanity’s universal longing for the eternal truth and redemption that is rooted in Christ.

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Stranger Things 2 Review

Season 2 has arrived and the gang is back with an all new adventure taking place roughly a year after the events of the last season.

In the summer of 2016 Stranger Things captivated the world. The show broke out like a wildfire, to become one of Netflix’s best critically and commercially received series. The first episode of Season 2 had 15.8 million households watch it on television. That is the second most watched event for this entire year.

In case you somehow missed the world wide phenomenon, the Netflix original series beautifully combined a Spielberg kid adventure film, with a Stephen King novel, and a John Carpenter film. Oh, and if that isn’t enough to sell you on Stranger Things, the series is set the 80’s. The nostalgia is strong with this one. If you haven’t seen the first, quit reading this review, and go binge watch 14 hours and 10 minutes of excellent television, and then return.

Season 2 has arrived and the gang is back with an all new adventure taking place roughly a year after the events of the last season.  Season 2 is a very different animal from Season 1 in some ways (clearly a larger budget, different tone, larger expanded world), but it still contains much of the charm of the first season (80s setting, great cast of child characters, mystery, monsters). There will probably be some debate on which season is better. For my money, I give the slight edge to Season 1, but in no way is this a knock against Season 2. Stranger Things Season 2 is still fantastic, immensely enjoyable television.

Season 2 had an impossible task of not only capturing the greatness of the first season, but also expanding on the world in new ways at the same time. So many movies and shows fail in a sequel. Happily, Season 2 is a resounding success. It is clearly still a Stranger Things show, all the core cast is back, and just as good as the previous season. The Duffer Brothers manage to build on the world of Season 1 in organic ways that enhance the story and characters. Personally, I would have enjoyed for Eleven to spend more time with the group, and for Mike to have more of a center stage still in this season.

That being said, Stranger things gave us great new pairings in Lucas and Max, and Steve and Dustin. I would watch a spin-off of the Steve and Dustin Paranormal Adventures in a heartbeat. It also has a break out performance given by Noah Schnapp who plays Will. This series is chalk full of great performance from all of the child actors, to veteran actors such as Sean Astin, who brings great depth to Bob, a character that would have otherwise been a throw away character.

Netflix has again provided a stellar season of television. Season 2 of Stranger Things is a worthy successor to the first season and therefore I highly recommend it.

Spoilers follow….


Season 2 wisely does not ignore the trauma characters experience from the events of Season 1. The fallout of Season 1, provides the impetus for much of Season 2’s character arcs. Joyce is recovering from the trauma of almost losing her son Will, she cannot bear to let him out of her sight. Will in turn is suffering from the effects of being stuck in the Upside Down place. Mike listens every day for lost Eleven to speak through the walkie talkie. Nancy struggles continuing the façade of being a normal high school student, death of her friend Barb. Hopper in caring for Eleven is dealing with the loss of his dead daughter.

Stranger Things does not shy away from this trauma, but uses it to mold the characters in new directions. In the end all the characters recover from their trauma through the love and care of others. Nancy discovers her strength and seeks justice for her friend Barb. Joyce’s sheer determination gives her strength to save her son. Hopper finds restoration in caring for Eleven. Mike and Eleven are finally reunited. There are monsters in this world, and every day people suffer through trauma brought about by a fallen world filled with death and despair. The Church is in positon with the resources to meet these needs. We have a hope in Jesus, that all wrongs will one day be righted, all tears will be dried. The Gospel provides hope and peace to those in needs. Jesus is able to cut through even the deepest trauma to restore people.

For much of Season 2 Eleven (I guess I should start calling her Jane now) is separated from the group. While I longed for her to be with the others more in the story, her separation created a fascinating character arc. Jane is alone and scared, angry and sad. She is a girl in search of a home. The theme of home often in Jane’s story line. Hopper tells Jane she is home at the cabin. Later Jane is told she can be home at her mother’s place. In episode 7 Jane discovers another girl with powers; sister of sorts. Eight tells Jane that is at home with Eight. At the end of the episode Jane realizes that home is where her loved ones are. Home is with Hopper, Mike, and the rest. Jane’s reunion with the group was captured beautifully. With Dustin, Lucas, Mike, Joyce, and Hopper, Jane had found what she longed for; a home, a community, love, and acceptance.

Stranger Things is at its best when it focuses on the kids and their relationships with each other. The kids have a strongly defined community. Those of the group share mutual love and respect for each other. They follow several simple rules, two of the foremost being friends don’t tell lies and friends always keep promises. This authentic honesty and faithfulness to each other fosters a community of children who truly love each other. Furthermore, each kid is willing to sacrifice their lives for the other. They truly bear each other’s burdens. They are known by the love they have for one another.

Stranger Things Kids

The Stranger Things kids mirror what the Church should be; a community of authentic followers who are known by the sacrificial love they have for one another, and a willingness to bear one another’s burdens. When they children fail to follow the guidelines of honesty and love, the community suffers. It is only when each member of the group is working together using their various gifts and strengths that the group is able to overcome the newest threat. In the same way the group needed each individual, so too does the Church need each member of its body.

One of the main themes of Stranger Things is that there exists a parallel world know as the Upside Down place. The Upside Down is dark and cold, twisted and decaying. It spreads like a choking weed or a virus. The Upside Down is ruled by a malevolent force (the smoke monster) which desires to conqueror and corrupt the normal world. I cannot help but see the Upside Down place as a representative of the world we now live in post Eden. Eden, the idyllic paradise and home was lost with the fall of Adam. We were corrupted, creation was cursed, and we were exiled from our home. The world is now full of evil, twisted and cold, dark and decayed. Sin has infected everything like a diseased choking weed. The world was turned upside down.

All of creation groans for restoration. Much like Will in season 1 we are trapped in the Upside Down Place. This is something we all intuitively feel. We know that there is something terrible wrong with this world. We feel the malevolence, the darkness and the cold. Christianity offers hope that the Upside Down world will be restored and redeemed. God descended down to this upside down place in the person of Jesus Christ; the light in the darkness. Only in Jesus is an upside down place turned upside right. This is the Gospel that Christ will reverse the effects of sin and death, he will restore creation, and he will rescue those who put their trust in him. God has determined to use his Church as the means of rescuing people from the upside down place. We have the cure to the twisted virus that has infected the hearts of people. That cure is Jesus who has conquered the grave. Christians are called to be a light who shines through the darkness of this upside down world; pointing lost souls to the one who can return them home.

“The Stranger Things kids mirror what the Church should be; a community of authentic followers who are known by the sacrificial love they have for one another, and a willingness to bear one another’s burdens.”


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