Order & Chaos

Men set things right

Scene

There’s a fight scene in the movie, Tron: Legacy (2010) that I really like.  Daft Punk provides the music.

The part I enjoy most is when Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges), the maker and creator of the movie’s digital environment, enters the room.  In the middle of the fight, the camera cuts to a tight shot of the floor, onto which a person steps and places their hand, stopping everything.

The lights go out, the music dies and the chaos of the scene stops.  Then, the camera reveals the identity of the arriving character.

To a revitalized beat rises a man dressed in glowing robe; the maker and creator, without whom nothing could have come to be.  The entire room feels the impact of his presence and authority.  His power is effectual; his strength undeniable.

The religious parallel is obvious.

Order

Frankly, I get chills thinking about it, not because the cinematography is awesome, though it is, but because of what that scene provides as an illustration for.  That is, the return of our Creator and his ability to immediately settle the storms of this world.

Christ brings order to chaos.

I try to imagine what the day when Christ returns might be like, knowing full well that my mind likely does not possess the ability.   I envision his return to this world creating a boom that would reverberate through every bone of my body; in every molecule and mountain; in every mind, heart and soul in such a way that would move us in a way as we had never been moved before.  For as meek and modest as was his first arrival to us, so shall his might be when he comes again to judge the living and the dead.

I imagine that if it were possible to feel an impact not merely in our bodies but in our souls, the day Christ lays his hand to the earth and silences all things, that we might hear the slow crescendo of praise emerging from rocks and trees, as every knee bows and evil is not merely ended, but undone–that will be the day, indeed.

Of course, this creates within me both a sense of awe and fear.  On one hand, how wonderful it will be for the Creator to return!  And yet in the same moment, wretched man that I am, who am I to think that I will maintain any posture other than sprawled out upon my face pleading for mercy when that day comes?

But this of course is what makes Christ the Christ.  He is the anchor.  He is the cornerstone.  He is the firm foundation upon which homes and lives ought to be built, lest they crumble and be swept away.

In the same way, this seems to be what Christians are called to be, and I would say men most of all.  Anchors; rocks; unwavering lampposts that remain firm in their position and helpful to the wandering passersby, of which there are many.  This is what it means to be in the likeness of Christ.  This is what it means to be a man.

Dad

It should be a pleasant thing when Dad comes home.  A sigh of relief ought to be breathed when a man who knows his wife, cares for his children and protects his home returns from his time away.  This seems rarely the case, though.

More often, dads–if they’re even present–come home to rolled eyes and untameable chaos.  Respect is a joke because kids rarely understand the need for their father’s protection.  Wives are more often annoyed by their husbands than they are satisfied, and while men once returned from long voyages in which risk and adventure provided for stories to tell, now we return from offices and traffic with meeting notes and policy updates.

Tragedy.

Then of course may be the worst case scenario; the father who returns home and brings not order but chaos himself, because he lives in chaos.  Dad’s drunk or angry or both and his return brings not relief but dismay.  The respect he demands depends not on love but fear, and his unharnessed brokenness breaks those he loves.

To men and myself

Whether father, son, boyfriend, husband, employer or employee, you are a man and as such have the opportunity and perhaps the responsibility to provide as the anchor in your environment.  This is not to say that a woman cannot do the same.  Many women provide calmness within storms, and there is certainly something very comforting about a woman’s touch, be it upon her child or her lover.

That said, there seems to be something sacred about safe male authority, of which Western culture knows very few examples of anymore.  Despite the popularity of feminism and egalitarianism, I no less firmly believe that women by and large crave safe male authority.  Good fathers, steadfast husbands and solid men are all too few, and if I’m honest with you, I’d have to admit that I’m not nearly the example I’d like to be, or that my daughter needs me to be.

Men also require safe men.  Boys need men to become men instead of aged boys, and broken men need slightly less broken men to help them re-anchor.  Every man and woman needs Christ, whether we know it or not, and all of us long for him whether we realize him to be the object of our truest desires or not.

Exhortation

I encourage you, as I hope you will encourage me, to take a deep breath and settle into the unwavering truth of Christ.  If you are in chaos–if the wind is blowing hard and the sea is rocking violently, remember.  Please remember who you are, in whom you are, and who it is that lives in and through you.  And if you do not know, then seek the truth and come to know.  Read Romans.  Read Mark.  Read some stuff at Desiring God.

If you are not in chaos, maybe you should seek it out.  The world is not short on turmoil, and if you are grounded in Christ it may be time to both test your foundation and help those adrift by entering into uncertain waters.  Christ commissioned his men not to be comfortable, but to be purposeful.

Because he is the order.  He is the way, the truth and the life.  He is the Creator of all things, seen and unseen, and his hand upon our souls can bring peace everlasting.

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” – God (John 14:27, ESV)

Word

“What’s the word?”

In the Marine Corps, we had this thing called “word.” Basically, word was pertinent information. It was what you needed to know to move forward with your day and with your government-owned life.

It was a coveted thing because word was not typically made available to everyone first-hand from our Commander, by whom it was issued. Rather, word had to be passed from one echelon to the next, from top to bottom.

“What’s the word,” was a common question in the barracks where Marines might spend hours standing by (waiting) to receive it. For reasons I still don’t understand, it often took a long time to obtain word and pass it to everyone. Bureaucracy, I suppose. There was word of the day, weekend word, etc. Word was what you needed to start your week or be freed on a Friday afternoon.

This concept still exists in communities and circles I am a part of now, except that as a Christian we believe God has not only given us word, but THE word. Made flesh. And it is abundantly available to all.

Unfortunately, unlike new believers in China and Rwanda, American believers like myself largely take the word for granted. Our Bibles are dusty and our Commander is, at best, a counselor, whose orders have been misunderstood as advice to be considered rather than unquestionably obeyed.

In the Corps we heeded word because we feared the consequences of deviating from it. In Christ, deviation from the word is not without consequences, in this life and the next, but unlike in the Corps, the word of God exists not merely to control us. It exists to give us life, that we may share it. Pass it along. Not because we have to, but because we get to.