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Friday, February 15, 2013

Into the Wild

I watched the movie, Into the Wild and fell in love with true life story of Christopher McCanless. He was a young man who had been deeply affected by the materialism and rocky relationship of his parents.  He graduated college, but realized that his goal was not the pursuit of wealth, but the pursuit of Truth. So, he abandoned his car and gave away his entire life savings to charity. He found beauty in nature, lived the life of a vagabond, and made many friends along the way. At the end of his life, he found forgiveness for his parents  and gave God the credit for his happy life. 

 I would like to share a few things I learned while watching this movie..

As I watched, I couldn't help but contrast Chris' life to what is being taught in our churches today. I found it ironic that a man with seemingly everything and the world at his fingertips, realized that truth and beauty don't lie in our things.. I saw him, essentially being content with the very few things he owned. I couldn't help but contrast the act of his generosity to the greedy doctrine of the prosperity gospel that tells us that God wants us to have more and more stuff.  I thought of the verse written by the apostle Paul that tells us to simply be happy and content with what we have.. I thought of the verses that tell us not to covet.

I found it beautiful that Chris lived a full life and it wasn't in a way that is considered a "societal" norm. He broke the mold and simply sought out the beauty of experience..and through it all he found God.  One of the last things written in his journal before he died was that happiness is only real when it is shared. I loved how he had underlined a text that says tells us to love our neighbors.

While I was watching the movie, God reminded me how our the pain that we experience is often grace and mercy in disguise. In the movie, we see Chris' parents as very angry and covetous. They placed value on wealth, and Chris was affected when he found out that his was married and left his wife to be with his mom. It was a huge family secret, and he felt as if his life was shrouded in lies.

 When Chris went missing, his parents heart softened. Their weakness in life, when viewed through a spiritual lens, was in essense a strength. So often, we face hardships and trail, but I believe that they are all for a purpose. However, sometimes we find redemption in our hardships and, in redemption, there is life eternal.

The Bible says that "All things work together for the Good" for those who are in Christ Jesus..
The other day I watched a video about sheep. Keep in mind that Jesus is called the Good Shepherd.
I learned that sheep are dumb animals. They are mindless creatures that cannot survive without some sort of guidance. They wander from the herd despite the threat from wild animals and certain death.
But a good shepherd, who loves his sheep, will actually have to physically break the legs of the sheep who stray. In that way, they will never leave his side again. and thought the pain is temporary, what the shepherd has actually done is save the life of the creature.

One day, all of our pain will make sense,,

Another thing I noted is how Chris would make friends with seemingly everyone he met. I loved how he made friends with unlikely characters. How often do we sit in padded pews and judge others with glasses of condemnation. Chris seemed to bring out the beauty in others, and that is part of what I loved about this movie. I couldn't help but wonder what our lives would look like if we threw caution to the wind and went wherever it is that Christ led..
Maybe it would be a remote village in Africa, feeding the hungry..or maybe it would be a cup of coffee on the neighbor's porch..
Maybe God would lead you into a dark nursing home with bouquets of flowers. Maybe your sole mission in life is to make others happy with the light within you. The point that I am trying to make is that when Christ leads and directs our lives..there may be harship and difficulty, but ulitmately there is adventure and beatuy. Christ gives us the ability to appreciate the light and to realize that freedom is not in sin but in service and in love.  " For you have been called to Freedom brothers, not freedom to fall back into your sinful natures, but to serve one another in love."

Today, I reflect on years of tears, and I am happy to know that no matter what life may bring, there is still something to be appreciated. God is good.

anyhow, here are some quotes from the movie. Some might sound a little philosophical. I don't consider myself to be on a quest for "the meaning of life." People waste too much time in thought and we put too little time into loving one another, reading the Word, seeking Christ, and doing what the Word says..

But, I find some degree of truth in these quotes. I can't help but think that Christ wants to pull us out of our comfort zones, and I admire Chris McCanless for his willingless to see past the lure of materialism and delve out of the safety net of day to day living. are the quotes :)

Some people feel like they don't deserve love. They walk away quietly into empty spaces, trying to close the gaps of the past.”

When you forgive, you love. And when you love, God’s light shines upon you.”

I read somewhere... how important it is in life not necessarily to be strong, but to feel strong... to measure yourself at least once.”

“Sometimes he tried too hard to make sense of the world, to figure out why people were bad to each other so often.”

“At long last he was unencumbered, emancipated from the stifling world of his parents and peers, a world of abstraction and security and material excess, a world in which he felt grievously cut off from the raw throb of existence.”

It is the experiences, the memories, the great triumphant joy of living to the fullest extent in which real meaning is found. God it's great to be alive! Thank you. Thank you.”

On July 2, McCandless finished reading Tolstoy's "Family Happiness", having marked several passages that moved him:
"He was right in saying that the only certain happiness in life is to live for others...

I have lived through much, and now I think I have found what is needed for happiness. A quiet secluded life in the country, with the possibility of being useful to people to whom it is easy to do good, and who are not accustomed to have it done to them; then work which one hopes may be of some use; then rest, nature, books , music, love for one's neighbor - such is my idea of happiness. And then, on top of all that, you for a mate, and children, perhaps - what more can the heart of a man desire?"'
“I understood what he was doing, that he had spent four years fulfilling the absurd and tedious duty of graduating from college and now he was emancipated from that world of abstraction, false security, parents, and material excess.”
“So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity, and conservatism, all of which may appear to give one peace of mind, but in reality nothing is more dangerous to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future. The very basic core of a man’s living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun.”
You are wrong if you think Joy emanates only or principally from human relationships. God has placed it all around us. It is in everything and anything we might experience. We just have to have the courage to turn against our habitual lifestyle and engage in unconventional living.

My point is that you do not need me or anyone else around to bring this new kind of light in your life. It is simply waiting out there for you to grasp it, and all you have to do is reach for it. The only person you are fighting is yourself and your stubbornness to engage in new circumstances.”

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