Archive for the ‘Film’ Category

‘Bronson’ and the Search for Meaning

July 28, 2010

I’ve just watched the ferocious film ‘Bronson’ which is a take on the life of Michael Peterson a.k.a. ‘Charlie Bronson’ – whom the newspapers styled as Britain’s most violent prisoner. Tom Hardy gives a searing performance as the rather unhinged Peterson who, as the film continues, increasingly descends into virtual insanity. At various times in the film several characters ask ‘Charlie’ what he wants – whether immediately or for his life. As we near the finish it has become clear that whatever he longed for he wasn’t going to get it. In fact, the film leaves us with a desperate, lonely, distraught, pitiable creature clinging to an utterly futile existence. Without hope; a wasted life with some 26 of his 30 years imprisonment spent in solitary confinement.

I couldn’t help but reflect on this overwhelmingly tragic tale. However warped his perception, Peterson sought after a meaningful life. Instead, he is caged and abandoned to his deranged ravings and the unfulfilled fantasies of what his life might have been. Although this was an extreme example, many people live similarly wasted lives, limping through their days, broken and without hope or aspiration, crying out for meaning. This is why it is incumbent, no, morally imperative for us to bring the good news that the Creator God has broken into our world through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus and by his Spirit. Nothing is the same anymore, all wrongs will be righted, all sorrows comforted, and all wounds healed. This God has made it possible for us, as deeply flawed as we are, to live authentically, to discover our true humanity, who this God intended for us to be – both to him, to ourselves, and to one another.

Not all of us are gifted evangelists, I wish I was but I’m not. Nonetheless, as wounded healers, we followers of Jesus can be there for others, give our personal presence, and demonstrate love in word and deed. This broken world of broken people needs comfort, compassion, restoration, and to know and feel the loving presence of the triune God. A life without the God known in the face of Jesus and by his Spirit is a half-life, wasted, and ultimately meaningless. What a needless tragedy.

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