Thursday, March 11, 2010


I gave up TV for Lent. However, the 40 days of lent, leading up to Easter do not include Sundays.  Instead on Sundays, you break from your fast in order to celebrate and feast, rejoicing in Christ's victory over death. Well my Sunday is Tuesday, because my TV feast includes a generous portion of the show LOST!

Currently in it's sixth season, I have held firm to my belief since season 1 that this show has to do with faith and is strongly tied to the Christian faith. This promo picture from ABC, (1 of 3, ads used to provide clues/hints into the final season), certainly helped to cement that belief, though I would consider their depiction of the last supper to be sacrilegious.  While the show incorporates themes of Quantum Physics, which I believe could make sense, given that God is inside and outside of time, and perhaps there are some subtle possible hints of reincarnation, I maintain that the overall themes are faith, sacrifice, grace and redemption, the same major themes that serve as the foundations of my Christian faith.

The very best episode of LOST over the last 6 seasons aired this past Tuesday.  Entitled "Dr. Linus",  this episode presented one of the strongest cases for Christian allegory, not to mention one of the most powerful and moving shows ever.   LOST is so deep, involved, and intelligently comprised of subtle hints and facts that I could not do it justice with just a brief overview.  As a result I am simply going to point out some of the obvious parallels to my faith from the last episode, keeping it brief with  just enough to whet your appetite.

Jacob the central figure, whom most of the cast has placed their faith in, was recently killed, leaving his followers feeling hurt, confused, abandoned and even lied to.  All they had believed in and put their hopes in was now gone.  Their dreams, the purpose and plan He said they each had, seemed to die with Him.  This left them feeling deceived, disappointed, frustrated and angry with Jacob. I can't help but think this is at least in part, how the disciples might have initially felt when Jesus died on the cross.  

Like Jesus, Jacob returned, but revealing himself only to Hurley.  Jacob is guiding Hurley, giving him directions, using him to guide the others to their ultimate purpose, a purpose  they have the choice to walk in or deny.

Richard, one of Jacob's followers, who was touched by him and seemingly blessed with immortality (which he now considers a curse), was dejected after Jacob's death, and ultimately found himself at the point of losing his faith.  However ,in an important turn or events, Jack  tells Richard as they sit with a stick of dynamite burning between them, that he knows he won’t die, because Jacob’s been watching him and brought him to the island.  This is a pretty large shift in belief for Jack, who’s never been a man of FAITH, but a man of science (a doctor). I recently read a post by Chris Seay, author of the gospel according to LOST, who noted how Jack's new found "tremendous faith" restores that of the desperate Richard Alpert, adding, "if you haven't been in Richard Alpert's shoes [feeling hopeless and abandoned by God], you likely haven't been living the life of faith very long."


The most powerful theme of the this week's episode is that of forgiveness and redemption.  Ben Linus, who killed his own daughter to protect the island and then killed Jacob, is tempted by who ever has taken over John Locke's body (evil/the devil).  Ben is invited by Locke, to take charge of the island.  A great offer since all Ben has ever wanted, is to be in a position of power. Yet the offer seems futile, considering the fact that he is shackled and digging his own grave, about to be shot, by one of Jacob's followers, Ilana, for having killed him.  Just like that,  Locke frees Ben from his shackles, and he makes a run for freedom, Ilana chasing after him.  Ben enters the jungle and grabs the rifle, which Locke told him would be leaning against the tree, and turns pointing it a Ilana.  Here was Ben's chance to kill Ilana and join John Locke, taking charge of the island, instead he broke down and explained to Ilana, why he did what he did.  Ben expressed remorse, and confessed that He was sorry that He killed Jacob out of anger, confusion and fear. He did not expect to be forgiven, because he could never forgive himself.  The dialogue that followed next left me in tears.

"Then what do you want?" said Ilana. To which Ben replied "just let me leave."  "Where will you go?" she asked. "To Locke" Ben replied. "Why?" she questioned.  Ben answered, weeping "because He's the only one that will have me".  It was Ilana's last words that set Ben free "I'll have you" at that she walked away and Ben followed her, turning his back on John Locke.  Ben now a new man, forgiven and free!

His confession and repentance, broke the hold Locke had over him and Her love and forgiveness on behalf of Jacob, snatched him out of the clutches of the enemy and restored him to community.

There are so many more Christian subtexts in this episode, let alone the series.  Far too many to address in this post.  Do I know for certain how it will all turn out - that LOST will ultimately end in supporting the foundational truth of Christianity? Nope, but no matter how it ends, the themes addressed over the last 6 seasons have at least served as great jumping off points for amazing discussions with people of various beliefs, and understandings, and have been a fabulous non-confrontational way to introduce the foundations of my faith.

If you missed last Tuesday's episode or any from season 6 you can watch them all free online here at LOST

With regards to the promo photo above, I think those on the right end up being redeemed while those on the left reject redemption. There are 13 people, which means fake Locke is eliminated, putting perhaps Jack in his place. That being said, there are subsequent 2nd and 3rd photos, where some of the characters have switched places. ;)

SPOILER ALERT - next week's episode is called  “Ab Aeterno” which is Latin for, “Since the beginning of time.” hmmm...Alpha and Omega - begining and the end...hmmmm....

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