Sunday, November 11, 2012

Interesting Lessons From Unlikely Places

Sometimes, you can find a very interesting lesson in an unlikely place.  Today, I had my "a-ha moment".

I am a big fan of Sci-fi movies and TV series. One of my favorites of all time (aside from all the Star Trek series) is Firefly (the movie version is known as Serenity).  The series is an outer-space western and is smart, witty, and has decent action.

The cornucopia of main characters are Captain Malcolm Reynolds (Nathan Fillion, currently of "Castle" fame) and his trusty First Officer Zoe (Gina Torres, currently of "Suits").  Also included in the cast of characters are Wash the pilot and Zoe's husband (Alan Tudyk), tough guy Jayne (Adam Baldwin-not sure if related to all the other Baldwins), "companion" Inara Serra (Morena Baccarin (recently starred in the new "V" series), Dr. Simon Tamm (Sean Maher), River Tamm (Summer Glau) and Shepherd Book, a Missionary (Ron Glass of "Barney Miller" fame).

General plot is the crew and passengers are smugglers and legal transporters of goods in the outer realms of newly colonized space.  The Alliance (bad guys of the central planets governments who went to war with the Browncoats from the outer planets who were seeking independence) pursues them looking for Simon and River.  River was taken by the Alliance as a young girl and experimented on, and turned into a weapon.

The series only ran for the 2002 season, but it does not reduce the wonders that the show was.  It was created by Joss Whedon (of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Doll House, Dr. Horrible's Sing-a-long, and more recently, The Avengers).  While I own the complete series on DVD, today the Science Channel (Sci) was running a marathon.  I felt the need to watch it since I love the show.  One episode had the following exchange between Shepherd Book and River:

Book: What are we up to, sweetheart?
River Tam: Fixing your Bible.
Book: I, um...
[alarmed]
Book: What?
River Tam: Bible's broken. Contradictions, false logistics - doesn't make sense.
[she's marked up the bible, crossed out passages and torn out pages]
Book: No, no. You-you-you can't...
River Tam: So we'll integrate non-progressional evolution theory with God's creation of Eden. Eleven inherent metaphoric parallels already there. Eleven. Important number. Prime number. One goes into the house of eleven eleven times, but always comes out one. Noah's ark is a problem.
Book: Really?
River Tam: We'll have to call it early quantum state phenomenon. Only way to fit 5000 species of mammal on the same boat.
[rips out page]
Book: River, you don't fix the Bible.
River: It's broken. It doesn't make sense.
Book: It's not about making sense. It's about believing in something, and letting that belief be real enough to change your life. It's about faith. You don't fix faith, River. It fixes you.

The surprising lesson is contained in the last lines of the dialog from Shepherd Book to River as River was "correcting the Bible:" "It's not about making sense. It's about believing in something, and letting that belief be real enough to change your life. It's about faith. You don't fix faith, River. It fixes you."

Probably one of the most profound statements I have heard in a long time: You don't fix faith, it fixes you.  Truth.

From the Bible, we see a definition of faith in Romans Chapter 11.  The first 3 verses are printed below, but the entire chapter contains examples of faith throughout the entire Bible:
"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good report.Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear."
We can't see faith, we have to just believe.  It directs our path, it guides our life, and it gives peace.  Faith fixes us.  Without it, we are all broken creatures.

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