My friend had talked me into going to see “Star Wars.” After waiting in a long line that wound around the block, we filed into the cinema and selected our seat. While I might have seemed calm, my mind was fixated upon a moral dilemma. For I had been told repeatedly, by so many at my church, that attending the cinema was not merely wrong, but evil. My parents never said this, nor had they explicitly forbidden me to go. Part of me wanted to attend a movie and see what that experience was like. The other part of me preached that what I was doing was morally wrong, and that I was descending upon the road to Hell.
I won't deny it: as we filed into the cinema and took our seats, I scrutinized those I passed by. Did any of them look like thieves, murderers, or in any other way morally corrupt?
Before the movie started, a couple stopped in the aisle. The woman asked me, “Are those seats next to you saved?” Saved? For the life of me, I couldn’t understand how the spiritual process of Salvation could be applied to a cinema chair. This was the last place I would associate with an unbeliever begging forgiveness for past transgressions and making a life-changing commitment to the Divine. My friend leaned past me and told her, “No, they're not saved.” As the couple sat down next to us, my face grew warm. So that was what she had meant by her spiritual-sounding question!
I had been taught that any willful act of disobedience against God’s law would separate me from Him. In consciously withdrawing from my covenant with God, were I to die without recommitting myself to Him, my soul would go to Hell. But Salvation was not an electric switch, to be turned on and off at one’s leisure. To repeatedly sin would harden my heart against the Creator. With each act of disobedience, I would grow less capable of returning to him, until, my heart completely hardened, I could never again receive Salvation. With such thoughts in my head, the lights dimmed, the 20th Century Fox logo appeared on the screen, and the introductory music blared. I prayed that if I had done wrong, then God would make my error apparent to me. After the movie.
I resigned myself to my fate. I vowed to judge the movie on its own merits. Afterward, I would determine whether or not it was wrong for me to attend the cinema, and abide by that decision. As the Blockade Runner hurtled over Tatooine, pursued by an Imperial Star Destroyer, I settled back to watch the movie.
While some might consider it wrong to compare the spiritual process of Salvation in the believer’s life with a young boy’s first cinema experience, there’s no doubt that watching “Star Wars” that evening changed me forever. Had I seen a lesser movie, one with a less-positive message, or one in which the protagonists exhibited loose morals, I might have accepted everything I had been told about the cinema and never returned. Instead, “Star Wars” expanded my worldview. Previously I had enjoyed sci-fi as merely one form of entertainment. Suddenly it became, if not the only form, then certainly the ultimate kind of story. I fell in love with the cinema. I fell in love with movies. More importantly, I learned to trust my own instincts and judgments as to what was right or wrong for me.
|Just a few of my early acquisitions|
(I probably read Splinter a dozen times)
I was always a voracious reader, and my parents supported this interest. Some of the first books I purchased from the grocery store spinner-racks were “Star Wars” books. I also bought “Star Wars” trading cards, comic books, magazines, and action figures. I even painted my own ceramic R2-D2. There were not enough “Star Wars” books back then to satisfy me, so I explored everything in the Science Fiction and Fantasy genre that I could get my hands on. This, by extension, eventually inspired me to write my own stories. This desire transported me on a wonderful journey of transitioning from adoring others' creations to attempting to craft my own.
I’m still traveling down that road. One day, I hope to complete my stories and see them stacked on bookstore shelves. I hope those novels will bring happiness to many, including fans of “Star Wars” such as myself.
On this thirty-fifth anniversary of “Star Wars,” I want to thank George Lucas for preserving and building upon his immortal creation. His movie has brought joy to millions, and transformed many viewers' lives for the better. Including my own.
Related Dragon Cache entries
The ultimate Star Wars party (this is crazy fun)
The original Star Wars trilogy: the Despecialized Edition (this seems a worthy effort)