Saturday, July 04, 2009

What If This Isn't Real? Or What If It Is?

I rarely watch television or go to movies (which is funny, because I have a really nice HD television and my daughter works for Cinemark Theatres). But today I watched the last hour or so of "The Truman Show" on TBS. The movie bothers me more than I can say. If you haven't seen the movie, the basic plot summary is this:

In this movie, Truman is a man whose life is a fake one... The place he lives is in fact a big studio with hidden cameras everywhere, and all his friends and people around him, are actors who play their roles in the most popular TV-series in the world: The Truman Show. Truman thinks that he is an ordinary man with an ordinary life and has no idea about how he is exploited. Until one day... he finds out everything. Will he react? Written by Chris Makrozahopoulos {}

At the end of the movie, Truman is in a boat and hits the "end" of the world. The producer of the show talks to him out of desperation to keep him from leaving, and Truman asks, "Was anything real?" After being begged/guilted by the producer to stay, Truman utters his famous words he says nearly every day, "Good morning. And in case I don't see ya, good afternoon, and good night." And he takes a grand bow, and walks through the exit door. And the world cheered as they watched on television.

There is no mistaking two things: one is that Psalm 139 figures prominently in the movie (the sailboat at the end of the movie has "139" on the sail). The other is that the ending of "The Truman Show" is eerily similar to the ending of the C.S. Lewis Narnia book Voyage of the Dawn Treader.

From Eugene Peterson's The Message:
1-6 God, investigate my life; get all the facts firsthand.
I'm an open book to you;
even from a distance, you know what I'm thinking.
You know when I leave and when I get back;
I'm never out of your sight.
You know everything I'm going to say
before I start the first sentence.
I look behind me and you're there,
then up ahead and you're there, too—
your reassuring presence, coming and going.
This is too much, too wonderful—
I can't take it all in!

7-12 Is there anyplace I can go to avoid your Spirit?
to be out of your sight?
If I climb to the sky, you're there!
If I go underground, you're there!
If I flew on morning's wings
to the far western horizon,
You'd find me in a minute—
you're already there waiting!
Then I said to myself, "Oh, he even sees me in the dark!
At night I'm immersed in the light!"
It's a fact: darkness isn't dark to you;
night and day, darkness and light, they're all the same to you.

13-16 Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out;
you formed me in my mother's womb.
I thank you, High God—you're breathtaking!
Body and soul, I am marvelously made!
I worship in adoration—what a creation!
You know me inside and out,
you know every bone in my body;
You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit,
how I was sculpted from nothing into something.
Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth;
all the stages of my life were spread out before you,
The days of my life all prepared
before I'd even lived one day.

17-22 Your thoughts—how rare, how beautiful!
God, I'll never comprehend them!
I couldn't even begin to count them—
any more than I could count the sand of the sea.
Oh, let me rise in the morning and live always with you!
And please, God, do away with wickedness for good!
And you murderers—out of here!—
all the men and women who belittle you, God,
infatuated with cheap god-imitations.
See how I hate those who hate you, God,
see how I loathe all this godless arrogance;
I hate it with pure, unadulterated hatred.
Your enemies are my enemies!

23-24 Investigate my life, O God,
find out everything about me;
Cross-examine and test me,
get a clear picture of what I'm about;
See for yourself whether I've done anything wrong—
then guide me on the road to eternal life.
- Psalm 139, The Message
Do I really want God to know me that well? The fact that He does used to disturb me to no end. I now realize how freeing that is.

Is anything real? Is it all just a dream? Are we just actors - marionettes in a controlled environment manipulated as God wills? I pondered this question for a very large part of my life. Finally, I realized that I was using the word actor wrongly all along; God is the actor in our lives and in creation. We're not puppets or actors - we are children of the Father, fearfully and wonderfully made.

When Truman walked through the exit, he finally knew who he was - not an actor to perform for the world, but a child created to live according to his dreams and gifts. Those come from God - not a script. When we move from seeing ourselves as actors towards being prophets created to dream and vision, we are on our way to being disciples, and disciple-makers.

May we be strong enough to walk out the exit of this world into the Kingdom of God.


1 comment:

rxBambi said...

Great post Sky, and definitely some food for thought.