Watching LOST is like listening to Jesus

Just a quick follow-up to my LOST post on Monday.

While I realize many are somewhat displeased with the season premiere, I have to say the premiere only endeared me to the show even more. Why?

As I struggled to follow along – pick up little insights here and there only to be surprised by a dead person now alive, or the seeming discontinuity of two stories happening at the same time – it occurred to me that this must of been what it was like for the disciples following Jesus…

No, I am not saying the show is Scripture. But what I am saying is that the show caught our attention, asked us to follow it, and we did. We tried to enter into its logic, its myths. We did so because it was at once strange to us, but also familiar. It recalled sayings and themes that were familiar to us. It displayed Scripture or philosophy, science and industry in ways that were both new and old to us.

But as the show unfolded it began to twist those familiar stories into a different possibility. We struggled to understand how this could be the case. With every answer the show provided we were always confronted with more questions (almost like a parable!) The significance of this should not be lost on us (no pun intended.) We watch media for certainty. Shows are entertainment because they prod us to think, but within the terms of what we think is acceptable or in ways we are willing to be prodded. But LOST seems to take advantage of this impulse by alluring us with themes that we think we know, then twisting them into something uncomfortable, possibilities that seem ridiculous to us.

This seems most evident with the liberal treatment of death and resurrection in the show. Does anyone really die in this frickin show? And yet the frustration we exhibit about a seemingly contrived device of entertainment actually unveils how final we think death actually is. What if death really isn’t the final word? What if we existed in a space where resurrection was possible and frequent? This would not only be scary but perpetually disrupting to those who continued to live.

Watching LOST puts bones on the Bible for me. It calls to mind what it must have been like for the disciples who heard something familiar in Jesus’ proclamation of the promises to Israel but then had to stand awestruck and dumb as he turned those familiar phrases inside out just as he promised the fulfillment of those same promises. Most of all I am brought to the utter confusion disciples must have felt when they saw Jesus arrested and crucified. What did it all mean? Did we miss something? We thought we knew how this was supposed to end! Instead they were met only with questions and silence.

Of course, this silence was met with that most ingenious literary device, the death of death and, inconceivably, the possibility that Jesus’ resurrection is ours… and yet we still must struggle to discern what that means for our lives together.

In saying all of this, I am not saying that LOST IS the gospel. But I do think it gives us an imaginative way of thinking about what it could be like to see ourselves within the gospel.

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