Let’s Talk About Twilight

I know. Twilight, Justin Bieber…I promise that I’m a grown adult and not a lovesick teen. But I truly believe that our creative faculties as humans come from God, and are therefore good to some degree. That means that all truly good art and music and movies reflect God on some level, and knowing Him more completely opens the door to seeing Him everywhere. Even in Twilight.

There are two specific reasons why Twilight has appealed to the masses. While it is exciting and, in my opinion, Meyer knows how to tell a story, the theory behind the love reflects two very distinct points about the relationship we crave with God:

1 – To Become Like Our Lover

Bella is obsessed with becoming like Edward. It is almost tiresome how badly she wants to be turned into a vampire and be his forever. She turns away from her friends, her family, and everything she has ever known because she is in constant pursuit of this one wish. While this obsessive, single-focused love seems unhealthy for us mortals, it is precisely what we are called to have with God. How different would my life be if I was this obsessed with becoming God’s? After all, our goal as Christians should be to become as Christ-like as possible so that we may spend eternity with him, by his side.

2 – To Be Fiercely Pursued

By Edward

I know that it has always been my deepest desire to be pursued. And no matter what criticism Twilight takes, no one can deny that Edward pursues Bella beyond reason, beyond all common sense, even to the point of being creepy. Isn’t that exactly what Christ does for us? There is absolutely no reason why He should pursue us. We are fragile, tiny, specs. We are humans. We are gone in a blink of an eye. He is something immortal, unbreakable, divine, and yet He chooses us. He waits for us. He has waited centuries for us.

He has died every day waiting for you. He has loved you for a thousand years. And will love you for a thousand more.

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By Jacob

Okay. So a lot of people were frankly disturbed by this whole “imprinting” situation where a werewolf is able to imprint on a lucky girl, and it’s like, as Jacob puts it, “All of a sudden, it’s not gravity that is holding you to the planet, it’s her. You would do anything, be anything for her.” Pretty intense, right? What drew me in about this situation wasn’t the involuntary adoration and commitment by the wolf, but the response it elicits in the woman. Jacob talks about how unlikely it is that a person would ever reject that level of admiration, commitment, care, affection, and honest, genuine love that is exactly what you need, when you need it. And we agree with him.

So if Christ offers me this powerful, other-worldly, unending, and absolute love, who am I to reject it? He offers me, in one relationship, everything I could ever need from another person.

All I have to do is be open to receiving it.

Severus Snape: A Tribute

The death of Alan Rickman saddened me more than I would’ve ever expected from a person I have never met. I was, in fact, a little embarrassed that the news made me cry, but after I figured out why I was feeling that way, it seemed completely natural.

First, I recently lost my mother to cancer, and now the word makes me feel so much both for the people who must suffer through it and for the family who must watch. It is a vile disease that steals a person’s body away, but it is also a disease that brings about more love, understanding and true character than any other I have witnessed.

Second, Alan Rickman did his job remarkably well. So much so, that every time I saw him on screen I fell in love: I personally identified with Alexander Dane, I was captivated by Elliot Marston, I wanted to be wooed by Colonel Christoper Brandon, and, of course, I was madly in love with Professor Severus Snape.

Now I want to start this with three disclaimers, just to get them out of the way.

  1. I am a recent Harry Potter fan. While I have seen all of the movies, I have yet to finish reading the series. I understand that they are much better and say so much more about this character than I am aware yet, and I can only say that I am looking forward to discovering him more.
  2. I am a recent Harry Potter fan. I was not allowed to watch or read the series as a child. I support this decision of my parents’ 100% and will probably not allow my children to read the series or watch the movies until they are older. If you want to talk to me about why, feel free to leave a comment.
  3. I am an enormous Snape fan. I have been thinking about writing down my thoughts for a while now, but they still feel disjointed and not enough. So forgive the length of this post.

 

Severus Snape

Long ago I had a teacher. A sallow-skinned Slytherin with long black hair. I hated him and he seemed to hate me, too. And though I branded him a coward he was, in fact, the bravest man I ever knew.

Always picked on, always misunderstood, always hated. But he was clever and oh, so very brilliant and, despite the lack of love given to him his entire life, he had the largest heart that I have ever seen in any character. He loved so fervently, so irrevocably, that not even after she married his tormentor, not even after she died,  did he cease to love her.

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And when I say love, I mean love. There are countless characters who “love” so “deeply” that they become cynical, cruel, and revenge-thirsty after their love has been taken from them, whether by another person or by death. Instead, Snape’s love changed him in a completely different way. It saved him from the clutches of death, it brought him to the light, and it allowed him to care for a child that was not his. Snape’s love made his large heart brave and loyal. Snape’s love made him good.

And that’s the only thing that love should ever make us.

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Lilly Potter

She had a way of seeing the beauty in others, even, and perhaps most especially, when that person couldn’t see it in themselves.

I am often so taken by Snape’s profound love for Lilly that I forget that Lilly was a beautiful, loving, and exceptionally kind person. One that is so so so rare in this world. Seeing the good, seeing the beauty in every person, even when they can’t understand it themselves, is what real love is about. And I do not believe that Snape would’ve been the character he turned out to be had Lilly been less of who she was.

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Snape and Lilly understood love. And they both allowed that love to transform them.

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Cover photo cred: Nathaniel Emmett

justin bieber

Say What, J Biebs?

Ok. I know. Justin Bieber. But stay with me.

For years, he’s been the butt of so many jokes, the “bad boy” who was really just a little teenage punk with money. But his last album was not only on point, it was on the verge of inspirational. Normally I would blame these kind of emotions on the glass of moscato that I just inhaled, but I’ve been obsessed with his album Purpose for a long time now, and I’m not alone.

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We’ll just gloss over the fact that the Purpose album contains songs such as: Life Is Worth Living, Trust, and, well, Purpose.

I want to talk about Love Yourself.

The first dozen or so times I listened to it I figured that the line: “you should go and love yourself” was just a clever adaptation of a more explicit phrase, with which I will not foul my keyboard. But the more I think about love, the more I’m considering that this song could be saying so much more than I initially gave it credit for – whether Biebs meant it to or not.

If you haven’t heard it yet, you should. You can watch the music video here.

At first, the song seems like your average breakup song, equipped with zingers like:

My mama don’t like you and she likes everyone.

or:

I fell in love, now I feel nothing at all.

But it’s not.

It’s surprisingly calm for a breakup song. It gives facts and is completely straightforward, as if to say “yeah, this happened, but I’m okay with how everything turned out” – in stark contrast to Gwen’s new Used to Love You, which is full of emotion and confusion and crying. Oh my word, so much crying.

Instead, the focus of Love Yourself is on the girl, not on himself. It talks about how she should be something, but most of all, how she should love herself. And I think he genuinely means it. I think he’s really trying to tell her to love herself, because it’s clear that she doesn’t. She is self-centered, annoyed with people, and it seems she is incapable of returning love or even affection. She makes him feel small and doesn’t respect him when he’s vulnerable.

And I know from personal experience that those are all symptoms of a woman who doesn’t love herself, who can’t love herself. I am that woman, or I have been for a very long time. And Justin Bieber was the one who made me ask myself:

How can you love others when you don’t love yourself?

Whether he intended to or not, Justin Bieber created a song that says something remarkably true about mankind as a whole. While we are constantly blaming others for their insufficiency, the real problem starts in the deepest recesses of our own hearts.

It starts with our refusal to love.

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A Study In Doctor Who

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This moment is what started it all for me. There had been hints here and there, sprinkled throughout my life like a seasoning you can’t name but you just want more – but Capaldi’s one sentence, delivered so beautifully,  broke my heart with love. And it had been a very, very long time since that had happened.

Clara had just tricked the Doctor, had gone behind his back and utterly betrayed everything he stood for and everything their relationship meant. And this is how he responds:

“Do you think I care for you so little
that betraying me would make a difference?”

Let’s try that again.

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“Do you think I care for you so little
that betraying me would make a difference?”

My theological training says: “Yes. Of course it matters. Of course my betrayal makes a difference. Of course you love me less because there is less in me to love after I have turned away from you.” But I’ve never really taken into account the other side of the equation. I’ve never really realized that Christ is so much more than that. Because there he is, with his Divine Mercy, unceasingly pouring his heart out for me, relentlessly pursuing my own heart, and tirelessly reaching out to me in hopes that I can see his love for me.

And my betrayal does not change that. It does not alter his burning desire for me. It does not make a difference.

It was when I realized this that I came to admit I have no idea what love is, I have yet to really know who Love is, and  I have lived my entire life not really understanding how to love.

What – Who – How.

I think this is a good place to start.