Lost without “Lost”?

Okay, I gave everyone a chance. I was sure someone from the pool of contributors to Every Square Inch would take the challenge of critiquing the end of one of the most successful TV series in history. Well, as Dave would say; “crickets”.

I am a relatively new Lost fan. I must admit my wife and I cheated in following the show. After our fourth child was born, we found ourselves up at all hours of the night and passed the time by streaming “Lost” to our TV through Netflix. It was great. No commercials and every season was right there for the picking. We breezed through the first few seasons and soon found we were certifiably addicted. This was new territory for both of us as the only other show we have ever watched with any regularity was The Office.

Like most of you who were into the show, it wasn’t long before we noticed spiritual and religious references popping up all over the place. As the middle seasons seemed to drag, our interest was captured by the developing plot of good vs. evil and faith vs. science. I began to think some of the writers of the show were actually doing a better job exemplifying spiritual truths than many churches I have attended! And then there was the finale. I wonder if the lack of commentary about the show on this blog is due to most of us still trying to figure out what the heck that was all about?

One of the primary themes of the show which I specifically appreciated was the progressive emphasis of a unifying truth which was inescapable for those on the island. For our modern culture, this type of thematic approach is uncommon in any media, let alone a wildly popular TV series. We observed clear examples of sovereignty, forgiveness, sin, redemption, love and hate repeated in each episode. For that reason, I was dismayed at the ending of the show last week. My disappointment was not in unanswered questions or frayed story lines. I just thought the writers settled for the spiritual status quo. “Do-your-best-and-follow-your-own-path-to-heaven” was the flavor of the night.

Even seasoned critics took the bait and ran with the so-called “Christian” theme. Therein lies my greatest disappointment. In this show, we have been handed a cultural thesis on modern spiritual thought. Ladies and gentlemen, here is what your neighbor thinks about Christianity in 6 very long seasons. The question I have for both you and I is this; are they getting the same message from us?

The show culminates in the main character redeeming himself through his own actions and choices. His reward is an ethereal alternate reality where everything works out like HE wished it would. I know you wouldn’t tell anyone interested in Christianity that this is the story of the gospel, right? But how often does your life demonstrate a gospel of hard work and good choices mixed in with a candy store heaven? I know mine does more times than I care to imagine.

You think I am taking a sci-fi show too seriously? How about this young lady’s response to the season finale;

“LOST was one of the longest relationships I have ever had, and I was sad to see it go. I’ve had a baby and broke off an engagement during that time, but LOST was still there for me! Having said that, I was not disappointed at all, and I thoroughly enjoyed the finale. I was extremely sad, but I also understand why they did what they did with the ending. GREAT JOB!!!” — Emmy Jackson

Can you believe she signed her full name to that? People attach themselves to cultural entities. Like it or not, most Americans get their theology from two places; family and culture. If we want to look in the mirror and see how we are portraying Christ to a generation who has relationships with a TV show, we ought to be able to face the truth. We are not living authentic, gospel-driven lives willing to sacrifice and accept the grace of God. Maybe if we were, a hollywood writer with even an ounce of intellectual honesty wouldn’t be able to call that ending “Christian”.

If you are interested in picking up a pocket-sized mirror which exposes how our culture views Christianity, I would suggest reading Unchristian by David Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons. It takes much less time than watching 121 episodes of “Lost”!

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