God, the Greatest “Villain”
Given my disparate following on Facebook and Twitter, this should be a fascinating examination of response to this piece.
I write very little about my faith here. Very little. That’s intentional. This blog is meant to give away my writing, talk about the craft of writing, provide a contact space for those who want to interact with me concerning my writing, and in general celebrate the art form that I have an inkling of gifting in.
But today I am going to talk about faith because I found a peculiar intersection with faith and my writing. Some of you may or may not have watched Netflix’s new Marvel series, Jessica Jones. If you haven’t, it’s very good. Not as good as Daredevil in my opinion, but still worth the watch. David Tennant plays the villain in this series, Killgrave, the Purple Man. Tennant does a masterful job with the role and was my favorite part of the whole series. That said, he was on a talk show discussing the character and said this, “I don’t think anyone who is perceived as a villain believes themselves to be a villain.” He was discussing Donald Trump and I agree with him.
This is one of the ideas put forward by many story tellers these days as a desirable plotline. That the protagonist is only a protagonist from their perspective. That they might really be the villain and not even know it. See the dreadful abomination that is the movie Home, for a heavy-handed example of this.
So all of that premise ahead of me, yesterday I suffered a rather crushing defeat. It wouldn’t make much, if any, sense to any of you even if I outlined it piece by piece. The basic idea here is that I was clearly, totally, and completely beaten. By whom? Well, God. Yes, that God. Whether you believe or disbelieve doesn’t mean much for this story. I can sum it up in saying that several major events over the last six months all collided yesterday to completely destroy me. It was almost poetic. No, strike that, it was exceedingly poetic. It was like watching a film unfold and when all the pieces fit, your breath is taken away and you feel like applauding just the scope of the story, even if it was a dark and tragic thing. (I’m thinking of The Usual Suspects, personally.)
And this made me wonder about the perspective we have and that God has towards us. The bible is fairly emphatic about a number of points and one that offends the living shit out of the majority of people is that God has an ancient, already defeated enemy in Satan and his minions(definitely picturing them as small and yellow here) and a younger, more immature enemy in mankind.
Yes, God says that we, human beings are at “enmity” with him. That from birth, we hate Him. And, to be totally honest, I believe this. The truth of the gospel is that God turns His hated enemies into His beloved children. That’s the core of it. Now let’s look at this from the perspective of men.
Imagine an omnipotent, all-powerful being, who could manipulate every facet of your life from what you eat at breakfast to the type of car you are able to drive, to the color of your clothing through an unimaginable combination of power, intelligence, and understanding of everything from a view outside of and within time, towering above the fabric of the universe and able to observe it at a quantum scale.
If I were writing such a being, even if I were writing them as best I could, I would continually come across as writing them as a villain. Why? Why would such a being, even if I declared them good, seem bad? Moral certainty, for one. Villains in our culture tend to be morally certain. They are convinced they are right and true. They are convinced that history will exonerate their atrocities. Manipulation, for another. The idea that a being can and will shift and move and change the minds of people without consulting with them first is deeply offensive to our modern, enlightened minds. (There is WAY too much to address with what free will actually means, in this post, without adding 10K more words.)
So it makes sense, in a strange way, that Satan and his minions would see Him as villain, because He has already conquered them independent of time. They know they are beaten and are merely exacting what chaos they are allowed during their limited time among the lives of men. But what I am beginning to see is that even what I profess to believe about God does not excuse me from me treating Him as my enemy.
Yes, I just said that. And yes, I mean that. I have fought Him for six months and yesterday He showed me how easy it was to defeat me. How little it required of Him. How deft He is at this particular game. And my response? For now, it was just to throw my hands up, to throw in the towel, to admit my utter defeat. I can’t do anything more or less in the face of what He has done. Well, I suppose I could, but it would be prolonging the inevitable.
So why did I write this piece? Why did I let you in on what’s going on? Because so many of us keep fighting. Those of us who believe, often believe He has an obligation to bless us, to bless our lives, to do something other than be the God of the Universe. Those of you who don’t believe are often angry at what you perceive as unfairness or some other variation on the problem of pain. (How can a good God let bad happen?)
And though I can’t reconcile all the questions you might have, I can tell you what my response is, for the moment: submission. I have given up on trying to fight Him. And I would ask you to ponder after the same idea. What would your life look like if all you did was whisper, just under your breath where no one but God alone could hear you, “Okay, I give up,”? What would life look like if you said, “Change my mind, show me the truth,”?
This is my first post of 2016. 2016 might be worse than 2015 was, but I don’t think it will be. I’m resolved. I’m done. I don’t know what happens next, but I know that I’m at least done fighting Him for what I think I deserve, right now.