Pride and a Protocol Droid

C-3PO: I do believe they think I am some kind of god.

Han Solo: Well, why don't you use your divine influence and get us out of this?

C-3PO: I beg your pardon General Solo, but that just wouldn't be proper.

Han Solo: Proper???

C-3PO: It's against my programming to impersonate a deity.
Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi

While George Lucas may not be able to write good romantic dialogue, he sure can hit on some very important theological elements. This is one of them.

I know we are not droids (for those of you not up to speed on Star Wars: droid = robot), nor would I wish to be one. As a Wesleyan-United Methodist, I stand firmly in the belief in free grace which leads to free will.

It is from this understanding that I cannot conceive of how easily fundamentalist beliefs (across denominations and religions) can so quickly turn to a desire to, in C3PO's words, "...impersonate a deity." But then, we live in a time and world where no one seems able to withstand the pressure to "...impersonate a deity" when asked.

Hearing Rush Limbaugh's claim to have "talent on loan from God" has gotten fairly stale many years? But then so has the entire media approach to being wiser than the world. There have been far too much attention on these impersonators for me to add anything more to the conversation.

My personal observation is that politicians need to stop reading their press clippings (just take note of a number of football teams recently). Everyone has their skeletons in the closet. It is way beyond time to hide them and certainly disingenuous to act or speak like one is above it all. Want to point fingers at this president? Go back through history and you'll find it true of all of them at some point.

And least I forget, we in clergy have had to deal with this continuously. Sure, go through history and the Church and clergy have erred in many ways. Maybe the biggest was in accepting and acquiescing to Constantine. Rather than serving the Deity, the Church began impersonating one. With rise of the Protestant reformation, came a rise in little impersonators. More than one clergy I know has fallen into the trap of "...impersonating a deity." More than one, has then fallen from their role.

It is frighteningly easy to begin the journey down this road. It starts as easily as
"Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit"-- yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, "If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that." As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil.(James 4:13-16 ESV)

If at any point you begin to hear such thoughts come from me, I give you permission to send out a Wookie after me. After all while certain droids don't impersonate deities, droids also, "...don't pull people's arms out of their sockets." Sometimes we all need a little readjustment.

May I Ask? When have you felt the urge recently to show off your "deity impression?" Did you? Why or why not?

May I Suggest? Consider what prompted it. You might need your own personal "Wookie" or a good friend to pull an arm out of socket (or just smack you in the head) the next time it happens. Trust, me, it is for the best. Besides, they'll go back into place...eventually.


Anonymous said...

Great post for those like me who learned their first lessons of ethics while munching movie theater popcorn.

Ken L. Hagler said...

Thanks John. I worry however for a generation now who may miss the ethics which are clouded by poorly thought out ideas clothed in incredible special effects.

For the few thoughtful pieces that do engage questions of morality, spirituality and ethics, such as Hellboy and Iron Man, there seem to be the continuing glut of nothingness.

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