June 12, 2006

thank God...we're not God :)

This entire article is from HollywoodJesus.com. :)

The phoenix, Jean Grey, arose
Melinda Ledman

Many things about this film impressed me, but I walked away mostly impacted by Jean Grey. Sitting comfortably in my seat of expectation, I surmised that the primary forces for good and evil would be as clearly defined as previous X-Men films. The “Last Stand” would simply be the final battle of wit and will between Xavier and Magneto. From that comfort zone, the phoenix, Jean Grey (Famke Janssen), arose from the flames of predictability and hung her allegiance in the balances.

Jean Grey really becomes the ultimate villain. She is a force that we the viewers have little capacity to imagine. Rather than being the ultimate evil creature, she is an all-powerful goddess with no defined conscience. She is terrifying, angry, and limitless. Her uncontrollable passion or rage can be ignited by the slightest word or deed of her inferiors. Jean Grey is fickle and conflicted - equally capable of benevolence and evil. Instead of giving us the worst villain imaginable, X-Men 3 gives us a villain we cannot imagine.

Worse than being eternally evil, Jean is eternally unpredictable. When Xavier explains the process he once used to help Jean control her power, Jean ceases to be a known entity. Although part of her can be understood from the past (Jean), the largely unknown side of her mind (Phoenix) is capable of anything. In one scene with Wolverine, she reveals her erratic nature. Wracked by grief over her destruction of a life, she claims, “Kill me now before I kill anyone else.” But as quickly as Wolverine suggests that Xavier can help her fix the problem, she screams, “I don’t want to FIX it!” Knowledgeable of the power she has to destroy, she is also jealous to keep that power.

Worse than being extremely powerful, her power is uncontrolled. When Xavier meets Jean for the first time as a child, he challenges her, “You have more power than you can imagine. The question is, will you control that power or let it control you?” Skip ahead 20 years to the classroom at the school. Xavier teaches his students about the use and misuse of their powers. He drills them on ethical behavior. Then later at the most crucial moment of his life, he challenges Jean again, “Don’t let it control you.” In actuality, we spend the majority of our time hoping and wishing that Jean will gain control of her power. We know that even her good energy has a destructive effect.

Worse than being resolute in her ways, she is influenced by others’ intentions. Despite her profound ability to read and understand men’s motives (exposing Xavier’s desire to control her for good as equal to Magneto’s desire to control her for evil), she still chooses to operate under the influence of others’ motives. When Magneto offers to endow her with great power, she follows her lust for destruction. Yet, when Wolverine pleads with her conscience, she responds with reason and good will.

Jean Grey is the antithesis of all we believe to be good and true about God. It’s difficult to imagine an all-powerful, angry God, although Jonathan Edwards’ sermon, “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God,” gives us a nice taste. And it’s even more frightening to behold on screen. The swirling debris, black eyes, and strained blood vessels (special effects get MAJOR kudos) that came with Jean’s wrath called me to a gratefulness for the God that I know. What if God was unpredictable and we could never know his character or intention for our lives? What if his power was greater than his ability to control it? Worse, what if he based his decisions for this earth on the whim of the latest influence? I shudder to think of what the world would be like if he took my advice half the time. I’m glad God has a mind of his own, and it gives me great comfort to read passages like the ones below that reveal God’s character.

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.” Hebrews 13:8
“For the word of the LORD is right and true; he is faithful in all he does. The Lord loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of his unfailing love.” Psalm 33:4-5

Now, I’m not trying to tone down God’s wrath and power. By all means, he promises to destroy his adversaries one day. Nevertheless, it is not his ultimate will that we die apart from him. 2 Peter 3:9 says, “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise [to come again], as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”

In this muted, toned-down world of mediocrity, X-Men 3 reminds me that God has the power to destroy, and to save. And it inspires me that he chooses to save, despite our ignorance of him (we are like the lady who locks her car door after Magneto moves the bridge). It’s good to know we can rely on his unfailing love, his controlled providence, and his resolute will to prevail against all the evil this world offers up to him.

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