Saturday, September 24, 2011

A Christological Person of Interest

Perhaps the remainder of the season for CBS's new show Person of Interest will prove my theory wrong. But for now, at least having watched the pilot episode, I think this show has a peculiar Christological bent - or as I theorized yesterday on facebook - a "twist" to it. All joking aside, it really was Jim Caviezel's character (fyi: Caveziel played Jesus in Mel Gibson's Passion of the Christ) who started me wondering if there would be any Christ figure in this story as there almost always are in action/suspense/drama flicks. It's part of the thing that makes them tick: the Christological subplot, "greater love has no man than this, that one lay down his life for his friends." That's one of the reasons we gentlemen love our action movies. We like to see the good guy win, kick some ass and then send the bad guys right back where they belong.

Initially when watching it I thought - well no, just because Caveziel played Jesus doesn't mean there's going to be anything remotely Christian here. Jesus isn't under every rock and tree or behind every film strip and wide-screen TV. Perhaps it was just the Widmer Oktoberfest talking. But then I kept watching - a show I turned to simply because "Ben" from Lost was in it - I watched and beheld a man, a bum quite literally, show us there's more to man than his clothes and outward appearance, no matter how sorrowful, outcast or downtrodden he looks. I saw a man who looked like nothing - he had no form or appearance that we should look at him, except in derision and mockery (as some thugs did on the subway), a guy who's family had left him or died, without friends -  thwart the attempts of evil.

But as the Finch character (Ben from Lost) became part of the story, the christological waters deepened. There's definitely a father/son relationship forming here all for the sake of rescue and saving.  Perhaps this is a bit of a stretch to make the next claim, but there's might even be a trinity of sorts: Finch (father) sends the Son (Caveziel) by means of the machine (Spirit) or the other cop who is yet to be involved. Anyhow, like I said, perhaps that's a stretch. Not to mention, analogies always break down somewhere, somehow. If they didn't they would be the real thing.

So, look past the Big Brother part of it all - the cameras, the Internet, the vast array and quick spread of information, the remarkable ways that are possible for people to intrude in our lives and vice versa (all of which are legitimately frightening in their own right). I think part of that is the foil, the rhetorical device or the visual image used by the writers (such as wizards and wands in Harry Potter) in order to carry the story along. That's what makes comic books work so well too, btw.

There's something to be said for a man who watches our every move in order to rescue/save someone from something an evil/wicked situation. Even the people they are trying to help are called irrelevant. Sounds very similar to something else the real Jesus Christ said:

"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
   because he has anointed me
   to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives
   and recovering of sight to the blind,
    to set at liberty those who are oppressed,

19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor." (Luke 4)

And for all this, the main character(s) will be hated - in fact will be hunted by the authorities, no doubt  Eventually, in their own words, these men will even die for what they are doing.This is why the Batman Dark Knight was a great christological movie. The one man that was the protector of all was hated by all. Thankfully, Jesus didn't dress up in funny costumes or follow us on Twitter. He took on human flesh. Hated by all, including his own people. Came to die for all people, irrelevants, losers, outcasts and sinners. Or in the words of tomorrow's Gospel reading: hookers and crookers get into the Kingdom of God. And thank God for that. For all this - for all that he was and is, said and did - he is hunted and gives his life, lays it down willingly, like a sheep to the slaughter. He only opens his mouth in blessing for us and in agony to the Father. And he does it all for you.

 But what about the vigilante mentality, you say? Isn't that bad for civil society? Perhaps in its proper kingdom (the civil realm) it is, but I'm not so sure Spiderman and Batman would be the same if they weren't hated by the ones they were sworn to protect. Because even as they are hated they point us to him who was hated by all for our sakes, a true man of sorrows. Not a dark knight or a masked man. A true suffering servant. He is the one in whom all the shadows are fulfilled (even the ones who hide in the shadows for the good of others, for their rescue, salvation and protection). But the vigilantes, "They take the law into their own hands, that's not justice" we cry foul. Yes, but did not Christ do the same thing? Did he not take the Law into his own hands, quite literally, all the way through flesh and bone into death. Who is this Jesus who takes the Law into his own hands fulfilling every last jot and tittle with every last drop of tentatio. He gives his life for you, you who are in need of protection, rescue and saving. He even kicks the devil's ass on a Friday afternoon and sends him back to where he belongs. And in Jesus' death you are no longer irrelevant. You who were outcast are no brought back. You who were captive have been released. You who were dead are now alive. That's how Jesus defines justice: a bloody crucifixion as he lays down his life - so that his enemies can become not just friends, but sons, heirs and more. In Christ you are forever a person of interest. Even when it appears that no one is watching.

No comments:

Post a Comment