Ok before I start its only fair to say that my son isn’t a teenager (he’s almost 2 months old) and I’m really not a fan of Avatar. But because I had the opportunity to see the movie and I work with teenagers (and I can imagine my son being a teenager one day), I went to the movies with the eyes of a father. I posted something similar earlier in a post entitled, 3 things I’d tell my Teenage Daughter After Watching New Moon.
Here are three things I’d tell my son after we watched Avatar together…
1. Amazing Story (telling) Does Not Equal Truth
The movie Avatar was one of the most amazing special effects movies I have ever seen (Especially seeing it in 3D). Not only was the cinematography convincing, but the story line drew the viewer into the movie. There were actually people clapping and cheering around us at different parts. It was amazing, but it wasn’t true.
I know, I know your saying, “Duh! Dad, That’s the point.” But I want you to hear me out on this one. We can see things projected on a screen that amaze us. We can allow our imaginations to be invited along on a journey such as this, but we have to understand that this is fantasy. Fantasy can’t inform our logic. Remember, I told you a story about a kid who said he believed that all the miracles of the Bible could be explained by aliens. His interest in science fiction had lead him so far as to believe it more rational for aliens to manipulate us than to believe that God could work in His own creation.
You are an intelligent young man. I am proud of your ability to reason. As I have told you countless times before the faith I hold is my own. I have taught you truth about God, but you must use your own mind to engage the truth about God and come to your own place of faith in Him. It is not enough to blindly follow me on the path I tread. You must seek wisdom for yourself. Your eyes must be open.
2. We Don’t Have to Look to the Movies to See Injustice
You have grown so much from the little infant that once peed on me. I can see you becoming a man more and more each day. You are taking on responsability and helping others.
Do you remember how people were cheering in the movie during the battles scenes? The director did a great job of creating a sense of injustice. Did you see the look on the alien faces when their home was being destroyed? There was so much sorrow and so much anguish. But that was just a movie. In parts of our world today, even in our city, there is injustice. People are being taken advantage of and hurt many times just because of their ethnicity or their beliefs.
It is our responsibility to challenge injustice when we see it. Ultimately all injustice will find its day in the court of our high King who will call for a reckoning of the living and the dead. Every evil dead or act of wickedness will be exposed and called into account. Hell is not a doctrine contrived so that people would conform to faith. Hell is the reality and logical end God’s justice. It is also what makes his love and mercy poured out in Christ so amazing.
That is why we seek to go out of our way to tell others about God. Not only because He is just, but because He is loving. All of us have sinned against others and been sinned against. We all need justice and forgiveness that can only be found in Jesus.
3. Living Vicariously Doesn’t Equal Real Living
I am proud of you for the work ethic that you have developed. I know at times that it was difficult when your mother and I limited the screen time that you absorbed. The truth is that football games, movies (like avatar) and video games are all entertaining, but there is so much more to life than entertainment.
There is a whole sense in this movie where Jake becomes the Avatar. At first its like a video game, but then the lines between his world and the rest of Pandora blend. This may fit well for a movie plot, but it does not bode well for real life. As you grow older and take on the responsabilities of being a man you will have to choose for yourself how you spend your time. My desire is that you would choose to engage in this life fully.
I knew guys who flunked out of college because they stayed up late playing video games. In the end the video games and TV won’t last. The exercise we get from watching SEC football games doesn’t count for us like it does for they guys who are in the game. My prayer for you is that when it comes to how you will live your life and the decisions you make, that you are fully engaged.