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I’m Going In…

March 18, 2013



One of my favorite movies is The Matrix. I’m operating under the assumption you’ve seen it.

My second-favorite scene in the film is when Neo visits the Oracle and she tells him he’s not the One.

One of my favorite scenes is when Neo decides to take action to rescue Morpheus. He takes into account the possible danger but remains undeterred. He knows he’s not the One, but he’s not going to let that stop him from trying to rescue his friend from the Agents’ captivity.

Y’see, up until this point he’s been told he’s supposed to be the guy who stops the Matrix and the machines and then frees humanity. As Cypher says, “Man, what a mind job!” That is a heavy load to bear. Not long before, Neo was just Thomas Anderson living a humdrum life in a cubicle and escaping into the adventurous life of computer hackery at night. Then suddenly he’s told everything, everything he’s ever known is a lie, a fabrication, a falsehood, and that his purpose in life is to bring it all crashing down.

So when he’s tested, to see if he can bend/break the rules inside the Matrix, he fails miserably. He doesn’t believe, most of the people around him don’t believe, and when the person who knows (Oracle) tells him, he’s relieved because obviously he’s not the One. He’s accepted the reality of the Matrix and the possibility of it being busted up, just not by him.

Then things get hairy and he has no choice but to move into action. You remember the rooftop scene when he and Trinity first confront an Agent and he does the crazy leany-back thing – that was just instinct – he wasn’t thinking about it – he had an objective and bullets weren’t going to stop him. Yet, you can’t rely on instinct alone, as evidenced by the one bullet grazing his arm. Adrenaline only takes you so far before intentionality has to take over to see you through to the end.

As the rescue op continues, Neo starts doing more and more extraordinary things until he’s faced, one-on-one, with Agent Smith, the most dangerous of all the Agents.

My absolute most favorite moment in the film is when Neo has a chance to run, but instead he strikes his kung-fu pose and beckons Smith to attack. Shivers me timbers every time.

C.S. Lewis’s book, Perelandra, has the same basic premise. If you haven’t read Lewis’s Space Trilogy, do yourself a favor and pick it up on your Kindle or at your bookstore or something – it’s a fascinating read. Perelandra is the second book in the trilogy.

The story is about another hapless man, chosen out of his ordinary world to stop the forces of evil, unsure of his abilities, plagued with self-doubt until he has his Neo moment (though with Perelandra pre-dating The Matrix by a good 50 years or so, perhaps it’s more appropriate to think of Neo having a Ransom moment) and he realizes he has everything he needs in his bare fists to get the job done.

I have a deep appreciation for the stories of Ransom and Neo in that we often over-think, hype up and psych ourselves out of daunting tasks set before us. Things that call us out of our comfort zones and into danger with unpredictable results and a fate that’s even more unsure. Being called out by forces greater than ourselves, that we perhaps were aware of but never really, fully experienced.

It’s something I struggle with frequently.

As a Christian, I am commanded to tell others about Christ. Not to force my views on people, just to say, “Hey, all of us are in danger of hell because Adam screwed up, but God, who started everything, sent His Son to pay that penalty so we don’t have to worry about hell. All we have to do is believe in Him and turn away from sin.” Basically, kind of playing out the role of Morpheus, if you think about it. Red pill or blue pill? Jesus or self? Heaven or hell? Which do you want? Definitely outside the comfortable zone of small talk…

Yet I oftentimes quail at the idea. I fear people’s reactions – the fear of mankind – from ridicule to rudeness, to mockery…. It’s something that’s come up most recently and I’ve been wrestling with it the last couple of weeks.

But then I remember boot camp and psyching myself up over that and all that it entailed. When the time came I just said, “Eff it” and, in one case literally, jumped right in. That’s how my girlfriend put it to me – it’s just like jumping into a pool from the high(est) dive. It’s something I already knew, but I needed to hear it again from another believer. When I don’t think about it – too much – yet still have that grain of intentionality, it’s too easy.

And there is a point where the command becomes a joy. It’s not out of obligation that I want to share the gospel; I have to check myself sometimes, but at the root it’s not just out of wanting to be a good Christian that I want to share; but it’s when I have those moments of clarity, of realizing the love of God – the extent to which He went to save me. Me – I – who so often take the gift of grace for granted.

When I tell people my story, how can I not tell them about the love of God? Without Jesus I’d probably be in a second or third miserable marriage, hating life, seeking relief from the daily grind in sex, probably drugs (definitely alcohol), in fantasies, in my work – the times I let my memory lapse, I do fall back into old cycles of fulfillment, most significantly in being accepted and liked by people.

If I bring up religion I’m probably not going to be liked very much…

But what’s more important: being who I think people want me to be or just being me?

Being yourself wins every time.

If you’re a Christian, yeah, a little nervousness is natural at first – the first time I did go off the highest dive I was a little scared, but I did it anyway and then did it about 15 more times because it was awesome.

But don’t ever be ashamed of who you are – especially your faith. On the opposite end of the spectrum, and I am speaking from experience there as well, don’t be a jerk. The operative term is “share” your faith, not “force” your faith. After all, it is the work of the Spirit through the words we speak that people are saved – not our words alone, certainly not our own works.

In the words of Five Iron Frenzy:

I’m going in like a kamikaze


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  1. “Being yourself wins every time.” I love that. I too come from a Christian perspective, but my faith has grown physically over the last few years. Having lived in Asia where most people are NOT Christian, I’ve come to believe God is bigger than I previously thought. MUCH bigger…. But I would never force religion down anyone’s throats. I specifically try not to do that on my blog. I’m looking for honesty and the universal appeal, because that’s what I think God does, too…

    Great post.

    • Thank you. Your faith has grown physically? I might be over-thinking it, but how do you mean? I’ve been to SE Asia a couple of times – Thailand and Laos both times, spending weeks at a time in Laos. I know what you mean about God being much bigger; so big, in fact, our biggest word for big (whatever that may be) does Him injustice. I try to be mindful about how I share my faith – via here and in face-to-face interactions. I really enjoy your blog.

      • Hi, Chuck! I’m sorry for my delayed response… What do I mean by physically bigger? Perhaps that was a silly way to put it, but I can just no longer believe that God is confined to one “truth” that all must accept in order to be “saved.” Religion is so cultural. God is outside of culture. At least I hope He is!

        I really liked what you had to say about the way you share your faith. I think my Christian perspective comes through my writing even though the purpose of my blog is not to preach, but to explore. I’m glad you like it. I like what I see on your blog, too!

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