Tag Archives: future

Much ado About Fate- The Adjustment Bureau

Q. As a theologian, what do you think about the movie “The Adjustment Bureau”? Fate or Free Will?
Watch the trailer *Spoilers below*

A.  A new couple goes on their first date and they watch a romantic comedy starring beautiful actors who despite all the odds end up together breathless and happy. This new couple watches the movie and love it because they would like to think their own story will end up similarly. After 10 years of being together our same couple has a date night and goes to another romantic comedy, different movie, same story, same breathless happy ending. This time when our couple leaves they love it because they understand having to overcome the odds and can appreciate the tenacity the on-screen couple felt towards one another. This time they also feel a silent longing they still had the same fire the new couple showed and miss the fireworks from the beginning of their relationship.  Fast forward 40 more years, same couple, same scenario. Romantic comedy, ridiculous circumstances, fabulous happy ending and everyone is winded from the “surprise” these two people actually ended up together at the end of the film.  Only now almost 50 years later they leave the theater hand in hand and laugh. They still enjoyed the film but at this stage in their relationship they have a depth to their relationship younger couples could only dream of and they have tasted what true lasting love really is. Because of their knowledge they leave knowing the movie on the screen only captured a few of the more entertaining bits, but really has no idea what love is actually like.

When I watched “The Adujustment Bureau” I enjoyed the movie for what it was created to be, entertaining. I felt similarly to how the old couple felt with the understanding of how the movie really did not understand what my God is like or how predestination works. While I am by no means an expert on predestination, this is not my first dance with the idea either. We hear it all the time, but has the truth sunk in yet? Hollywood is a valuable tool that shows us a version of reality that will entice people to watch it. Movies regarding the question of fate or free will are no exception to this rule.

The movie did a fabulous job of depicting a reality where angels follow people around to ensure they spill their coffee at the right time, make a specific speech at a crucial junction in their lives, and freeze conscientiousness so they can manually go into our brains and change our minds for us. The reality depicted on screen showed us what life would be like with a “chairman” (this character is meant to depict God) who chooses to force his plan on the world through angels and by forcing us to choose certain things. As a movie consumer I liked the movie and agree to the point of, if I were to live in that reality that is how it would play out. The problem is I don’t live in that reality.

The reality I live in has a creator who’s plan is much larger than whether or not I spill my coffee at the right time. The “Chairman” in our world only has to speak a word for something to happen. His angels, while capable of spilling my coffee, typically do more important things like tell Mary she will have a child that will revolutionize the world. His angels will pour bowls of his wrath on mankind in the end days. His angels stand before His throne worshipping Him, all the time.

As for “the plan” I am of the persuasion that it will be fulfilled through the Church (universal church, meaning believers everywhere throughout time and history). I get that from the idea when Jesus is praying before going to the cross and He asks for us to love one another and to be united in that love (John 17). I get that idea when I read Paul’s prayers throughout his epistles continuously asking for us to be strengthened together so all of us may have wisdom in regards to God’s love (Eph 3:14-20). The idea that the church are His people and He will see them succeed is found throughout, an old testament example is one that many christians use today, Jeremiah 29: 13, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, ” plans to prosper you you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” This was spoken to the Israelites in exile and is followed up in chapter 31 with a promise of a new covenant with Israel and Judah, when God himself will write His law on their hearts and the entire nation will know Him. This applies to every christian when it is reiterated in Hebrews 10 when we are being reminded that Jesus’ sacrifice was for all people and all sins. He has finished His work and sits down at the right side of the Father.

The “plan” was to save humanity from itself by the giving of a perfect sacrifice and it was accomplished on the cross. When we start thinking that the plan is to make sure we spill coffee on ourselves at just the right moment we have forgotten the entire point of the plan. Regardless of fate or freewill I can type this in assurance that His plan is already accomplished. The only question is what do you plan to do with that knowledge?

For Thursday: a youtube scandal!

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What would you change in the world if you could change anything?

Q. What would you change in the world if you could change anything?

A. This question immediately brought to mind the song “If I Could Change the World” by the one and only Eric Clapton. If you have not heard this song, you need to. The entire song is about his love for this woman and how he would change it so she felt just as strongly for him as he does for her. Sappy romance songs by fabulous guitarists are like bread and butter to me.  What I love the most is how he chooses one person to change because his priority is to be loved as much as he already loves. Would I choose the same thing? Some days I would. Today, I would not. Today, I don’t think I would change anything.

There are a lot of things in this world I do not agree with and am not happy about, and things in this world that are worth changing. Things like violence, greed, selfishness, loneliness, natural disasters, all of these things are worth changing. Because I believe all these things will be restored to an even better condition than I could wish for I would leave those wishes for someone actually capable of doing it. For now, here, today, part of what our society needs is to be able to find peace and contentment with all of these terrible things going on. It is a struggle which proves to provide a steady character and nature which is something to be desired in everyone. World peace is a desire worthy to seek after, but will only happen when all individuals are dedicated to it. Dedication typically comes with time and effort, not in an instant. The good things in this world are worth fighting for and even more so they are worth the time it takes. Time is in limited quantities on this earth and has a positive correlation to how valuable something is.  To change something for the better in an instant is to devalue the very thing you’re fighting for. If I may refer again to Clapton’s song, I do want a man eventually who wants me that much, but it would mean all the world for him to prove it instead of magically wishing it. If you like  you can think of this blog as a cop-out answer, but this is my answer: I would change nothing.

Let’s keep the questions rolling, I only have a few left to answer!

For Monday: Love Wins: Too Bad I Don’t Know What Love Is. A look at the up and coming book by Rob Bell.

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Where do you see yourself in five years?

Q: Where do you see yourself in five years?

A:  This was one of the first questions asked on here, and I’ve held off on it because it’s taken me a few weeks to even think about what five years can do to a person. And the answer is a lot. Five years are a long time for a determined person with goals, am I one of those people? To begin with I’m a 23-year-old single white female with a B.S. in Biblical Studies who works as a doctor’s assistant at an eye clinic.  Do I want to be this person when I’m 28? Parts of it yes. I intend to continue being a white female and I don’t think they would take my degree away. As for the rest, a change would do me good. As for what kind of changes, I’m not entirely sure.

There are two controversial dreams for my five-year plans. The first involves me becoming a Mrs. and perhaps children. The idea of children is still slightly terrifying and a new concept for me. At my current job I work with children of all ages and dispositions and have found that kids are actually pretty fabulous and the concept of having one of my own is becoming more feasible. Suburban housewife would look good on me, but it’s been done. I want my life to involve much more than a nuclear family. The second dream is to remain single yet wonderful. In this world I’m an expert in my field (whatever that may be) and I own my home and have two dogs that sleep on my bed with me. We travel the world doing really helpful things for people, and if possible involves public speaking in some way. This appeals to me mainly because I’m prone to be a workaholic. I love being busy and being a part of something bigger than myself and having a family can interfere with that (depending on the family it could also help). The idea of staying single appeals to me though because I’ve been practically single my whole life and I honestly enjoy it a lot. In the past whenever I’ve dated someone I lose myself in the relationship and I don’t like that person as much as I do the confident sassy woman I am currently.

In actuality the future will be some weird inbetween place. One thing I do know for certain is in five years I want to be in a community that needs me as much as I need them, and I want to be exactly where God wants me. The hard part is figuring out where that is.

—-Monday’s blog: Why do people procrastinate? Want your question answered? Go the the What’s your Question? page.

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