In the wake of the wild success of the movie Avatar, comes a story about a real-life Pandora, the Unobtanium mines, and corporate greed. It’s set in a remote rainforest in central Africa and you can read all about it in Brian McLaren’s blog.
Relating this to the overall unfolding drama of greed and big money, McLaren points out the way our weekly worship should expose the destructive elements of the world’s narrative (an economy built on the reckless extraction of our own version of Unobtanium) and bring about a transformation, a sacred connection, capturing an Avatar image, to the tree of life.
“Novelist Walker Percy suggested that descending into the darkness of a movie theater is like descending into Plato’s cave, as on the wall, shadows trace the story of the world outside. I think he would agree that something similar happens in the sacred drama of worship week by week. Through the stories that unfold on the screen – and in the biblical narrative, we have a chance to see ourselves, come to ourselves, and turn in a new direction.
“Through good art and good religion, our world’s extractive, destructive, and violent economies can be exposed – for those who have eyes to see and ears to hear. As the credits roll and as the benediction is pronounced, we must walk out into the world imagining what may seem impossible: the creation of a new kind of economy – an ecologically regenerative, financially sustainable, socially responsible, and morally defensible economy of connection. That kind of economy will steer us away from rather than into Gandhi’s seven deadly sins:
“Wealth without Work
Pleasure without Conscience
Science without Humanity
Knowledge without Character
Politics without Principle
Commerce without Morality
Worship without Sacrifice”