[Pretty Flower, 2010, JA Van Devender]
Galatians 6:14–15 (NKJV)
14 But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. 15 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but a new creation.
Good News!!! And just when we thought there wasn't any left to be had.
Hasbro is retooling their "Transformer" toy line to make Optimus Prime and his buds as well as the evil Megatron and his legions into even more intricate but, at the same time, more easily manipulated "bots." [See here] Yes, I am being a bit sarcastic, but only a bit. Those toys were and are really neat. I watched my sons and my grandson, in their seasons, exercise their imaginations with them creating scenes of horrible destruction, complete with verbalized sound effects that bordered on believable. These toys were pretty far removed from the "Cowboys and Indians" of my day and generally involved less physical exercise, but the genius of the toys themselves made up for it. Vroom... there goes the big red truck... no, wait a minute... it's a robot come to save the day. Harmless fun and even artistic satisfaction. Not bad for a toy.
That idea of becoming something "else" which forms the root of much "play", both in children and adults, is grounded, I think, in some essential quality or attribute of our human nature. If you look at young lion cubs or bear cubs or puppies at "play" what you see them do is exercise the basic skills that will some day bring down a deer or fight off interlopers in their territory. A cat chasing a string is not only "playing", fun as it may be, she (all cats are "she") is responding to a killer instinct that drives her to chase her prey and spring forward with claws extended to pin it to the ground prior to extending the coup de grace. I think there are similar forces at work in many, not all, types of "play" in humans, especially in children.
If such is the case, what might the appeal of "Transformers" be? I think it is just one more manifestation of "aspiration embodiment" if I may coin a term. Think about "dress up". Turn kids loose in a closet of adult clothes and what do you see? If they are relatively unspoiled by the perversions that are bombarding youngsters almost from the crib, you will see them "act out" their aspirations.... seek to "look like" their heroes... try to instantiate the attributes and characteristics that they admire in others. A brother in Christ just told me that his kids had rediscovered the old Disney series "Davy Crockett", the Fess Parker version. Boy, talk about nostalgia. I can vividly remember walking out of the old Rebel Theater in its first location in Hattiesburg right across from the Post Office, after having watched "Davy" save the day countless times and then die a glorious death at the Alamo. Historical nonsense in many aspects but for a kid it was wonderful. I immediately craved my own coonskin cap and a plastic version of "Old Betsy." Such is the appeal of "role play" or "dress up." It brings to the surface some elementary desire to be something other than we are, a longing to be noble or powerful or beautiful or..... It demonstrates that at some core level of our being, we desire to be "transformed."
It doesn't require much thought to see where this is headed. As Paul eloquently explains and as Jesus echoed in John 3, what matters most in this world is the "new creation" that is the "transformed" old creation. Being "born again" is not a re-entry into our physical mother's womb but a life translated into the sphere of existence the Scriptures call "The Kingdom of God." It's physical invisibility is no barrier to the spiritual eyes given in regeneration. Our self understanding is "transformed" in that "being all we can be" is no longer limited by our previous chains of enslavement to sin, but is opened to the astonishing potential for human existence which Jesus has procured for us with His very own blood.
This "New Creation" is the world order transformed before our eyes, understood with new insight, truly a move from darkness into "His glorious light." It looked like one thing before... it even had its own charms in certain perspectives, but now all that old life, old way of living, old way of aspiring, old way of interacting, old way of conforming, is fluidly put away and standing straight and tall before us is the new life in Christ. Our lives, the world in which we exist, and everything in them is, at a very core level, different.
Upon entry into the Kingdom of God, that which lay at the core of our "play", that which reflected the deep, dimly understood, longings of our hearts, is furnished us as blessings beyond compare. It is no longer "dress up", it is who we are, citizens of the New World Order, the Community of the King, the third race of humanity (Tertullian) that constitutes the purpose of history.
Way to go Hasbro... I may just go out and buy one of your new line of toys. And if they are very good, I might even let my sons or their sons... or their daughters... play with it also.