Sunday, October 05, 2008

Fireproof Reprise

In one scene Caleb, the character played by Kirk Cameron, is forced to make a decision between his internet addiction (which is really an addiction to pornography) and his covetous lust for a boat and his responsibilities as a husband. He unplugs the monitor, takes it outside to a table, and smashes it with a baseball bat. He does the same with the CPU. He leaves a nice bouquet of roses for his wife where the computer once sat with a note, “I love you more.” The money he’d saved goes to purchase a hospital bed and wheelchair for his wife’s mother so she can remain at home in comfort following her stroke. Kleenex time, right?

Well, let’s examine this some. It is true that the couple needed to stop this silly game of your money, my money, your bill, my bill. Marriages like that often indicate that the unity of the flesh is understood only to mean sexual partnership, not also human partnership and unity. Marriage isn’t meant to be sexual convenience. That is not the one flesh union God is speaking of. Marriage is the melding of two lives into one, although two persons are not absorbed into each other. Identities are retained. So when “Caleb’s money” paid for Katherine’s parents’ needs, it was actually their money being spent for a greater need than both of their own.

Perhaps Caleb needed to toss out the computer in order to stop his addiction. However, a more potent message was given when he did: It was the computer’s fault, so kill the computer! Where was the killing of the flesh in Caleb? Where was the confession of this sin from Caleb, and to whom? It was nowhere shown. In fact, in the scene of his final breakdown with his father along that lakeside trail, the song heard playing as the two were praying and talking had a refrain with words along this line, “waiting for Jesus...” Waiting for Him where? Like Simon Burch did when he shouted his confession to the sky and waited for an absolution that never came?

So the computer was offensive and had to be thrown out. It caused debauchery. Just like wine causes drunkenness and had to be tossed out of the Holy Supper of our Lord. It wasn’t until after Mr. Welch came along that even Baptists found justification for that, and rationalization for Christ not really serving wine at the marriage in Cana. What’s next? Obesity is the biggest health problem in America today. Bread causes obesity. So now we need to deep six the bread from Christ’s institution? Better yet, let’s find justification for hoodia as the real deal in the wafer served.

When Paul tells his hearers that being drunk with wine is debauchery, he does not also say “Don’t drink it,” for that would be giving a new command–one that his Lord had not given. Jesus tells us to drink wine, at least in His Holy Supper. Paul also says that we are to fill ourselves with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, “submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.” It is then he describes the relationship of husband and wife as an icon of the relationship of Christ and His Bride, the Church. The relationship of husband and wife originated from the a bloodied side in the First Adam as he lay sleeping just as the relationship of Christ and His Bride arose from His bloodied side as He lay sleeping in the grave. The church is recalled to this each time she communes on Christ's Body and Blood in the bread and wine. Husbands and wives are recalled to this as they submit to each other as unto Christ.

In one remarkable scene in the movie, Caleb goes to his friend after his faith breakthrough and says, “I’m in.” The friend finally understands and responds, “You’re my brother from another Mother, which means we have the same Father.” I wanted to throw that non-existent Kleenex box at the screen and shout, “So why don’t you baptize babies?” St. Cyprian wasn’t speaking of a Mother who gives birth by air and sunshine. He was speaking of a Mother who gives birth by water and the Word. Yet this is denied to infants and its salvific work is denied by any who receive it at all by those who produced the movie Fireproof . “We know baptism doesn’t save,” is a commonly heard refrain. “It’s man’s work.”

It’s in the presupposition. Repeat after me: It’s in the presupposition. It is not what goes into but what comes out of... It is not what goes into but what comes out of... But how can we expect those who deny Baptism to infants to produce anything better? The answer is, we can’t. It hearkens back to the fact that it's because they cannot see that infants need Baptism. Jesus came for sinners, not the righteous. That gets in the way of going to one’s death with “my faith” being the last one good work held tightly in the hand before the throne of grace. The irony of plucking out the right eye that offends is the left one remains to pick up the slack. Gal 3:27; Col 3:9; Ro 13:14, all speak to putting on Christ. All Christ, nothing but. Our weak faith is no match for His one sentence from the cross, “It is finished.”

Fireproofing is wet work, daily and much.

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