Saturday, July 30, 2005

Soylent Green is PEOPLE!!

In the movie Soylent Green ( the titular product is a government developed foostuff given to the overpopulated throngs of futuristic city-dwellers. The rationing of soylent green was made necessary by man's poor stewardship of the earth's resources and has thus become the only hope for the survival of humanity. In that sense, the Church is very much like soylent green -- the Bible speaks of the church in the most superlative terms imaginable, characterizing it as the earth's only hope for survival in the wake of sin and death -- the city on a hill and the salt of the world. But by the end of the movie Charlton Heston discovers the horrifying secret, which has become the movie's most well-remembered line (for the six people who've seen it) -- "Soylent Green is PEOPLE!!!" Sadly, this is no less horrifying a discovery in regards to this thing called the "Church". A community established to herald (and embody) all of the beauty of Jesus' coming kingdom, and provide a shelter of hope from the omnious fate of destruction to which the earth is doomed, this praiseworthy ideal turns out to be made of people -- and that of course means that it's flawed, even embarassingly so at times. Perhaps no area of Christian life displays that more than theological discussion, where doctrinal lynching commonly replaces the charity which is supposedly our distinguishing mark (Jn. 13:35) and where unilateral agreement is the demanded starting point for fellowship rather than the patient hope of edification. This blog is a place where I can rant and (hopefully) dialogue about my own spiritual journey, theological discovery and about how the Church can best fulfill its mission as the "New Humanity". The reason it's called "Soylent Green" is to remind us that despite the superlatives of the Church's ideals, we have need for great humility -- after all, the Church isn't just a theological ideal or an abstract doctrine -- it's PEOPLE!