Monday, November 5, 2007

Michael Clayton

On Saturday night I enjoyed a movie with some friends from the medical school as we relaxed during our weekend after mid-terms. We ended up seeing the movie “Michael Clayton.” The movie, starring George Clooney, is a thriller and a drama involving a high-powered law firm based in New York City which is defending a corporation called U North. In my opinion, this was an excellent movie with some powerful spiritual themes. I would highly recommend it. The film painted a compelling picture of man’s utter lostness and depravity while also speaking of the spiritual desert that is Western society. The way in which these themes were presented reminded me of one of my favorite pieces of literature, The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan. At one point the character, Arthur, who has become convicted about the vanity and evil of his life complains of feeling as if he were carrying a burden, as Christian in The Pilgrim’s Progress did when he was made aware of the wrath to come by reading the Bible. In Christian’s case, he was blessed to meet Evangelist who directed him to the Wicket Gate on his way to Mt. Zion. The spiritual deadness of Western society was revealed in Arthur’s case where the only thing “spiritual” he found to direct him was a children’s fantasy book. We see this book later and it is marked-up and highlighted as are the Bibles of many Christians. Also, as in the case of Christian in The Pilgrim’s Progress, all of Arthur’s associates believe that he has gone off the deep-end as he seeks to leave his former life behind. This, of course, is reminiscent of Paul’s writing to the Corinthians, “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” Making a break with the world-system, as Arthur did in the movie, will always look crazy to the worldly. Spurning the pleasures and treasures that Satan holds out to us if only we will deny our God by our actions looks crazy to those who are “doing what pagans choose to do - living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry,” as the apostle Peter said. In the end the movie has some very redeeming plot twists which I will let you find out about by watching it.

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