The third season of the hit Netflix show, “Stranger Things”, is out. It’s about a shadowy violent presence breaking forth from an alternate universe to spread pain and ruin in our own.
The Demigorgon accomplishes its nefarious purpose by literally absorbing people into its hideous and monstrous form becoming ever more voluminous and destructive.
The show is set in the 1980’s with a group of young teens as the heroes who fight to vanquish the Demigorgon. For those of us who grew up in that era the show captures well an 80’s yearning for some higher purpose beyond roaming the malls, watching MTV, and sporting bad hair-dos.
But the story-line of “Stranger Things” is a complete reversal of the story-line of salvation according to Christian theology which declares that as hideous and monstrous forms arise in this world (oppressive governments, unjust corporate practices, earth devouring technologies, our own overzealous egos, etc…), there’s a hidden power breaking forth from another to spread love, healing and restoration.
God accomplishes God’s benevolent purposes by absorbing people – no matter their social station or hair-dos – into Christ’s presence, inviting them to be the hands and feet and heart of the Loving Savior in the world.
The strangest thing is how hooked we are as a country – despite our Christian roots – by the belief that domination, retribution and violence will redeem us from evil, when the truth of the matter, told in such true movies like “Selma”, “Gandhi”, “Mandela” and “Dead Man Walking”, is that the breaking forth of love in the face of evil is the only path of redemption.