Remedial Christianity


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This is Lego City.  No, not the one from the Lego movie, but the one in the Shah house.  So, it is probably no surprise that we watched the Lego movie the moment it was released in theaters….and re-watched it recently when it came out on video.  But I better stop here & throw in a disclaimer before I continue.   I was once rebuked for ‘revealing’ the ending of the Lord of the Rings.  It was 9 years after the movie was released, and 63 years after the book was published….but somehow the statute of limitations had still not expired.  I share this to let you know that I’m now going to talk about the LEGO Movie, so….***SPOILER ALERT****….. feel free to skip this is if you haven’t watched it yet.

Anyway, my kids are sort of Lego junkies.  We have an eclectic city that includes (among other things), a pirate ship, the tower bridge, a couple castles, various vehicles, Star Wars ships, Lord of the Rings landscapes, Lego friends buildings, approximately 400,000 Minifigs & this incredibly large R2-D2 overlooking the entire town.

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The city even has “laws” and elects a “mayor”.  [I was recently defeated in the latest election, but that’s a story for a different time.]  It has even been used as the set of a major motion picture.

Anyway, we had waited for the movie to come out and we loved it.  But strangely, I have to admit, I connected pretty deeply with Lord Business.  This was somewhat troubling as he is the villain of the story, but I came out of the theater thinking, “that guy was just misunderstood.”  I pondered it for about 5 minutes, and then proceeded to go on with my life.

Well, last week we watched the movie again, and I had a chance to analyze my deep sympathy for the movie’s antagonist.   As I watched I realized that Lord Business is living out some of my biggest leadership temptations as a PARENT and as a PASTOR….

Like this….

I secretly want my kids (and congregation) to blindly believe that “everything is awesome”.

I am not sure if you have had the joy of hearing that song in it’s entirety, but since we downloaded the soundtrack, I have had the privilege of hearing it sung in our home at least 4000 times.  In the movie it was cute.  Maybe even catchy.

Now I can’t stand it.  The lyrics are absolutely inane.

Seriously, it is the worst.

But in my heart, parts of me are strangely attracted to it.  Sometimes I wish my kids and my church would just blindly sing it and merrily go through life.  Grief, and sorrow, and pain, and doubt….those seem so out of control.  I’m not sure how to help.  I’m not sure how to “fix” those things.  So they scare me.  They make me feel inadequate and weak.

Better that we all put our heads in the sand and just keep singing.  We all might be living in denial about the brokenness of the world, but at least I will perpetuate the illusion that I am doing a good job.

Or how about this one….

I secretly love the idea of a manual that they would follow for life.

In the movie, President Business has provided a step-by-step manual for life for all the citizens.  Oh to be the leader that has ALL the ANSWERS!  Wouldn’t that be fabulous?  Just read this book, and this blog, and listen to these 4 podcasts and you’ll be all set.

Learning how to follow this mysterious God…on the mountaintop highs, and in the valley lows.  Learning to hear HIS voice, and follow our unique path.  Discovering the good works that God prepared for US, that we were created in Christ Jesus to walk in.   Learning how to be sensitive and responsive to His Spirit.  Learning the depths of His Word, and the growing in the wisdom to apply it.  Then teaching someone ELSE how to do that?

That all sounds way too scary.  And dangerous.

Let’s just write a manual.  Or build a program instead.  Or create a one-hour “worship experience”.   Way easier.  And it’ll keep my schedule relatively free.


Whenever something is the way I like it, I secretly have an intense desire to spray ‘the Kragle’ on it.

I speak the words of faith and creativity and freedom…..but deep down I like things neat and orderly.  I like to know exactly what is going on.  I like it being manageable.  

I’m the guy who will use the same post move on you in basketball over and over again until you do something to stop it.   Boring, but effective.

I’ll the guy who will validate using the same strategy forever , with cliches like, “you gotta dance with who brung ya”

I’m the guy who couldn’t handle taking my kids to water parks….because of the noise and chaos and the constant fear that one of my kids was drowning somewhere.

What will happen if things get out of control?

I don’t know for sure, but the last line of the movie sums up my fears pretty well….

“we are from the planet Duplo, and we’ve come to destroy you!”

Let’s not find out what that looks like.

I’m sure I could go on and on.  Granted, over the years  I have grown in many of these areas, but when life gets messy and chaotic I still feel the urge to minimize brokenness, hand out manuals and grab that kragle.  

I am fascinated by a walk of faith.  

I know it is the only way to truly live.  

But part of me still secretly loves control…

Control makes my world seem safer.  More manageable.  It helps me continue the illusion that I know all the answers and what the future holds.  It helps me manage fear.

But then I read scripture.

I read chapters like Hebrews 11…. story after story of faith.  And I can tell you, that none of them are stories about control & safety.  But they are stories of creativity, and adventure, and redemption….all powered by the creator of the universe.

And I realize that although I sympathize with Lord Business….

I don’t want to be him.


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