Thursday, September 25, 2008

Barbie gets a gun

The “gift” of fathering thr3e incredible daughters is that I get to legitimately sit through Barbie DVDs (click on the Barbie to the left, and you can get the gun to fire). The latest, “Barbie and the Diamond Castle” is a fascinatingly plastic tale of “good defeating evil” (or, with tongue in cheek, blond defeats brunette). The digitized moments that got me the most were at the end (and not simply cos that meant I got to go back to more masculine things). The tale ended with the dominant cultural/imperial myth of “might makes right”, what John Dominac Crossan calls the myth of “peace through victory” or “peace through redemptive violence”. The "good-blonde" Barbie defeats/slays the "evil-brunette" figurine with a more mightier melody that magically transforms the evil persona into stone - the exact same hand and thuggish treatment that “evil” had dealt to “good” earlier on in the story line.

See what is happening?
I couldn’t stop my mind from tripping to Paul and to the Letter penned to the fledgling community of Christians in Rome:

“Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.
Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord. On the contrary:
"If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head." Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
(Romans 12.14-21).

Sinking in?
How “different” could Barbie be if the iconic figurines of pop culture were to “defect” from the narratives of “might makes right” and “peace through victory”? How “different” could our communities feel/look if we (the Christian Church included) were to “invest” in living from within stories without vengeance and violence? How “different” could our global neighborhood be if we were to persuade (with our taxes and voting?) our national/international leaders to drop the self-seeking sword of the empire and pick up the servant-towel of Jesus? How “different” would that be?

1 comment:

  1. This reminds me of Desmond Tutus thoughts in No future without forgiveness.

    Tutu writes about the victims being so open, so ready to face the accused (or self confessed guilty is perhaps a better description) and to enter dialogue, to be apart of a process of words. These are the people who you would think would be most angry- Their sons, were kidnapped, totured, and bodies burnt - and their families have only been able to say they are 'missing' for years. what heart ache, what longing, what deep hurt. BUT the process of airing the horror s of aparthied and then engaging in forgiveness on both parts probably has helped in the healing of the nation. In the moving on of the nation. in fact today, some of aparthieds terrorists are todays cabinet ministers.Tutu ends the book wraping up some of his international experience -where he sought nations in strife to seek to deal with confilct in peace ful ways and to actually DEAL with their stuff.

    Tutu gives keys to a different story- acknowledging the awfulness of stuff, responding with forgiveness, and a symbolic gesture- using different langauage to describe people groups, or issues, language that 'wont be an embarassment when the time of change comes.' Talking to enemies differently- offering symbols of unity or peace- it may .

    I admire Tutus humbleness, in that he knows dthat the horrors of apartied were indeed horrors but he is amazed that God has used that Nation to be a example to the world of what peace and reconcilliation can be and look like. even though its not all roses, but there are some, and thats enough to keep working for the full garden. (sorry that was so cheesey, forgive me)