What do you think about the Jedi Code? Should we do away with it? I am a Star Wars fan. I can remember standing in a long line with my dad that stretched around the corner when Return of the Jedi was first released. And I often tend to make correlations between stories and real life… after all, as John Eldredge keenly points out, our life is in essence a story – in fact our stories are part of a much greater and larger story. So take this multi-connected journey with me and let me know what you think.
Do you know about the Jedi – the supernaturally empowered peacekeepers of the Star Wars saga? If not let me give you the quick version. These are individuals who make up an PeaceKeeping Order – working with the authorities and even having jurisdiction beyond conventional authorities. Through much study which spans thousands of years, they have learned how to access the supernatural aspect of reality (the Force) – through which they yield a greater magnitude of results in the physical aspect of reality than mere humanoid physical effort. In other words, they can do what others, not connected to the Force, cannot do. To help guide them in every situation, they have developed a code of conduct (a philosophy… a way of life) which actualizes the truth that they have learned throughout the years – often truth, that others outside of the Order, do not live by.
Having said this, let me get into the topic (which is framed by the above).
I was flipping channels and caught a part of of television show last night (Thursday the 7th, 2006 – and I’m not sure which one it was) and a Christian group was meeting and talking about how Christ gave up his wealth and status in order to save us. So in this time of Advent, what should sins should we exchange for virtues? They went around the room… greed for generosity, hatred for love, gluttony for moderation and so on. Then it was the visitor’s turn… lust to purity. The group leader wanted him to continue his thought, having presumed he would have said lust for chasity. So the visitor goes into a spiel about how we live in current times and shouldn’t have to live by old antiquated rules that says that abstinence is the best policy outside of marriage. He goes on to tell how he and presumably others should be able to live in purity of spirit while indulging in fleshly desires such as sex. He alludes to the fact that he practices sex and that it should not be forced into pre-set categories. At first, people look at him in shock. But then some begin to nod their heads in agreement as if their minds had been changed or that they’ve thought like that all along and was just afraid to admit it. I’ll be the first to say that, “I did not watch the rest of the show.” (I probably should have.) So I don’t know the final destination of this story arc. I don’t know if the visitor changed his thoughts or if others from the group were persuaded to his way of thinking. But what I do know is that this “free” mindset is a staple of much of our society today. The “free” mindset that I am refering to isn’t so much the thought of sex outside of marriage – (which I don’t agree with) – the mindset I’m refering to is that thought that old, antiquated laws are not to be followed.
May I jump from one similitude of reality (tv show) into another (Star Wars saga). In the saga, there are many who doubt the Jedi’s ability. Han Solo comes to mind – possessing tremendous skeptism and ridicule for “all things Force” – having never experienced anything of a supernatural capacity. And yet, the existence of the Jedi has spanned thousands of years. In effect, in the current time of galaxial societies that are entrenched in the use of technology – where even an entire planet is one huge technological city (Coruscant), many old thoughts, beliefs and ideas have been left behind… and many have been built upon. Within all of this innovation and discovery – the Jedi have not diminished but continue to thrive, adding to their order the technology and current thought that is necessary and refusing those things that war against what has been proven to be true.
My point is this – as we continue (what I believe to be an adventure) to press into the future, every belief and every body of truth which we possess and that possesses us must be examined to see whether they are true, remain true or were ever true. If they prove to be true then keep them, regardless of what society says. If they prove to be false, refuse them, regardless of what society says.
Just because something is old, does not mean that we throw it away. Generally, we only demolish old buildings when they prove to no longer be structurally sound. Otherwises they get renovated and even made historical landmarks to remind us of our past and how our past is strongly connected to our present and future. Old comics, literature, musical scores and vintage automobiles usually increase in value over the years – they become coveted treasures that people will spend entire paychecks and savings to possess! We even look at the past to inform new scientific, technological, fashion, aeronautical, and philosophical innovation! (of course there are other areas as well) There are even individuals who make their entire living on discovering, assessing and moving antiquities (old, rare and priceless items). We don’t forget about our aging parents, who provided for us when we could not provide for ourselves. We don’t forget about the genocide of the Holocaust or the Mid-Atlantic Slave Trade. No we remember… we look to the past and we use the truths that these circumstances has taught us to lead us into a better future. And those things not preserved in good condition – that has wasted away – that has been tried and tested and found unsound… these things are left by the wayside.
The question then arises… by what standards do we use to examine our beliefs? How do we tell the difference between a counterfeit and the genuine article?
To paraphrase Dick Staub, author of Christian Wisdom of the Jedi Masters, we are Jedi Christians and we are followers of the LORD of the Force. The way of the Jedi Order is (in some ways) similar to the way of the Christian life (in other ways it is not). The foundation that we (as followers of Jesus Christ) stand firmly on is one of the knowing of truth, receiving the washing of the Blood of Jesus the Christ, the fellowship with God’s Holy Spirit and the manifestation of the power of the Kingdom of God. And this Way of Life is offered to any and all who would receive it into their heart and mind.
In reference to the television show I mentioned above: What Christ offers us during this time of Advent, is the opportunity for a new life’s existence. Yes, we can exchange our vices for His virtues and we can exchange our limited understanding of virtue for His reality of true righteousness. We can exchange our confusion for His truth, our anxiety for His peace and our fear for His courage. Or we can choose to remain as we are… struggling to clean up our own lives when at best all we can do is shove things in the closet and give the appearance of cleanliness. Perhaps it would be easier if our society wasn’t constantly bombarded by sexually charged “entertainment” which feeds desires until they’re out of control. Perhaps it would be easier if we admitted the harm that has been done by our “freedom from certain antiquated knowledge” and came together to focus on what courses of direction truly bring life. The issue is the condition of our hearts. Is it possible to be clean in spirit while indulging in the desires of the flesh that are sinful? Read this verse from the Bible and make your own decision:
“Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” (2 Corinthians 7:1) (Italics mine)
It would seem that the actions of our flesh and our spirit are connected; and if you believe in the God of the Bible, then you know that after death, our most true selves (spirit) will be judged by what we did while in our physical bodies.
Let me know what you think. May the LORD of the Force be with you.
-Allen Paul Weaver III –