Archives for the month of: September, 2013

breaking-bad-final-season-posterOK so I lied.  After watching the final episode of the TV show Breaking Bad I posted on Twitter:

#GoodbyeBreakingBad  great finale!  No need for a new blog my original thoughts hold true.”

I guess not quite. I have more to say after allowing it all to sink in.  24 hours ago I completed a four day Breaking Bad marathon.  I watched hours of the 4 seasons of the show that I hadn’t seen culminating with the finale. I DVRed the episodes that played as I slept and filled my days watching them.

The destruction of Walter White is a study of the depravity of human nature at its worst.  He embodies most if not all of what are known historically as the Seven Deadly Sins

In the Book of Proverbs 6:16-19, among the verses traditionally associated with King Solomon, it states that the Lord specifically regards “six things the Lord hateth, and seven that are an abomination unto Him”, namely:[4]

  1. A proud look
  2. A lying tongue
  3. Hands that shed innocent blood
  4. A heart that devises wicked plots
  5. Feet that are swift to run into mischief
  6. A deceitful witness that uttereth lies
  7. Him that soweth discord among brethren.

Sure sounds like Walter White to me as he descends further and further into the world of manufacturing and dealing Meth.  To cover up his crime, he commits murder.   I lost count of how many lives were lost in the series because of him.  It is not a new story.  Destruction from sin is as old as mankind and repeated over and over again throughout history.  It is, however the contemporary version reflecting America in the 21st Century.

It is existentialism for today. As in The Stranger by Albert Camus (1942) it is a world void of moral consequences.  It is a world void of God.  Not once is any form of God referred to throughout the tale.  We never see a funeral for any of the deaths, where we might hear a comforting prayer.  There is no token religious, moral character.  Hank the DEA agent who is on Walt’s trail is more motivated by a vendetta than moral outrage.  His quest is based on his own sin of pride.  Jesse Pinkman attends a Twelve-step group but we never hear about reliance on a Higher Power or the Serenity prayer.

This is the secular godless America that we have become.

Walter White’s consequence is the alienation of his family-the loss of love from his life. His crimes were initially motivated as a way to provide for his family as he faced the prospect of dying from cancer.  His pride in his abilities as a chemist to produce a high quality drug and his greed drove him further.

In one episode, his wife brings him to the container where the cash is stored totaling approximately $80million.  She says to him “How much is enough?”

In the final episode he admits to her, “I did it for me.”

He avoids prosecution by escaping to a remote cabin in New Hampshire, but his conscience rises from the ashes of his life and he makes steps to put an end to the evil he has perpetrated.  The good that he does in the end no way makes up for all the evil, but it prevents the evil from continuing.

The final vestige of his humanity appears as he throws his body on Jesse to shield him from the bullets firing from the contraption he has built. This was to destroy the evil men that were carrying on the manufacture of Walt’s blue Meth. In the process of shielding Jesse he takes a fatal bullet.  Walt gave his life for Jesse. This is his final redemption.  Selfishness, greed and pride drove his behavior for the two years of the story.  Love and self sacrifice ended it.

This is why we see peace on his face as he lies dead.  Is there salvation for Walter White?  The Bible states that faith in Christ is the road to salvation.  There is nothing to indicate that Walt had  faith in anything but himself, but who knows what happens as a soul passes from death to eternity? Walt was willing to confess to his wife his sin and sacrifice himself for Jesse.  Maybe as he lay dying ,he found the only true source of peace-God Himself.

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walter white mask at comic con

Like most trends I am late in following the TV show “Breaking Bad”.  I am finally obsessed with it like a lot of America now that it is the fifth and final season of the show.  Like most trends, I prejudge them as being unchristian and therefore avoid them.  After all, how could I ever find any redeeming value in a show about a teacher turned meth dealer?

My interest began after attending Comic Con San Diego.  I was in Hall H as Bryan Cranston pulled off the Walter White mask he had been disguised in as he roamed the Expo.  Cranston was in Hall H promoting his new movie Godzilla.  Seeing him live and in personand experiencing the crowd’s wildreaction to him, made me curious.  There was a lot of hype about this final season in the media and on the social network sites.  I had to find out what all the fuss was about.

One hit of the show and I was hooked.  It is well-scripted and has amazing performances by the actors.  It is intelligent to the point that I can never guess what will happen next.  The drama is so high that I find myself holding my breath until the final scene of each episode.

The story is a record of how greed and power corrupts Walter White.  For me as a Christian, it is a record of how sin destroys.

In our amoral, mostly secular American culture, it is interesting that the audience loves this story.  This tells me that in spite of our movement away from traditional Biblical values as a country, there is a core value of right and wrong, good versus evil that we adhere to.  America wants justice for Walter White’s sins. Step by step, Walter White’s life unravels in spite of the $80 million he has accumulated as a dealer.  As of the last episode, he is now estranged from his family and on the run with the $10million  that was left for him after he tried to buy his brother-in-law’s life.  Money cannot save him now.

We see justice being served in Breaking Bad and in most TV Shows and movies.  Unfortunately, reality is not as just as fiction.  In life, most of the time the evil prosper.  Many are never brought to justice.  What justice was there for the 6million Jews that died in the Holocaust?  A handful of those responsible were tried and convicted and some of the perpetrators died in the process of the liberation. Is this enough for these atrocities?  Currently Christians are being murdered in Egypt and Syria because of their unwillingness to recant their faith and convert to Islam.  Where is their justice?  Osamah Bin Laden was murdered for masterminding the 911 plot and the deaths of nearly 3,000 Americans.  Is this justice?

Many people hate the concept of hell. The Bible describes it as-” outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” Matt 8:12 and ” the fire that shall never be quenched” Mark 9:43.  For the evils perpetrated on mankind this is true justice for Satan, his angels and all those who have done his bidding.

I read a meme recently on facebook that says if “If Satan punishes evil doers isn’t he the good guy”.  According to the Bible Satan doesn’t do the punishing but those that follow him will meet God’s judgment and His punishment.

The Bible also says that even for those guilty of the most horrible evils there is redemption through faith in Christ.

Romans 5:8

New Living Translation (NLT)

But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.

For those of us who think we are not evil, we also need this redemption.

Romans 3:23

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
Through Christ there is reward for those who repent and recognize their need of Christ’s saving work.

Matthew 25:34

New Living Translation (NLT)

34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world.”

God’s justice is much more far-reaching than the justice portrayed in Breaking Bad.  The Walter Whites of this world have much more to fear than loss of freedom by being incarcerated, loss of money, and loss of relationships.

There is reward in this life and the next for those who follow God’s laws.

As CS Lewis said- The Blessed will say “We have never lived anywhere except in Heaven,” : and the Lost, “We were always in Hell.” And both will speak truly.

love story biblicalI’ve heard the saying “The heart is a lonely hunter.”  It means your heart will draw you to relationships good or bad out of its need to be connected.  I have been a Christian for more than a few decades.  I have been single, married, then single again.  I have read all the Christian singles books.  I led Bible studies on being single.  But somehow I still find my heart trying to take me down roads I should never travel as a believer in Christ.

The Bible tells us,

Jeremiah 17:9

New Living Translation (NLT)

“The human heart is the most deceitful of all things,     and desperately wicked.     Who really knows how bad it is?

But somehow I still buy into what our society says-that my heart can be trusted and romantic feelings should be pursued.  I have confused the Biblical view of love and romance with the world’s view as represented in books and movies and TV.  Thankfully, I have lived a disciplined life as a Christian for long enough that I have learned to only act according to what the Holy Spirit directs me in my life.  So I don’t let my feelings control my actions and I barely let them know that they are the object of my affection.

I am still left with my heart- the hunter and the feelings it gives me trying desperately to connect me.  I find myself feeling emotional connections with people who neither know the Lord nor share my values or the worst of all- that do know the Lord but don’t live a godly life.  My heart tells me that they will change. It tells me that God brought me in their life to help them find their way.  So I guard my romantic feelings as I allow friendship with strong boundaries only.

Then I wait for a sign from God like Diane Lane’s character in Under the Tuscan Sun, when the bird left his droppings on her head so the Senora knew she was the one who should buy the villa.  I wait for a sign that this man will become the godly person that I need for my life.  But more times than I can count the only sign that comes is the revelation of a fatal flaw-a character flaw, an addiction, a worldliness that doesn’t line up with a life sold out for Christ.  Once again I have let my heart muddle my thinking and I have put hope in my feelings and not in the only One that deserves my trust, my Lord and Savior.

I guess you can teach an old dog new tricks because I think I have a new attitude and a new approach.  From now on I will make sure that I let the Holy Spirit draw me to those who are sold out for Christ and not listen to my deceitful heart. Why does this sound familiar?