25 May 2010

"Lost," and endings

by Dan Phillips

NOTE: in case you've not finished off "Lost," I'm going to make the post spoiler-free. But stay away from the meta if you want to avoid spoilers; I'm not going to require that anyone stay  away from spoilers.


UPDATE: you can see a few spoilery unanswered Lost questions at my site.

My dear wife and I have been longtime "Lost" fans. We started a year or two in, caught up, stayed hooked.

I have really enjoyed the writing, the acting, the scenery. One of the most remarkable aspects of "Lost" is how the writers would pose questions, then actually answer them satisfactorily — but raise still more questions, at the same time. It wasn't a frustrating experience, as if one were simply compiling and endless list of conundrums. Sentences did end, with satisfying periods and exclamation points. But none was the final sentence. That was supposed to come last Sunday night.

I grew to respect the writers a lot. Again and again, an apparently random event or character in one episode would be caught up and featured front and center, weeks, months, or even years later. One had the feel of a very deliberate, purposeful venture being unfolded.

So we stayed up (far too) late watching Sunday's grand finale — and came away puzzled and disappointed.

Obviously, many found the ending perfectly clear and delightful. That's great. I guess I must be dim, because I don't see it yet. I was disappointed. We'll probably watch it again, give it another go, see if we can make better sense of it. But for now... the last episode was the first "Lost" episode that ever really let me down.

I've grown accustomed, though, to human writers setting up conundrums they can't solve fully or satisfactorily, so I tempered my expectations... to some degree.  Whether Stephen King, C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien, Tad Williams, Joss Whedon, Stephen Donaldson, or on and on, I think humans create better dilemmas than they do solutions. In at least some cases, the authors themselves did now know how their stories were going to end when they started them rolling. Sometimes that shows.

But whether carefully planned, or made up on the wing, I can't offhand recall any really ambitious saga whose dénouement left me fully satisfied.

With one exception, of course. That would be actual history itself.

Take prophecy seriously and one sees a very complex weave from start to finish. Take the Bible seriously, and you realize that the Author of  both history and prophecy knew the whole from the very start. Human writers may make it up as they go along, but God is the one who declares "the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, 'My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose'" (Isaiah 46:10).

I am thinking of this now particularly with reference to the "problem" of evil. In history, the villains are monstrous, powerful, dreadful. They fill us with loathing, with horror, with disgust.

Yet we read that God "laughs" at them (Psalm 2:4). Why? Nothing about it looks funny to us, down here on the battlefield.

But God can laugh "at the wicked, for he sees that his day is coming" (Psalm 37:13). That is, He knows exactly how the story will turn out. He never sees a wrong, without at the same instant seeing its rectification. He knows that every crime, every sin, will be fully judged and punished. Every wrong will be righted, every injustice made right. He will see to it personally. He knew the last lines when He began penning the first.

And I can know it too, to some measure. How? Because I've read the end of the story. And it is completely satisfying, beyond the ability of any human author ever to dream.

No longer will there be anything accursed,
but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, 
and his servants will worship him. 
They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. 
And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, 
for the Lord God will be their light, 
and they will reign forever and ever.
(Revelation 22:3-5)

He who testifies to these things says, "Surely I am coming soon." 
Amen. 
Come, Lord Jesus!
(Revelation 22:20)

Dan Phillips's signature

131 comments:

DJP said...

Remember and be warned: this meta will surely feature "spoilers."

Jeremy said...

I think that many of us had the wrong expectation of the finale. Daton Lindelcuse told us that it was about characters not answers but that was hard to wrap our heads around. When it was all said and done the ending was incredibly satisfying on some levels but incredibly unsatisfying on other levels. I guess the question becomes, whether it was ALWAYS their intention to leave gaping plot hole while providing extraordinary characterization. I think it was, and if I examine the finale on that level I find myself satisfied. I certainly would have preferred and ending devoid of Post-modern fuzziness, but Lost always had Christian themes without being by, for or about Christians so I am not surprised. I think this line from Tim Goodman's review of the episode sums up my feelings quite well, "As a series finale it overjoyed the heart and annoyed the brain. But if I had to do it all over again, knowing how it all plays out, I'd still watch."

Richie said...

Thanks for this. I needed it. Since Sunday night, I have been lamenting the 100+ hours of my life that were spent on the series, anticipating the answers to the "big" questions, only to be monumentally disappointed in the end. Your perspective helps me to set things aright. The Master Script Writer has written a tale par excellence, one in which we were lost, but now are found.

greglong said...

Dan, this is EXACTLY how I felt about the series and the ending. I was a little sad that is was all over but unsatisfied with the result. Some Christians are going on and on about all the Christian allegory throughout the series and especially in the final, but I can't get past the mishmash of religious, philosphical, and mythological meanings. In fact, the climax of the entire show was the meeting in the side room of the church between Jack and his father. And what was behind Jack's dad the whole time? The stained-glass window containing six different religious symbols--Star of David, cross, yin-yang, Muslim crescent, wheel of life (I think), and one more I didn't know.

The point of LOST? All roads lead to heaven through personal redemption.

And of course, it pales in comparison to the One True Story.

DJP said...

Thanks, but (Richie and Greg) prepare to be told that we're all idiots for not getting the clear, obvious, and entirely-satisfactory point of the final episode.

(c;

stratagem said...

The timing of this is eery. As I was making my way to the office this morning, I had myself convinced that I must be the only person alive who hasn't watched a single episode of Lost. Even the ever-erudite Dan P. watches it? Now I'm definitely convinced!

barrywallace said...

That's good thinking and good writing, brother. Only God can perfectly resolve every story and right every wrong.

Barbara said...

Stratagem, I've seen only one episode- the first one on netflix just a few months ago - before dumping it. I went to their website and got the creeps by some of the marketing stuff, wondering what kind of message they were trying to send through their little activities and things there(no, I don't have a tin foil hat but it just looked like a "message" kind of a thing). Then I saw the "Gospel According to Lost" stuff being sold on Amazon and shook my head. And then I read the recap of the finale and even in the secular article from MSNBC - complete with picture of everyone in church pews - oh! we're actually dead and it's our own self-constructed reality! - it was easy to see the point they were trying to make, which Greg articulated so well.

To quote Ravenhill, it's anti-Christ from the word "go". Good to get folks to think Biblically about the messages in the media though because they really are getting more and more blatant.

Si Hollett said...

Interestingly, the British series Ashes to Ashes, which also had lots of mystery and mythology to it and was really about characters rather than plot, picked up on similar themes in the finale and had a similar ending. However the finale answered a lot of questions (that we had been in the dark about for three (short) seasons, plus two of Life on Mars) - it didn't cover everything, but it left me more intellectually satisfied than Lost, though less emotionally satisfied.

It seems second chances (eg Purgatory-type places) and getting over pyschological problems to allow you to 'move on' are big things in today's culture, though 24 didn't have that (though also ended rather anti-climatically, leaving a lot of stuff hanging).

Mark B. Hanson said...

strategem,

Take heart. I count myself as another who hasn't seen a single scene from Lost.

Too much invested time for too little return.

DJP said...

No 24 spoilers. Seriously.

Johnny Dialectic said...

The writers used bait and switch tactics for six full seasons....well, almost full, until they had to figure out how to end the thing with all those unresolved questions. The answer? Don't resolve them (because there's no way they could) but go for the emotions and the pop spirituality. In Hollywood, pop spirituality solves just about everything, including gaping plot holes. See, e.g., "Signs". Don't think, just feel.

As for 24, it would have been better served as 12.

Lee Shelton IV said...

I loved how the series progressed. Each season had a different feel, a distinct focus. Yes, the ending did leave a lot of questions unanswered, but I think it was one of those situations where they knew they could never satisfy everyone. If they would have focused more on the sci-fi aspects and tried to address those questions, those interested in the character stories would have been disappointed.

Merrilee Stevenson said...

I see that I'm in good company with others who haven't lost any time watching LOST. But reading your post and the 11 comments (so far) have spawned this question: What must an evangelical Christian know about LOST in order to have a meaningful conversation with a lost person about LOST? (Now I'm kicking myself because I have too much to do today, but I'll try to keep up with the thread.)

DJP said...

I wouldn't say it's an issue of satisfying everyone primarily, but of closing loops they chose to start. I mean, for one example:

Walt is important!
Walt is important!
Walt is important!
Walt is important!

Walt is... out of the picture and unexplained!

Like that.

Plus, I just don't understand what was real, what was unreal, when they died... and those are kind of important.

Al said...

EThe more I stew on the show and its finale, the more I like it...
If anyone was surprised that there was a bunch of neo-platonic, universal, everyone sparks the divine, salvation garbage in the finale should have paid closer attention over the last six years. Of course there were some Christian themes of sacrifice, forgiveness and vicarious suffering, but these were not controlling over the show.
As a fan of CS Lewis, I liked the nod to The Great Divorce at the end. I am no fan of the Roman idea of purgatory but this “timeless” picture of the Church as gateway to heaven was pleasing to me. I liked the fact that Michael was not there, he never dealt with his wickedness. Ben sitting on the outside “working things out” was an interesting picture as well.
Count me in the group as satisfied with the ending.

al sends

The Squirrel said...

Stratagem:

I'm with you. Never seen a single episode. Didn't miss it, either.

:o)

Squirrel

The Squirrel said...

Not that I'm one of those superior "I never watch television" sorts. I wont miss an episode of Vampire Diaries...

And I'm looking forward to the remake of Hawaii Five-O, too.

Yeah, I know...

Squirrel

Mark Patton said...

My better half and I had many of the same questions you did DJP and felt "let down" because of the finale. I can't tell you how many times (a little hyperbole) I have been given the "you didn't get it" line and the "someday you'll be enlightened" look. Oh, well. I still loved the acting, location, and character development. My only problem now is a new phobia (feel free to name it)... a fear of opening up to a well-acted, nice-looking, character driven drama that ends stupid. As you said, at least His Story will end gloriously.

Lee Shelton IV said...

I just don't understand what was real, what was unreal, when they died...

The only scenes that didn't take place in reality were those in the "flash-sideways" world in season 6. Everyone in that world had died at some point, either before Jack or after. Everything else really happened.

Honestly, it was a hard series to follow because of the break between seasons. I found myself forgetting a lot. But maybe that's what made it watchable. I might be more disappointed in the finale if I were to watch the series straight through from beginning to end. Of course, with three kids I don't think that's going to happen anytime soon. :)

Lee Shelton IV said...

Love the post, Dan. Lost, as good as it was, is still just a TV show. You're right: the ending of history will leave us fully satisfied.

stratagem said...

I'm not one of those "superior I don't watch TV" sorts, either - I just don't have the time or (especially) the interest! lol

Thanks for the encouragment that I am only slightly oddball for not watching this show. Actually I hate to admit it, but I don't even know what "Lost" is about, nor did I even know "24" was a TV show! It took me a while to figure out what Dan meant when he said "no 24 spoilers," but it came to me after a minute or so.

Obviously I score low on the "cool and culturally relevant" scale. I suppose this means I will never be qualified as a youth pastor!

Stefan said...

My thoughts were pretty much the same as those of Dan, Jeremy, Richie, Greg, Si, Johnny, and Mark.

In the end, some of the best writers and story-crafters in television—who do appear to have had much of the story planned out from the beginning—had to wrap things up in a sappy, saccharine-sweet, postmodern "be your own potential" (or whatever) type of way.

I suspect the writers' undoing was the introduction of parallel timelines, and their inability to resolve the two timelines in a more intellectually satisfying way.

(In hindsight, the signal for me that the ending might disappoint was the third-to-last episode, featuring the history of Jacob and his unnamed brother. [Or should we call him "Esau"?] It seemed to be a Joseph Campbellesque grasping at a mishmash of pseudo-biblical and pseudo-mythological themes to construct the back history of the island, leaving as many questions as it answered.)

In contrast, we read the Bible, and we also see a careful introduction, development, foreshadowing and interweaving of characters and themes (not to say that there is really any comparison between a work of secular television and the Bible!), but also a dénouement that brings all those themes together in a meaningful way—a way that points to our own real redemption by the blood of the Lamb, rather than the false promise of false redemption offered by Lost.

(P.S.: I briefly perused one of the Lost forums yesterday, and the comments came down 50/50 like this: "What about...?" or "I was unsatisfied with..." on the one side, and on the other side, this cop out: "You're idiots. It was never about the science fiction themes. It was all about the characters.")

Lynda O said...

I know nothing about the "Lost" series...
but thanks for a great reminder about our sovereign God who knows the end from the beginning, our God who will yet judge the wicked in this world and save His people. Great reference to Isaiah 46.

stratagem said...

Ditto on that - the Christian version of the show should be called Found. And post-rapture, Gone.

Jugulum said...

Dan,

Re: What was real, unreal, etc

My impression was that sideways-universe was a quasi-purgatory, where all the characters went after they died. (Some of them died during the events of the show, like Shannon, Boone, Locke, the Kwans, and Jack. Others died later, like Hurley and Ben--hence their lines about "You made a great #1"/"You made a great #2", implying that they had lived together for a long time. That was the implication from Jack's dad, when he said that everyone dies eventually.)

So, seasons 1-5 were all in the real world. Season 6's flashes were in the first stage of the afterlife, where they all went so that they could reconnect with each other and move on together. (I think that's why Locke recovered so quickly after the surgery--it wasn't real.) Of course, Ben wasn't ready to move on--probably had more personal ethical issues to work through, or more peace to find, or something.

donsands said...

Never watched Lost. May do the DVD thing now, where you watch the first season, and so on.

That's how I got ito watching 24. I can remember my wife and I watching the first Episode, then we said, "Let's watch the next one." Then we said, "Let's watch the next one." Then we said, "Let's watch the next one." Next thing you know it's 2:00AM.

I wonder if Lost would be the same?

"They will see his face..the Lord God will be their light"

I was sharing this with my Mom yesterday. We were thnking how awesome it will be to see Jesus' glory. The Sun will be nothing compared to the majestic glory of our Savior's face. And to see His hands and feet, will be a joy that shall never be deminished, our joy will be full like never could have imagined.
Oh, how I look forward to that Day!
And I am so unworthy and deserve only to hear the Lord say, "Depart from Me." But instead I will hear, "Well done, come and entere in to the joy of the God's kingdom."

John said...

Well, I thought they tied most of the metaphysical and philosophical threads together nicely. The physical parts were as fuzzy as always, but I always thought that was the whole point. Questions like "when did they die" (I believe it was when the plane first crashed in the very first episode) are irrelevant to what the writers are trying to say.
HOWEVER - Lost only generated this much conversation because it just barely dipped into the mystery of true reality. And we have that story in the Bible. Imho, the plotlines of the Bible are way, way more interesting and compelling than Lost could ever be!

Word verification: exister :-)

Fred Butler said...

Walt is important!
Walt is important!
Walt is important!
Walt is important!


Yep. One of the biggest fails ever for a long series. He gets kidnapped by the others, gets rescued and leaves the island never to return, except in a couple of episodes in later seasons.

Is was almost like the producers woke up to the fact that the actor playing Walt was going to grow older, because he is a kid turning into a teenager, and the overall series is suppose to take place in one year's time on the island. The producers are like, "Uh-oh. The actor can't stay looking like he is 10 the entire time. Uh. let's write him out in some clever way even though we introduced him having these special abilities that could be vital to the arch of the story." That's Hollywood thinking for you.

D.J. Williams said...

Per Walt,

That's exactly what the writers indicated happened with him. The actor grew up pretty quickly and they couldn't figure out what to do with him. There's been some speculation that Desmond's character was adjusted to take on the role that Walt would have had.

Don,

I know the "one more" feeling you described from 24 - my wife and I had many such nights. And yes, Lost will do the same.

BrettR said...

I was not disappointed in the crafting of the final episode. Great writing, acting, directing, music, it was all done well. Amazing. Fantastic. But any Christian should be disappointed with a religious melting pot ending knowing how condescending such a view is: "I can see all and know all and see that your puny religion's all believe the same thing. You don't see how? That is how puny you are." But what do you expect? Just as you said, they can't beat the Author and Perfector.

I really wanted to see a Polar bear come out of the jungle and eat Rose and Bernard. I am anti-retirement like Dr. Piper. ;)

Larry Geiger said...

I'm totally Lost.
I used to watch some many decades ago.
I love this:
"I've grown accustomed, though, to human writers setting up conundrums they can't solve fully or satisfactorily" This is so true.

The only satisfying finale that I can remember was MASH. Basically, they just said goodbye in a very real fashion. No plot designs, no tricks, just good bye. Sort of how we go at the end. Here one minute, gone to see the Lord the next.

wordsmith said...

I have no clue as to what anyone is talking about, apart from the topic at hand being a TV show. I guess I'm going to have to find a synopsis on Wikipedia or something to make sense of "Lost."

I hate these cultural references that make me seem like Rip Van Winkle.

Mark B. Hanson said...

Merilee,

You wrote, "What must an evangelical Christian know about LOST in order to have a meaningful conversation with a lost person about LOST?"

My answer: nothing.

Simply say, "I've never seen the show. Tell me about it." Then sit back and find out a lot about who that person is. Worked for me.

~Mark said...

stratagem said...

The timing of this is eery. As I was making my way to the office this morning, I had myself convinced that I must be the only person alive who hasn't watched a single episode of Lost. Even the ever-erudite Dan P. watches it? Now I'm definitely convinced!



~I saw maybe 3 episodes. There are a lot of Christians caught up in this show and other fictitious stuff on tv!

Mark B. Hanson said...

Larry wrote: "The only satisfying finale that I can remember was MASH."

That's because MASH was completed before it became a requirement that you had to leave open possibilities for follow-on movies (of course MASH came from a movie), books, merchandising and whatever after the final show. Not to mention the "special DVD package" with comments by the writers and actors.

Sven Pook said...

Wow, maybe this will have more posts than the debate over the 180 church . . .

Like you Dan, my wife and I began a couple of seasons into the show. I had been having the feeling that the writers had written themselves into a corner, a notion that my wife scoffed at. With the multicultural, all roads lead to heaven and redemption, ending I believe that I was right, though she hasn't conceded yet. :)

We humans cannot create anything that answers the questions of the universe without giving the glory to God and even then our answers will be lacking. I don't believe I have ever seen anything that comes close in SciFi, TV, film or literature . . .

Except, perhaps, the best answer from any of these . . .
42 (c;

Tom Chantry said...

That's the first thing I've read about "Lost" that I liked. Of course I've never watched the show. Right now I'm breaking the rules and not reading the meta before commenting, not because I don't want anyone to spoil the ending, but because I just don't care.

I have however, noticed exactly what you are saying here; complex plots are rarely resolved satisfactorily. Perhaps the reason is, as you suggest, that we just aren't that good at sovereignty - even in the realm of our own imaginations.

Solameanie said...

I am proud to say that I've never watched an episode of "Lost," "The Apprentice," "Celebrity Apprentice," "American Idol," or even "Dancing with the Stars." I feel so clean.

There's something to be said for refusing to watch anything made past 1955. Give me a trench coat, a fedora, a cane and an old Packard, and I'm a happy camper.

rwt said...

If you want resolution on television, I'd suggest watching This Old House on PBS. No matter what problems get uncovered behind the walls or under the floorboards, everything gets resolved by the final episode. It's also educational so you can do something useful after seeing it.

lawrence said...

The only thing that wasn't "real" in a physical sense was the sideways flashes in season 6. At least that was my interpretation. The island, and everything that went with it, was completely real.

As for Ben, my guess is he couldn't move on because he didn't want to. At least not without Alex and the French woman. And if he "woke them up" then that would mean they would then remember him as the scumbag he was on the island, and the fact that he, ya know, killed Alex, and not as the sweet history teacher. A difficult conundrum. Allow them to go on thinking that their quasi-purgatory fake life was reality? Or wake them up and allow them to know the truth, bitter as it is?

I thought his portrayal of that difficult situation, caused by his own moral failings, as well as Locke's subsequent extended forgiveness, was the most powerful part of the finale.

lawrence said...

Also, keep in mind that Abrams knew what the ending was, and had it written at the same time as the pilot. So, aside from all the other reasons, Ben (as well as Echo, Alex, the French lady, Richard, Sun and Jin's kid etc. etc.) COULDN'T be in the finale, because they weren't in the pilot.

CR said...

I really liked the "Lost" Series Finale and yes it made total sense. Most of us thought that the flashsideways was an alternate reality. Actually, we initially thought it was THE reality and change of the timeline until that scene where it flashes back right after the bomb scene.

The fact of the flashsideways being purgatory instead of the alternate reality was revealed with the scene between Jack and his father where his father tells Jack he doesn't have a son. (I was like, huh?) And Jack says to his father your dead and Jack's father tells Jack that Jack is dead too (or something to that effect). That's when the ah hah light bulb comes on. The writers completely blind sided us with that.

Some of you are disappointed that they didn't deal with Walt. If you recall Jacob picked some of the Lost Survivors because of the sad, pathetic and meaningless lives they would live. Walt (a casualty of war of Michael's sad life) had his whole life ahead of him. He was only a child when he was a survivor. He wouldn't have necessarily been in this purgatory because he may have not lead a pathetic life into his adulthood.

It's fun to answer questions about stuff like this and try to resolve conflicts. But we may not do that with Scriptures. As far as being satisfied, it depends on how one defines satisfaction. If it means trying to resolve unresolvable conflicts (that are not answered in the Bible) then we will never be satisfied. We are to trust in the promises that the Lord has made. God said it, that settles it, and therefore I believe it.

DJP said...

Why did dead-Juliet tell Miles "It worked"? How did it work, if nothing in realtime history actually changed?

CR said...

We don't exactly know for sure. She probably was speaking in her post "moving-on" stage (sorry, just not comfortable calling it Heaven).

lawrence said...

Mr. Phillips,

Well for one thing it was a parallel to the scene with her and Sawyer's scene together with the candy bar, where she has the same line "It worked."

That aside, there's two possible theories I'm working with haha. One, as she was dying she had some sort of an epiphany similar to Desmond's in the cave when Jack finds him. Desmond, and in this case Juliet, both thought that the real world was some sort of an alternate reality that the people on the island could connect too. Both, in this case, would be wrong.

Second theory is that since she was actually talking to Miles, and was already dead, she was simply referring to the grand plan of unhooking the light source, killing Locke, and then hooking it back up (which would make more sense with the parallel to the candy bar. Unhooking the power source, getting the bar, hooking it back up. It worked.) Idk. Just a theory.

Fred Butler said...

I haven't watched the final yet. This week sometime with the wife (spoilers never ruin anything for me). So do they explain the others? Angels? Demons? Trapped souls? How did they get off and on the island? What about the polar bears and Dhrama? Or is Dhrama suppose to be some Hindu connection in the after world? Those are things I would like to hear explained.

Fred Butler said...

Some of you are disappointed that they didn't deal with Walt. If you recall Jacob picked some of the Lost Survivors because of the sad, pathetic and meaningless lives they would live. Walt (a casualty of war of Michael's sad life) had his whole life ahead of him. He was only a child when he was a survivor. He wouldn't have necessarily been in this purgatory because he may have not lead a pathetic life into his adulthood.

Clever excuse. I still think it was just stupid plot planning.

BrettR said...

"DJP said...

Why did dead-Juliet tell Miles "It worked"? How did it work, if nothing in realtime history actually changed?"


--this is my lame explanation: Juliet is already in purgatory reality (flash-sideways) and having the conversation with Sawyer at the candy machine. One evidence of this is the banter about going out for coffee and going dutch. But the kicker is that when the Apollo candy bar gets stuck and Sawyer does as instructed by Juliet and plugs and unplugs the machine, Juliet says, "it worked."

So, when many assumed that "it worked" meant that the bomb going off worked -- wrong! It was just a eavesdropping into the "Lost" world afterlife.

Again, this is my lame explanation.

jmb said...

Haven't seen any of it either. Still haven't gotten over the final episode of "St. Elsewhere," wherein we find out that the entire series has been in the head of a schizophrenic child.

CR said...

BrettR,

I think you're a genius. That may in fact be it!

candy said...

I like tidy endings. This one was tidy with most of the relationships being resolved. The unresolved issues are too numerous to count.

I did not like the Bono-like coexist window in the background of the side room at the church. It was too obvious of a prop. The light at the creek was cheesy, and the light when Christian Shepherd walks out of the church was too cliche-ish for me.

I did like the outstretched arms of the Jesus statue, hoping that someone out there in tv land might be touched by the obvious symbol. A seed was planted years ago when I watched Godspell, so it can be done.

I am bothered that many shows deal with a nebulous idea of the afterlife, so I don't put too much stock in whatever Christian symbolism was in the show. I was confused by much of the show, so I just skimmed the surface and enjoyed trying to figure it all out.

The Damer said...

I gave up on Lost after season 4 because I suspected that the writers really didn't have this grand master plan and that there was no unity in the Lost universe. My interpretation of the ending seems to support that theory. My wife stuck with it and gave me updates so I sort of knew what was going on.

BUT, I remembered a very cool talk that JJ Abrams had done at TED. I've linked it hear.

http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/j_j_abrams_mystery_box.html

It explains at least his philosophy.

DJP said...

All: check the update in the post.

greglong said...

Or how about:

THE NUMBERS ARE IMPORTANT!
THE NUMBERS ARE IMPORTANT!
THE NUMBERS ARE IMPORTANT!
THE NUMBERS ARE IMPORTANT!

Oh, wait...Jacob: "They were just random numbers I picked and assigned to you people."

DJP said...

Damer and all - yes, interesting speech, but be warned: some bad language.

Stefan said...

I was still willing to buy the series right up until almost the very last moment. In the very last—what—minute or so of ten dozen hours of programming, everything was undone, and all the sci-fi stuff turned out to be elaborate red herrings.

In the end, it ended up having exactly the same premise as any movie or TV show involving angels, "heaven," or profane representations of God, in which the protagonist is either led to understand something about himself (in a thoroughly universalistic or syncretistic way), or given an opportunity to go back and fix his life.

Perhaps Abrams and/or the writers did have it all planned out from the beginning, but the leap from what we were led as viewers to believe to the actual conclusion was just too late and too implausible. This wasn't like an Agatha Christie whodunnit, where she makes everything plain at the very end, and you can go back in hindsight and see how it all fits into place.

And again, for that matter, this wasn't like Holy Scripture, where the key to everything (God's redemption of us through the substitutionary atonement of Jesus Christ for our sins) is explained in great detail in the New Testament, and brought out against its promises and foreshadowings in the Old Testament.

Lost is to the Bible as cotton candy is to a steak. Mirage and unfulfilling illusion that leaves you feeling hungry and sick, versus real sustenance.

JIBBS said...

I don't know what bothers me more:

1. That the show itself was one giant Long Con and the writers stole 6 years of my life.

or

2. A lot of my friends are telling me how they "feel bad for me" because I don't share their enthusiasm for the finale. I get looks like I'm a dog that just got ran over by a car.

JIBBS said...

Stephan:

Seriously. I wonder how the ending of the show is fundamentally different than the way a typical freshman in high school would conclude it?

Might as well just have said, "...and then Hurley woke up to the sound of the alarm clock. It was all a bad dream."

I see no difference.

DJP said...

Jibbs, on your first comment:

I hear you. It's a tossup between those lot, and the folks who can't say "I didn't watch it" without adding "because I'm not a carnal knuckle-dragger who doesn't have a life."

(c;

greglong said...

I'm not sure where some of you are getting this idea that the writers knew all along where they were going with the show.

I've heard them say that they only planned out the first season because they didn't know if it would last past that point. Then in the second season (if I remember correctly) they were still kind of searching. Then sometime around the end of the second or middle of the third season they set the end date for the show. That's when they knew they needed to plan the arc for entire show.

donsands said...

"I am proud to say that I've never watched an episode of "Lost," "The Apprentice," "Celebrity Apprentice," "American Idol," or even "Dancing with the Stars." I feel so clean." -Sola

How about 24?

That Crazy Christian said...

Christians, we have better things to do than watch TV, don't we?

DJP said...

Yes! Like sneering at people who do!

Zaphon said...

Good analogy and transition from the natural to the spiritual.

Zaph

trogdor said...

I'm digging the whole "it's about the characters, not having a logically coherent universe" false dichotomy being kicked around. Because apparently it must be impossible to do both or something.

But how exactly are we supposed to evaluate the characters if they exist in a universe where things are seemingly random from one season (or week!) to the next? What can we really know about a character's choices if we're missing all sorts of necessary background information that would shed light on those decisions?

For just one glaring example, Desmond (and by extension Eloise) in 'purgatory' in season 6. What do we make of Desmond's actions in awakening the others to their situation? Was he heroic? Noble? Shortsighted? Selfish? Arrogant and blind? Was Eloise evil in trying to prevent him from doing so? Was she truly good to do so?

In this case, Eloise kept talking about "the rules" (a running theme in several relationships, none of which are ever explained!). Well what were they? Why weren't these people supposed to find out this way? Was there something better for them if they awakened some other way, which would make Eloise good and Desmond an arrogant, ignorant buffoon? We have no idea, no way to judge their actions, because the universe they inhabit makes no sense.

So if we can't evaluate the morality/wisdom of the characters' choices because we have no clue of the rules governing their universe, what exactly are we to evaluate about them? How they look? If we like their accents? If they make us laugh? If they kind of creep us out? For a show that's supposedly "all about the characters", the persistent refusal to explain the world they inhabit leaves us with nothing but the most superficial understanding of them. It's a great example of godless postmodernism - in dreaming up an ever-changing incoherent world, they strip people and their choices of any meaning or significance. Seeking to elevate individuals, they instead reduce them to utter insignificance.

Rob said...

I only tuned into LOST once and the scene featured an uncomfortable sex scene between two of the (presumably) main characters. I immediately put this program into the category of, "Would God be glorified from this program?" No. Turned it off and haven't watched it since.

Please, more theologically-oriented posts, not prime-time soap opera themes.

dede said...

it's been sometime but i watch very little tv and i've never watched lost. yet, after reading all the comments today it seems like lost might be just another ratings bait...kind of like the ongoing bait of soap opera story lines. it goes on and on and on and on and just when you THINK they're heading for a climatic conclusion they take a left turn right into another storyline to keep the audience hooked.

i hope this make sense... all this from an ex-soap opera junkie.

<><
p.s. isn't there somewhere in the Scriptures that tell us that everything is permissible but not everything is beneficial?

CR said...

Rob: Turned it off and haven't watched it since.

A sort of a yellow flag went off especially with your comment of haven't watched it since. It reminded me of some notable people who give a reason why they rarely go to the movies.

You understand what true godliness is which is loving the Lord God with all your of heart, all of your mind, and all of your soul all the time, every single day, right?

You understand that there has never been a person ever, who has ever lived to that standard a single day, or even a single waking hour other than the Lord Jesus Christ?

You understand there hasn't been a single day Rob where you or any us have totally glorified God.

If you ever want to measure yourself to a standard and before you say "haven't done it since" read Jonathon Edward's 70 resolutions and then read the life of Jesus in Scriptures and you'll realize as great as Edward's 70 resolutions are, it doesn't even compare to the perfect life of Jesus.

Haven't said all that, it's not a license to sin. I'm not saying you're saying this, but if people want to knock people for taking an hour of out their week to watch a TV episode like Lost...that's cool. But before you toot your horn and say something like I "haven't done it since", first, be careful, lest you fall, because there are a lot of things we do (or don't do) every day that don't glorify God.

Brian B. said...

One HUGE question that remained unanswered... What happened when the bomb went off at the end of Season 5? We thought throughout Season 6 that the flash-sideways was an alternate universe but The End revealed that this was a form of limbo (don't know what else to call it)

So, other than transporting our heroes back to the present the bomb (which should have obliterated most, if not all, of the island) did exactly nothing.

The End effectively makes the Season 5 ending and the cliffhanger that went with it totally irrelevant.

bp said...

Don't understand why it's ok to hold pastors accountable for using foul language or sex talk in the pulpit, and if they come back with the "You're being legalistic" reply, Eph 5 and other verses are shot off. Yet, if someone even suggests that watching a tv show with sex or language in it is wrong for Christians to watch, the "You're being legalistic" replies get shot at them. It's amazing how good we are at compartmentalizing.

DJP said...

Rob, you have to read the whole post. It goes all the way to my signature. This seems to be a periodic issue. Maybe we should put instructions in the sidebar?

Reading the comments before commenting is nice, too. Kind of startling to me how many comments after mine of 4:07 PM, May 25, 2010 seem to be self-parodies.

bp - you're serious? You thought, before you wrote that, and were still just at a loss to see any difference?

bp said...

I'm serious.

greglong said...

Brian B., that's what I want to know as well. We're told that whatever happened on the island happened and it was all real. So how did the characters survive the detonation of a hydrogen bomb? And, as you said, what exactly happened as a result?

Rob said...

CR/Dan:

Respectfully, I do think BP makes a fair point: just the other day there was a post chiding the pastor in NYC using profanity, then there immediately follows a post about faithfully following a television show that features sex and profanity. Seems like there's a disconnect. No matter how much you want to dig into the messages of the show, it's a program encapsulated within a lot of "be careful little eyes what you see..."

More specifically, I think of this in terms of my more skeptical days (and also being mindful of the non-believers who read this blog): what do they think if they come across a blog with a post devoted to "LOST", a program that instinctively makes some people, like myself, think, "isn't that just the prime-time soap opera with sex and profanity?"
This is the type of thing I'd expect to see posted in a 'Christianity Today' blog, not Pyromaniacs.

And CR, I have read Edwards resolutions, in all sincerity thank you for the reminder, as these are good to revisit regularly. I particularly find this one that I think is apt for devoting time to faithful prime time television watching: "Resolved, never to lose one moment of time; but improve it the most profitable way I possibly can."

DJP said...

No, Rob, bp really doesn't have a point. She has a long-standing practice of having a reaction, blurting it, then refusing to think about it if challenged. We're just there again, same song next verse.

As with you. Read the post. All of it. Then apologize for your mischaracterization.

Then make a pledge: you will never again comment on a post which you have not fully read. That's not asking too much, is it?

Paul said...

I'm the weirdo who never saw an episode of lost until season 6, save for the pre-season recaps. A friend or two filled me in on some essential info, and I followed along rather well. I really thought we were dealing with alternate timelines: one where the Island was destroyed in 1977, and one where, following the bomb, they were belched back up in the not-quite-present-day. That made for an interesting proposition, and I was working out theories for why Eloise could know, have, and assert "rules" in what seemed to be an oddly restructured but "normal" life in LA. Having it all come down to "Purgatory: More Self-Realization in Relationships; Less Purgation" ticked me off.

For the record, my perception, from season 6 at least, was that this was one of the cleaner shows on tv. A lot cleaner than going to work every day in a fallen world, at a fallen university.

DJP said...

Sure; certainly no more corrupt nor potentially corrupting than the Greek philosophers Paul read and committed to memory, or the games that he and the author of Hebrews worked into their epistles. But that's all common knowledge among Christians this side of monasteries.

Yeah, I don't get it. Pretty sure I'll re-watch, with everyone's theories in mind, eventually. Interesting that the man who explains it all is named "Christian Shepherd" (with attention called to that fact in the episode)... yet the explanation is far from Christian.

At this moment, the biggest single thing I don't get is: what did the bomb accomplish?

Sir Aaron said...

I've never seen Lost or 24. I'm just about at the point where the only tv I can tolerate is reruns of Bonanza on TVLand.

Lockedawg said...

Miles did not "talk" to the dead, he sensed their last thoughts...Juliette was going in and out of the ATL (the purgatory) and her "it worked" thought was in reference to the vending machine where she and Sawyer were to meet up. The bomb is what "reset" the island time reference bringing all the Losties into the same time loop (Jacob to Smokie, "they're comming").
I am another that loved the way they ended the story of the Oceanic 815'ers. (Not a big fan of the theology...obviously)

Gabby said...

Sir Aaron - your comment made me happy, lol. I recently had back surgery, and was confined to bed for 2 months. I couldn't even read, because of the angle of holding a book. I almost lost my mind with the junk on tv and in desperation I ended up with Bonanza. Bonanza was and still is my little bright spot every day. While I do (or I should say 'did') watch both Lost and 24, Bonanza was and still is a little oasis of light in the muck of tvland.

Rob said...

Hey Dan,

I actually DID read the entire post, and, ironically, I think that in a broader sense the "problem" of evil is a perfect summary of believers letting evil influences into their lives, such as the sex and profanity of a prime time soap opera. Whats miscontextual about pointing out questionable moral content of a TV soap?

One more comment, then I'll stop my trollish ways: I heard a Russell Moore sermon once in which he made this illustration - imagine your having dinner with a couple and, following the meal, they make the comment to you, "excuse us, we're going to go over there and have sex". We'll, you'd be shocked and offended and likely ask them to leave. So why is it then that if a film or tv show (such as LOST) features the same thing, we have no problem letting this into our homes?

Frank Turk said...

I was reading my Bible the other day, and I was in the opening of Matthew, and it said this:

Abraham was the father of Isaac, and Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers, ...

It's a passage which, frankly, I return to often becuase it's the family history of Jesus. I ponder often the family history of Jesus.

So I flipped back to Genesis, and I found a passage as I read about "Judah and his brothers" in Gen 38 -- which I will not cite here for the sake of weaker brethren.

Now, before stuff gets a little out of control, there is nothing that happened in the course of the 6 seasons of LOST which is anywhere near as gritty and frankly carnal as what happened to Er, Tamar, Onan, and Judah and his son Perez.

But this leads me to a theological reflection for the sake of our readers who are taking DJP to task here:

I suspect that you simply did not read what Dan wrote, which came to this conclusion:

Take prophecy seriously and one sees a very complex weave from start to finish. Take the Bible seriously, and you realize that the Author of both history and prophecy knew the whole from the very start. Human writers may make it up as they go along, but God is the one who declares "the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, 'My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose'" (Isaiah 46:10).

That is: God is doing something greater than the extremely-disappointing narrative exploits of men like us. My only annotation is that it often plainly includes things that we simply cannot fathom -- like the fate of Onan, and the lineage of Christ.

His point is definitely not about LOST per se, but about God. And given that Dan didn't line out any of the unsavory aspects of LOST (and there are many, but I leave it to those who need a hobby to line out the list), but instead pointed the watchers of LOST to God's greatness, I wonder what exactly a more-theological post would look like?

Please let me know.

Frank Turk said...

The answer to your question, Rob, lies in the fact that Russell Moore still watches TV and secular movies like Avatar.

Work that into your example, and we'll get back to you.

gapid said...

lost certainly does have its fair share of eye candy, foul language, violence, alcohol, mysticism, sex, drugs, rock and roll, etc.

but even far more egregious is the fact that they waited until season five to rid us of juliette.

DJP said...

Oh, now, that's just not nice.

Solameanie said...

For the record, I intended no judgment on anyone when I said I didn't watch anything made past 1955. Some of that was tongue-in-cheek, but it's honestly where my tastes lie, at least in terms of film. I rarely watch TV these days in terms of watching a series, and the ones I have seen generally bore me to tears, and what doesn't bore me is generally offensive. So I just avoid it.

I love film noir in black and white. Some films just weren't meant to be seen in color as it changes the whole feel and mystique. Ted Turner should have been put into the electric chair for colorizing "Casablanca."

Solameanie said...

Don,

Sorry, didn't see your question or I would have included a reply in the previous comment.

Nope, haven't seen even one episode of 24. Not for any snootiness or for legalistic reasons, but it simply doesn't interest me. My interests are films like The Maltese Falcon, The Big Sleep, Deadline at Dawn, Sorry, Wrong Number, Double Indemnity, White Heat, Cry of the City, etc.

Trench coats, Packards, Fedora hats, shadows and fog in the dead of night, police sirens in the distance, the criminal being hauled to the electric chair in the end. Can't beat it.

That Crazy Christian said...

"Yes! Like sneering at people who do!"

A immature response to a critical comment and perfectly in line with what I've come to expect from the bloggers who run this blog.

Here's a question for you, and this is directly related to your post: Can you tell me what the difference between what you've done here and this - http://www.alittleleaven.com/2010/02/24-sermon-series.html

I'd honestly like to know the answer.

DJP said...

That's hysterical.

Bringing the Bible to bear on an immensely popular show is a waste of my time.

But chasing after homework assignments from snarky snipers who can't accept the simplest, most obvious correct - that would be a brilliant use of my time.

Pass.

Rob said...

I guess I'm just not following the big picture here: So the moral of the story is, as believers, we can watch ANYTHING on television that we like and it's all fine and dandy, and this in no way grieves the Holy Spirit when we introduce content like into our hearts week after week, as long as we take whatever we watch and guild a message around it regarding "God's greatness"? By that reasoning, would there be anything wrong with Dan writing a review of an adult film and then tying in the same message?

Regardless, I appreciate the repromand (and I do apologize if I misconceptualized) but all the same, regarding the somewhat snide nature of your replies - Frank/Dan, if I wasn't firmly convinced of the truth of the gospel of Christ, the caustic nature of your responses would be enough to drive anyone to atheism.
Work on that "truth in love" stuff...

Sven Pook said...

Told ya'll this would have a high thread count, nearly up to the comments on the 180 church.

My wife and I began to watch Lost because our children wanted to watch and we did not want them to view anything that we were not appraising. We refused for the first few seasons, but our son reached the age of 13 and wanted to rent the series on DVD, so we relented and made sure to be there to fast forward any objectionable content. Our daughter, who is now 18, got bored and quit watching, preferring her iPod.

Our desire to see it through came from the fact that we were able to use Lost to teach how a Christian worldview should react to life in general. As a home-schooled child he needs to be aware of what the world holds, but should learn about it from us, not his friends that have been watching the series from its inception with no parental guidance while watching.

We were able to use the ending to point out that pluralism is accepted by the world, he has long known that something that is accepted by the world in general is usually patently false.

I should think that this endeavor became at least somewhat "profitable" as we were able to carry a teachable moment for 2 years.

Lynda O said...

"My interests are films like The Maltese Falcon, The Big Sleep, Deadline at Dawn, Sorry, Wrong Number, Double Indemnity, White Heat, Cry of the City, etc."

Thanks for stating it well, the desire to watch old movies instead of current stuff, not for any legalistic reason but simply because of one's own enjoyment... similarly I prefer older movies and older TV shows, I just don't get into all the latest entertainment fads. And I've seen several of those films you listed.

Frank Turk said...

Note to Rob:

If you could define "caustic" in terms of "listing the facts you missed in your point", then your rebuke will get some legs under it.

Until then, enjoy your lunch. I'm going to enjoy mine.

That Crazy Christian said...

"That's hysterical.

Bringing the Bible to bear on an immensely popular show is a waste of my time.

But chasing after homework assignments from snarky snipers who can't accept the simplest, most obvious correct - that would be a brilliant use of my time.

Pass."

More ornery snarkeyness and needless wrangling from Pyromaniac bloggers.

Anyway, I think my questions are fair and your refusal to answer only goes to illuminate your lack of an answer. The first response of the man caught in a bad reasoning is ridicule.

Here's a simple question Dan, that won't take any, uh, "research". Why don't you just "bring the Bible to bear" on it's own, instead of bringing the Bible to bear using some depraved TV show?

Take your time.

Merlin said...

Best comment in this meta:

42.

Second best concerned the judgment of Ted Turner for colorizing "Casablanca."

I didn't watch "Lost" but my family did. I just found it too hard to follow early on and gave up on it.

One of the problems that writers have when tying together loose ends is that while they know how to connect the dots, they sometimes forget to tell their audience how to connect the dots. It's one of those things where the author makes an assumption that the audience gets it, or that they've already told the audience because the author already knows the answer but actually they forgot to tell the audience. I don't know, but it sounds like sloppy writing to me.

I hope you all enjoy your DVDs, but I won't watch it there this summer either. The World Cup starts in 3 weeks, after all.

Gabby said...

For what it's worth, Dan's posts, his teachings, have been priceless in my life. I mean that - priceless. As in a great treasure. So much so that my life has changed in certain things because of them. So when, on the rare occasion, that he does post something frivolous, to me - that's a treat. It's a welcome relief from the heavy things...a little break from life, per se.

I only say this because it's most unfair to equate this post of his as his norm, and this, in particular, is fighting below the belt and uncalled for:

"Why don't you just "bring the Bible to bear" on it's own, instead of bringing the Bible to bear using some depraved TV show?"

As one who has benefited enormously from Pyros, and in particular, Dan, I can say unequivocally that he does indeed 'bring the Bible' to bear on its own. Often. Frequently. And instructively.

Lynda O said...

"Why don't you just "bring the Bible to bear" on it's own, instead of bringing the Bible to bear using some depraved TV show?"

The same could be said for why preachers use "sermon illustrations" from real-life shows or comic strips, frivolous things from our popular culture. Or why Paul quoted pagan writers. The point is that our worldview sees God as the author, that we can point others to the true God through references to things we're familiar with in our everyday experiences, and interact with the world, as a teaching tool. Many great preachers have used such illustrations to make a point, to improve our understanding of God and His word.

Frank Turk said...

TCC:

Plainly, you have ignored my response to you.

greglong said...

Totally Lost's Doc Jensen addresses (notice I didn't say "answers") the Jughead question:

Lost finale recap, part two

Richie said...

Ok. I don't comment on blogs very often, but I need some clarification after checking out the blogger profiles of some of those commenting (and there may be rules against this--if so, then Dan can remove this post, and I apologize):

"Christians, we have better things to do than watch TV, don't we?"

--Like watching movies, or listening to music?

"I only tuned into LOST once and the scene featured an uncomfortable sex scene between two of the (presumably) main characters. I immediately put this program into the category of, "Would God be glorified from this program?" No. Turned it off and haven't watched it since."

--Given your own standard above, in what way does listening to Queen, Wham, Heart or Duran Duran glorify God over against watching 'Lost'? Seems like there's a disconnect. Be careful little ears what you hear...

Gabby said...

That Crazy Christian - you said "Christians, we have better things to do than watch TV, don't we?"

That - coming from someone who lists the Godfather movies as some of his favorites? American History X? American Beauty?

Really?

Um, pot - meet kettle.

DJP said...

Gabby, I think you've uncovered a big reason why most drive-bys have no profile.

Chad V. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chad V. said...

TCC

In defense of Dan, the difference would be that DJP isn't doing a sermon series on Lost. He's just made an observation on a blog. There is a difference between a sermon and a blog post posted on a Tuesday.

Rob,

Richie has a point. I was a teenager in the '80's. Duran Duran is very sexually explicit, and Queen... c'mon, you've gotta be kidding me.

Dan can write what he wants. It's not Dan's responsibility to please me, nor is it his to please anyone else. i admit this post had nothing to interest me. So what? I'll just wait for the next DJP post. Besides, do we ever go to work and say, "did you guys see such and so on TV last night?"

We all struggle with what to allow ourselves to watch and listen to including yours truly. But seriously, if Duran-Duran and Queen are in your list of favorite music you really can't complain about Lost.

candy said...

Rob. Actually I'm surprised you turned on your tv or even own one since just about everything on tv is questionable in some form or fashion. Well...with the exception of Antiques Roadshow or gardening shows maybe. Since LOST is over I am thinking of getting one of those bumper stickers that state: Kill Your Television...unless something else comes along that I can try to analyze.

Gabby said...

Some of the plank-in-your-eye comments on this meta (meta-did I use that properly? Pardon my ignorance, but what's a meta anyway?) bring to mind a line I heard in a movie once. It goes like this:

"Christians. Where's the lions when you need em?"

I have a clearer understanding now of why so many non-Christians look around hoping for a few lions to show up sometimes.

DJP said...

Gabby, "meta" (seriously) is the Greek preposition meaning "after." It means a comment thread that comes after a post.

Solameanie said...

Well, given the little chivaree this post and subsequent meta has provoked, I could offer to host a showing of "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang." Film at eleven, but no popcorn or peanuts.You see, I'm afraid of running afoul of the food police with all the butter and salt.

On second thought, I'd best not show Chitty, even though it did star Dick Van Dyke. Ian Fleming was the author of the original book.

Gabby said...

Thanks, Dan, for explaining "meta". I've seen it used often and once, a few months ago, I even googled it, but still didn't understand the meaning of it. Now I know - thank you!

bp said...

Wow Dan. Now I have a “long-standing” practice of having a reaction, blurting it, and then refusing to answer if challenged? Are you sure you weren’t mixing me up with yourself when you wrote that? If you could give examples of this long-standing practice, that would be great. (How long do you have to be on a blog to have a “long-standing practice” anyway?)

Back to subject. If not you, Dan, I hope others can see the irony and hypocrisy of coming down hard on people like Kim and Driscoll because of offensive language or sex talk and then (for entertainment sake) tuning into shows that are full of just that. And I hope they can also see the irony and hypocrisy of getting all upset over Driscoll’s irritation at, and dismissal of, honest exhortation from other believers, and then turning around and getting all irritated and dismissive toward believer's who do the same to them.

Frank Turk said...

What I hope is that folks like BP will apply their premises and presuppositions to themselves and, after they stop using the internet and electricity, can find people with whom they can fellowship with who are real human beings.

Then they can discuss the meaning of Gen 38 without actually ever applying it - if they are not too offended.

DJP said...

Yep, you, bp. How many times did you insist on yanking meta's of posts about the sufficiency of Scripture to a discussion of your experience, demanding an interpretation while at the same time insisting you already knew it was the voice of God? How many times did I ask you to re-read and re-think about the posts, and basically cool your jets while the series progressed? How many times did you basically reply by repeating the demands, and complaining loudly and bitterly that you weren't getting your questions answered the way you wanted in the time you wanted?

I'm at a loss as to how to do you any good. The posts get you emotionally upset, I can't persuade you to think them through, you see no need to do so, and you keep finding one thing or another to complain about in both posts and response. So why keep reading? Really, if it's such a continually negative experience for you, I release you: you don't need to read my posts any more. There's always Phil and Frank. They're great guys.

Sonja said...

Dan--the fact that you loved this show adds to your already cool stature in my book! As someone who worked in the film/TV business (and with JJ Abrams on Felicity), I deeply respected and loved the work that the writers did on LOST. I loved all of the literary references, from the Bible to Watership Down and Alice in Wonderland, among many others. My husband and I have been hooked from the pilot and loved the journey as much as the characters.

The ending was emotional, mainly because of the tearful reunions or awakenings of the characters. That said, we were left with a gnawing sadness after the final image for two reasons: 1. the final scene with Jack in ecumenical church, 2. The end only confirmed what we believed all along: the island was a purgatory for the characters to redeem themselves in order to go the their heaven, which was being together with their loved ones in the afterlife journey. Even though Jack becomes a Christ-like figure at the end, everything he and the other characters had to endure to go to some mysterious heaven seemed to be somewhat in vain in light of what we know to be the true Gospel. It was a big pile of gruesome works for these poor folks. When we know the true heaven and that Christ has done it all for us, anything different from that glorious story will ring hollow and devastating.

Personally, I believe all died in the original plane crash, and when they woke up, their purgatory journeys began.

IMHO, Doc Jensen at Entertainment Weekly probably has the best recap and analysis around.

bp said...

Frank, not sure how to interpret that.
1. Since none of us can be perfectly sinless, why even try?

2. Since none of us can be perfectly sinless, how dare we point out another's sin?

2. Reading stories of sexual sin in the Bible is equal to being entertained by stories of sexual sin on t.v.?

bp said...

Dan, basically (in the other thread) all I wanted was for you to either tell me that there was no way it could have happened or admit that you couldn’t say it did or didn’t. Mike R. finally answered it though, and I was fine with that.

Btw, I’ve read a lot of your posts that I have learned from, enjoy and agree with. I guess I just don’t usually respond unless I disagree. So in reality, doesn't that mean I have a long-standing practice of quietly learning? :o)

DJP said...

Sonja, thanks for actually discussing the post. ABC says that they weren't dead, so...but we wondered the same thing.

It was a clever, creative, intelligent show. Christians can scoff in self-impressed piety (or just avoid it because that's their conviction or taste) — or engage, as you did and as I tried to, showing how much better the truth and the Gospel is than the best the world can muster.

DJP said...

Okay, bp, you may have a point. And it has the advantage of being unfalsifiable.

(c:

jmb said...

Solameanie -

I must say that I am rather appalled at your mention of a movie with the suggestive title of "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang." Adding insult to injury, you apparently felt compelled to bring up the name of its leading performer, Dick Van Dyke. In future, please keep in mind that there are readers of this blog who do not share your coarse sensibilities.

bp said...

Sam Kim to friend: I must say I am rather apalled at your mention of the word "dang"! In future, please keep in mind that there are some readers of this blog who do not share your coarse sensibilities.

Not as hilarious when you're at the other end of the joke, huh?

Solameanie said...

All kidding aside, isn't this one of those "conscience" issues where people need to read Scripture and draw their own conclusions about what is acceptable for themselves?

And not to belabor a point, but I don't think much of this discussion has really centered on the point Dan was making in his post. I'd recommend reading the post again and again until we all get it.

bp said...

Solameanie, we've read the post. As Rob has stated, pulling a spiritual a message out of a t.v. or movie doesn't redeem it. As he said, can we do that with pornography? (This porno flick shows the depraved nature of man and it reminds me of how God created Adam and Eve in purity of thought and manner...blah blah blah)

If it is a matter of conscience, then how is it not a matter of conscience for Sam Kim to use the F-bomb? If Eph 5 applies to him, why doesn't it apply to us when it says, "Therefore, do not be partners with them"?

I realize the problem of "where do we draw the line" comes up, but shouldn't we be encouraging each other to strive for holiness instead of using our liberty to indulge the flesh?

wordsmith said...

Attempted parallels between the "Lost" narrative and the Kim issue fall short: the writers of "Lost" (afaik) make no claims to be Christian, and hence are fulfilling their job descriptions as pagans.

Kim, on the other hand, names the name of Christ, and should depart from iniquity (2 Tim 2:19) - which includes the filthy and unwholesome talk.

bp said...

Ahh, he should, but not us.

Webster Hunt (Parts Man) said...

bp,

I've read and reread this post, and I can't find where Dan pulls a spiritual meaning out of the show Lost in this post. Will you point it out?

He definitely makes a contrast between what was written in Lost (how man can redeem himself) and the truth (that man can't redeem himself), but when you talk about pulling a spiritual message out of something, then there has to be something comparable - and the point of Dan's post (at least what I'm thinking it is) is in the second to the last paragraph - that there IS no comparison to the truth in ANY effort of man because anything man can produce will be in his own image (and that is always works-based). So if Dan were to by some miracle pull some sort of spiritual message out of Lost, it would be soft and watered-down at best, and he'd have to perform some hefty mental and wordy gymnastics to pull it off.

I don't know him personally, but having read him for some time, he seems to me to be a man who loves Jesus and desires people to be conformed to His image. He is by no means above reproof, but I can't see anything he's posted that usurps the Lordship of Jesus or encourages people to sin against Him. If you believe that Dan has sinned by watching a TV program, then go to him civilly and walk him through the Word to bring him to REPROOF - which is about restoration to the body and to Jesus, and NOT about hitting someone with a snark-missile at mach 3 in the face.

DJP said...

Sola, wordsmith, Webster - you find a way to make people think who refuse to do so (let alone re-think), do tell me. But God bless you for trying.

JIBBS said...

Here's something constructive:

Has anyone considered the eerie resemblance of Damon Lindelof to Rob Bell??

It's spooky.

bp said...

WH,
"Spiritual message" or "spiritual meaning"...ie: that there IS no comparison to the truth in ANY effort of man because anything man can produce will be in his own image

Btw, I'm curious as to where I ever said or implied that Dan didn't love Jesus or that he usurps His Lordship? Are these sort of accusations really much different than what Kim or his friends might say to you for suggesting that there might be something wrong with using the F-word? And is this not a public forum? Do I really have to go to Dan privately? Is that what he did with Sam Kim?

You say that Dan's not above reproach, but from the mere 2 posts that I've disagreed with him on, and the reaction I've gotten (a snark-missile at mach 3 in the face would be more a propos here, I think) I'm starting to believe that this may not be true here.

Webster Hunt (Parts Man) said...

bp,

So the spiritual message you have a problem with is one that isn't even derived from Lost, but is an observation of what it is not?

bp said...

Webster, have you read all my comments? I never said I have a problem with the spiritual message, but that I have a problem with the hypocrisy of saying that according to Eph 5 it's wrong for Sam Kim to use foul language and M.D. to use coarse sexual talk, while at the same time entertaining oneself with that very stuff in tv shows and movies. That's all.

The only thing I added about "spiritual messages" was that some folks seem to think that if a show can get them thinking about spiritual matters (ie: God's sovereignty, man's lack of sovereignty, or whatever), that this makes it an ok show to watch no matter the garbage in it.

one busy mom said...

I haven't seen any of this last season yet....we always wait till the end, rent the whole season and kill a weekend watching it straight thru. Spoilers don't bother me, we'll still watch it. But I can't believe they dropped the whole Sci-Fi angle! We got the distinct impression a season or two ago that it was the writers who were getting a bit "lost" in their ever more entagling web of plot lines.

As you pointed out, how totally different from God who knew the end from the start! My favorite book of the Bible is Revelation - I can't wait for the unfolding of God's final season. No un-answered questions, no hanging un-fulfilled prophesy, no red herrings or botched plot lines. Every single promise and prophesy made over thousands of years - all
totally and perfectly answered. How jaw-droppingly awesome is that?!!