of the great things about being an active, believing Christian is to entertain a
certain optimism about the future. In
the long run, we believe, God is in charge.
And in God’s good time, the Kingdom will finally arrive, and the reign
of Jesus will be evident to all. The
afterlife will be one of fellowship, and peace, where all will live in harmony
and goodwill. This conviction
doesn’t necessarily mean that we don’t take seriously the reality of sin,
evil, death, and chaos in the world now. It
just means that we happen to believe that those won’t have the last word.
And we also think that the Spirit of the Lord inspires folks to do things
that reflect the Kingdom’s glory, even as we also think that people can choose
to ignore that guidance, and go their own ways, because of the reality of human
that is important as a context for “Tomorrowland,” because through all the
sci-fi glitz and glitter, it’s really all about whether one chooses to be
optimistic about the future. No,
it’s not the old thing about the glass being half-full, it’s instead the
story of which wolf you choose to feed (the peaceful one or the devouring one),
but the point is the same. You
either choose to give up on any kind of useful purpose for the world’s
advancement, cynically figuring that it’s all going to Hell in a handbasket,
anyway, or you decide that if everybody could just share the hopeful vision,
there’s no limit to what we can do together.
Newton (Britt Robertson) is the kind of girl who will sneak into a NASA facility
to sabotage the shutting-down of the platform, just because she believes so
strongly that NASA ought not give up on its space exploration, no matter what
political considerations might intervene. She’s
obviously bright, and like her NASA-engineer Dad, just seems to know how things
work. But her Dad has begun carrying
the resigned air of the disappointed cynic.
Casey thinks everyone is just giving up too easily.
day she happens upon a token from a previous World’s Fair, and a funny thing
happens when she touches it: she is transported to another realm, in the future.
She’s absolutely fascinated---not scared at all---not even when she
tries to find out how to re-charge her strange intergalactic device, and runs
across some very strong opposition, of the robotic variety.
Fortunately, she’s rescued by a cute little freckle-faced girl, Athena
(Raffey Cassidy), who has many secrets of her own, but nonetheless manages to
recruit Casey to pursue her dream of visiting “Tomorrowland” once more.
the way, Casey meets a jaded old former dreamer, Frank Walker (George Clooney),
who at first just tries to discourage Casey from hoping that anyone could
actually convince the world to not be about its self-destruction (you know the
drill: climate change, polar ice cap
melting, pollution, overpopulation, resource depletion, famine, drought, etc.).
Frank and Casey, an unlikely pairing, still manage to get themselves to a
part of Tomorrowland that has itself been taken over by the militant
hard-liners, so that it’s all about security and dictatorial control.
Can the dystopian future be rescued from itself by super-intelligent
optimists today? Well, that’s the question, isn’t it?
Which wolf do you feed?
part of the Christian end-time conviction is appealing to you?
Which part isn’t?
you have confidence that the world is heading toward God’s future?
Or more like straight to Hell in a handbasket?
“2001: A Space Odyssey” Question: Do
you think that artificial intelligence devices will become so sophisticated that
they will be able to override their own programming?
Dr. Ronald P. Salfen is the
Supply Pastor, First Presbyterian Church, Kaufman, Texas