Monday, February 24, 2014

Deconstructing the Lego Movie

I grew up playing with Lego, so it wasn't a big ask to take my youngest son and 4 of his 8-year old friends to see the Lego Movie on Saturday. It was fun, clever and had a very catchy theme tune that got stuck in everyone's head, whether they were 8 or 41 years old! "Everything is awesome!"

The song is dripping with candy-pop irony though. "Everything is cool when you're part of a team," is the propaganda of the Lego regime seeking to keep every Lego character locked in oppressive conformity. Essentially, the message of the movie is, "You're special, break free from the conformity of community and discover your unique individuality." Of course there is some  truth to that, but I'm not sure we realize that this is the Gospel of Individualism, and that it's being preached to us every day from almost every angle. I wish I could just sit and enjoy the movie.
But honestly, it is building a world-view which needs careful dismantling.

As I've begun to look at how the Trinity shapes the identity of every believer, we simply have to distinguish between Individualism and a Trinitarian view of family. We need to break free from conformity to the world's view of community as oppressive conformity, and trust God to renew our minds through the Trinity, who dwells in perfect unity and diversity, with self-giving love.

The Bible's view of the individual's life is one of a silver thread; beautiful yet fragile. Individualism's message is that the unique quality of each individual is best discovered on it's own. The Trinitarian view is that when we allow God to weave us into the tapestry of community we are stronger and
richer than when we were alone. In fact, the Bible says that we cannot truly know ourselves apart from community; that there are aspects of our souls that are obscured from us but are clear to others.
"If we have fellowship with one other we walk in the light..." (1 Jn 1:9)

Fascinating that Jesus' acid test for whether Peter loved Him, was loving Jesus' family.
"Do you love me, Peter? Then feed my sheep." (Jn 21)
Our vertical love for Christ is tested horizontally in family.
But that can sometimes be as painful as stepping barefoot on a stray piece of Lego!
It's relatively easy to love Jesus, isn't it?  He's perfect and has given Himself faithfully to us. Jesus was calling Peter to extend the same grace to Jesus' flock, that had been extended to him in his failure. As John Stott said, "Loving the  family of God sometimes means forgiving the inexcusable because the inexcusable has been forgiven in us."

The younger brother of Individualism is Deconstructionism - the fear of Institutions. This world view embraces community, but in a very fluid, unstructured manner. Any imposition upon the individual's freedom to come and go as he or she pleases is seen as restrictive. Again, there is a need to deconstruct
Deconstructionism through the Trinity. The perfect Family is committed to one another, has a leader and a mission. While the Bible does speak of the World-Wide Family of God of which every believer is mystically a part,  it is also clear about believers belonging to local families. "To the church that meets in Priscilla's  and Aquila's house." (Romans 16) These local families were committed, submitted and met daily  around the preaching of scripture, prayer  and the sacraments. You could be put out of one, which assumes that you were welcomed in to one too. The early church was not as fluid and disorganized as the Deconstructionists would like it to be!

Christ has reconciled us to His father and his family through his own blood, and oh what richness, when we discover the love of the Father through his family! There is nothing like it!
It is not good for man to be alone!
In Christ we have found a perfect Father, but we have also found a family,
which though imperfect, is very good.
Awesome, in fact.


  1. It has long amazed me how we learn, even as Christians, to read an unholy trinity of "me, myself and I" into the Bible at every turn. We do it when we automatically read each verse and passage as though it was written "to me" and "about me." We also do it when we imagine falsely that the height of Bible study is "what it means to me." Much better to read whole sections and books of the Bible and first find out what it means as it was written, by whom it was written, and to whom it was written. I am so refreshed by the preaching from our Southlands pastors, who teach and demonstrate an expository approach to Scripture which stresses the Church in light of the Triune God in whose image we are (collectively!) created and re-created in Christ. After all, we are each saved for the Kingdom and for the Church, not for "me, myself and I."

  2. Thanks Russ. great insight and encouragement!

  3. Thanks! There is a lot of biblical imagery in this movie I hadn't thought about until I read your post. The world was created by the father (Will Ferrell), but the laws of the father were being reformed by the son, Finn (Jason Sand) who was with the father in the beginning and provides the voice, or word, of the story, and personally intercedes on behalf of every individual in the world. Also, each of the characters, when they act or believe properly show the shared spirit of the father and son. Emmet believes he is chosen, struggles with being chosen and whether he is worthy, and ultimatley sacrifices himself to save the world, which could represent John the Baptist & some of the apostles or martyrs. Saul was as much a conformist as Emmet before Saul walked on the road to Damascus and became reborn as Paul, but each was given an opportunity to see that that their former conformity served a misguided, or possibly nefarious, purpose. Thanks for the insight for me to reflect on themes in the movie. Certainly a lot more than a simple kids' picture.