Aaron Summers

Maleficent and the Post-Modern Church

In Life and Culture on September 13, 2014 at 8:28 am

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So, I took the family out for a movie night and watched Maleficent at the cheap theater.  As we watched the movie I could not help but try to figure out where the differences were going to be.  Of course, the largest difference was the back story given concerning the fairy whose wings were stolen.  The story we grew up reading and have read 1000 times to our children is Sleeping Beauty.  The writers of Maleficent provide a redacted version of this beloved story.  In it we see the villain become a hero.  Before you think the narrator is Maleficent, think again.  Before you think you know who the true love is, think again.

Good so far…

Our culture certainly enjoys rewriting that which has been known and beloved.  In an effort to be fresh, hip, and exciting a trend in writing is to change up what we know and create new twists and turns.  In this example, Maleficent is not just an evil witch.  She is a misunderstood and heart-broken girl.  Due to the way Stefan treated her, left her, cut her wings, and did not invite her to the baby celebration it is no wonder that she is fuming by the time she arrives.  At this point, I did not find concern.  The anger we have all seen in Sleeping Beauty is simply explained.  Good so far…

Wait…What?

As Aurora grows Maleficent is involved in her life.  She watches over her.  She saves her.  She loves her.  As she approaches 16, we find Maleficent turning tender, sort of, as she expresses the reality of evil.  She tries to revoke the spell but cannot.  Later, we find that the Prince did not wake her with a kiss.  Maleficent is the true love and her kiss awakens Aurora from the death sleep.  The dragon is not Maleficent but her sidekick slave.  Aurora becomes queen of both worlds and Maleficent is happy once again.

The significance of this twisting movie is that we are being presented with the “real” story.  Beloved for years, Sleeping Beauty, is now being touted as the royal version while the truth is now being released.  Those in charge created a story and propped it up with money and power.  Why would Disney take the chance of tarnishing its name by changing such a beloved story?  Money.  We do anything for money in this culture.

The Church should be scared…

What this means for the Church is that our culture is being deprogrammed from holding anything as sacred.  I understand both of these stories are fables.  However, what happens when God-fearing people are presented with the arguments of our day that suggest the historic Jesus and the Biblical Jesus are two different people?  This is exactly what Zealot is all about.  Educated folk are challenging the long-held beliefs of Christians.  One argument is that the Gospel writers simply wrote a story about this man Jesus in order to fulfill prophecies and further their needs.  Other arguments include that Paul actually started a cult rather than the Christian church.   James and Peter were the real leaders and Paul was a rebellious type who created a cult of personality and education.  Thus, the Bible cannot really be trusted scholars would say.

Maleficent was a fun movie.  I enjoyed the twists and turns because I knew it was not truth that was being changed.  We simply went from one fable to another.  But the trend of challenge and change will creep into the church and we must be prepared.  We must read, study, and know our Bible.  If we believe it to be truth, then we must also be able to defend the truth.  Sure, it all comes down to whether you have faith or not, but we can, at least, act like we know what we are talking about.

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