Carpe Aeternum

Finding the Eternal in the Every Day

Archive for the tag “rescue”


On our honeymoon, my wife and I spent a day driving along the southwest coast of Ireland. We found a small village on the ocean with a quaint little beach. Since we had been on the road for a while, this seemed like a good place to stop and explore a bit. It was late in the day and most of the families at the beach packed up their things and headed home. The beach was ours.

Don’t worry, this a PG story. This isn’t heading to “From Here to Eternity.”

We decided to get out into the ocean a bit, by stepping on a series of smaller rocks to reach some larger ones further out, hoping to find a tidal pool. This helped us avoid getting into the water. Remember: Ireland, North Atlantic. This was not the balmy Caribbean Sea.

After a few minutes we reached the larger rocks. The ocean spread before us. We were far enough from the shelter of the shore to feel more exposed to the wind to feel like we were more in the ocean than on land. It was truly beautiful. We reveled in the vast expanse.

When we decided that it was time to head back and go get some dinner. We turned around to find most of the stones we walked out on were now gone. The water covered them, as well as most of the beach. The tide had come in while we weren’t paying attention. It looked like we would have to wade to the shore through waist deep, very cold water.

Then we noticed a cliff a little to our right that we could reach by walking over still exposed stones. The cliff stood about twenty feet high with lots of stones protruding to make it a simple climb. A short scramble later we stood on land, rescued from the sea.

This may make it sound like a bigger deal than it was. We barely got wet; we barely got our hands dirty, we didn’t even break a sweat. It wasn’t easy either. I don’t want to under sell this. A few minutes longer on the rock and would have been forced to swim to shore. Had we been another twenty yards further out it may have been truly dangerous.

It surprised me how much had changed so quickly. The tide came in and we didn’t even notice. That’s how I gained weight. Things changed so gradually and so steadily that I didn’t even notice until one day I was fat.

They say live frogs will sit in an uncovered pot of water as it is boiled as long as the temperature changes gradually. If it happens too quickly, the frog will jump out when distressed. But if it is slow and steady, it will never know it is in danger and it will die.

Sadly, I can’t gradually and steadily and unknowingly get unfat. Good things don’t work the way bad things do. I can get unfat steadily and gradually but I have to be mindful of it. I have to focus. I have to work. Getting into a mess is easy. Getting out of a mess takes much more work. Sort of the difference of walking out to the ocean and then needing to scramble up a cliff to be free.


Christ Figures

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about my discovery of the Incarnation Figure as an archetype in storytelling. There are obvious connections between this and the Christ Figure that w are so familiar with given that the Christ that the figures tend to emulate began being Christ through incarnation, the embodiment of something greater in than our world in our world. But the difference that I pointed out is that Christ Figures tend to have death and resurrection or sacrificial element to them and Incarnation Figures don’t always express that.
As intriguing and powerful as Christ Figures can be, I find them troublesome at times. I have seen too many Christians try to grade a story’s value on the presence or lack of Christ Figure. If it has one, it’s a good story, if not it fails. And this is whether the story is told well or the characters are believable or if there is any suspense to make us care what happens.
The other problem I frequently see is when a Christ figure is imposed in attempts to co-opt a story and make it a Christian tale. Take “The Matrix” for example. Certainly there is the element of sacrifice on Neo’s part as he stays behind to let the others escape. And there is something of death and resurrection. But did he really die? OR did he simply, finally understand the Matrix well enough to know that he didn’t have to die there? To me this story is more about faith and finding out what can happen when you truly believe more than it is about a Christ figure and the redemption that follows.
People often describe Gandalf from The Lord of the Rings as a Christ figure. Again there is a certain validity to that in terms of his death and resurrection. But as much as he is a Christ Figure, he is also an Odin Figure, at least up until the resurrection point. It’s almost as if Gandalf starts as Odin and finishes as Christ. And that’s not much a of a stretch given that Odin is a bit of Christ Figure himself, sacrificing himself unto himself.
But my favorite example of the failings of the overstressed Christ Figure is Hell Boy. In the second Hell Boy movie, the story follows the typical Christ Figure arch, as he sacrifices himself to save another, descends into the pits to eradicate the forces of evil and save all the Earth. Powerful stuff. But how many Christians stumble on this because he is a demon – and not just any demon, Satan’s son who’s true destiny is to bring ultimate destruction on the Earth? Is such a character an acceptable Christ Figure?
I think this is one of those examples that parallels the story of the Bronze Snake from scripture. God commanded Moses to make a bonze statue of a snake. This statue heals anyone that looks at it. The odd part is that most times that snakes appear in scripture, they are symbols of evil, demons or Satan himself. Jesus later tells us that the snake was an image of him. The image of evil expresses the ultimate good. Perhaps Hell Boy falls in this same category.

Post Navigation