We did not attend any service at a 'church' nor did we partake in any ritual that commonly goes with 'Good Friday'. Rather, being spurred within our souls by the melting of snow and the scent of spring flowing through our beings, we decided to venture out, as a family, to catch the latest movie release of 'The Croods'. We went together, spend time together, laughed together and even cried together.
I will share part of the story, all the while adding my input here and there as to what came to my mind as I watched and later reflected upon it.
The story is about a family of cavemen who dwell constantly within their cave, only venturing out in desperation for food. These cavemen(Or cave-persons for the politically correct.) ever hide there in fear due, in part, to losing many of whom they have known to various outside dangers. Their daughter, Eep, however has the spirit of life within her, desiring to explore and experience the world her father so wishes to keep at bay.
"New is always bad! Never not be afraid!", he demands.The father, Grug, while in the safety of their cave, shares with his family, during their nightly story time, a story of a curious little bear(His daughter) who's curiosity got the better of her.
Grug: Tonight we'll hear the story of Crispy Bear. A long time ago this little bear was alive because she listened to her father. So she was happy, but Crispy had one terrible problem. She was filled with curiosity. Yes, and one day she saw something new and DIED!
Thunk(Grug's Son): Just like that?
Gran(Grug's Mother In-law): Same ending as yesterday.
Thunk: I get it, dad. I will never do anything new or different!
Grug: Good man, Thunk.At this point, the Croods was a reminder to me of the life that I too once lived within a cave...a cave called Evangelicalism, Protestantism, Church, you name it. The cave was a place where the shepherd, leader, pastor etc. instilled within me a fear of the outside. A fear of those Secularists and their deceitful ways. Danger lurks everywhere, demons hide behind every bush waiting to pounce on those who stray to near to or just outside the cave...outside the fold. Christ had been kicked out and 'Christianity' was my cave.
Back to 'the Croods'...
Unbeknown to them, tragedy was about to befall them. While returning to their home from a hunting mission, the earth begins to shift and their cave is crushed by the mountain of rock above it. Their shelter, their safe place and all that they have come to know have now been left to rubble. All is lost and they are left to wonder, wander and look outside what was once their home to new beginnings.
Like their home, the North American church today is falling to ruin and many are left without the comfort of their cave theologies and rituals. They are forced to explore a whole new world with all it's unknown dangers and life altering adventures. They are forced to adapt as they can not return to what they once knew, no...not even if their desire was to do so. But, as it was for the Croods, this is no easy task to undertake. Many perils lay before them.
"Where are we?" they wonder in amazement."Where are we?" Indeed!
No longer being able to remain where their safe place had once been, they reluctantly move on, much to Grug's despair, looking for a new place to begin, once again, a life of shelter void of living.
To live a life of shelter one must have rules and... well, we all know what rules were made to be.... I had once felt that being in that cave was what was right and was the only way to live. Isolating ourselves from the outside, not watching their movies, not listening to their music and not talking the way they do. So, while those rules within that cave may have been a way to 'live'. I now realize that, 'That wasn't living. That was just not dying.'
Grug: The Rules. They kept us alive!
Eep: That wasn't living! That was just not dying!Guy, a young wonderer filled with new ideas and adventure, who happens across this family of cavemen, bares them news that the end is near. Duh!... duh! duh!. He encourages them not to hide in caves but to seek the sun and follow it to freedom, follow it to tomorrow. They must seek for tomorrow, searching forever on until one day they may arrive. Of course Grug is not at all to pleased with this newcomer, particularly the interest his daughter, Eep, is paying to him. As the journey continues, with all it's hardships, the family starts to see things in a new light. Grug, taking the longest of course. All that he wants is a cave to be safe in, a cave without thinking, questioning and meddling. However, even he too comes around to having his eyes open to new possibility.
The end was near, the Christianity that I knew was drawing to it's end and at it's end, it was crucified. Fear and wonder found it's place within me, but in the midst of the destruction and crucifixion something arose from the horror, what it was, I am not entirely sure, it may be that of the divine, small and difficult to distinguish. Whatever it was, it gave me hope and peace. It gave me comfort that I need not build up around it a temple, alter or any other such building whether physical or mentally. I need only to know that it's present, know its love and peace, not for it's sake, but rather for mine.
At the movie's end, 'the Croods' learn something that we all must consider, we need not be hindered by our fears of the outside. We need not be ruled by them, for we can always change our thinking, always face our fears and never allow them to stop us. One can always step outside the cave.
I continue to seek, never again enclosing a philosophy, theology or any others within a cave of confinement. I will spread my wings and allow the wind to flow beneath, guiding here and there.
Eep: "The Croods will make it, because we changed all the rules, the rules that kept us in the dark. From now on we'll stay out here where we can follow the light."