Force and Faith: The Power of Silence – an Easter Reflection

Force and Faith Sabers SquareOver the last few weeks, I have been a little sick. For me, that means that I will lose my voice. The smokey tones of Marge Simpson will emerge for a while, giving way to the honk of an imprisoned swan, leaving me finally with utter silence.

I pause now for my wife to rejoice. It is a bit rough in my line of work – It is hard to preach, lead the prayers or to talk with someone who is having a rough day. So this was an eye-opening experience as I moved through the community observing how other people communicated.

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Force and Faith: What Lies Beneath the Masks

Force and Faith Sabers SquarePerhaps it was Billy Joel or Kierkegaard who once said:  “We share so many secrets, there are some we never tell.  Why were you so surprised that you never saw the stranger?  Did you ever let your lover see the stranger in yourself.” Sometimes the stranger we are looking at is in our own mirror.  We are afraid to get to know the face that looks back at us because the challenge will be too burdensome to bear.

It was indeed Billy Joel; on the cover of that album he is peacefully reclined, looking into the eyes of a mask.  Is it his?  Is it his lover’s?  We will never know, but the donning of masks is a ubiquitous act that divides us and instills fear in the other.  Think about it.  Kids on Halloween may be cute, but if you want to make Fozzy Bear creepy, make his face out of molded plastic, poke two eyeholes in it and affix that useless elastic strap around the back.  And let’s not even bring clowns into this.

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Force and Faith: Growing with the Saga, Childhood Intact

Force and Faith Sabers SquareLike many of you, on Thursday I went with my two boys to the theater. What a glorious evening! I was too young to see A New Hope in 1977, but I have vivid memories of seeing Return of the Jedi. I saw Phantom Menace with my new wife and uncle in 1999. Now, I took my own offspring to see this glory of a film.

At first, I was a little kid, stolen away to a movie by my doting aunt. For the second trilogy premiere I was a young man beginning my adult life just a few days after my wedding. Now as a grown man, I share the joys with the ones I am trying, with varying degrees of success, to raise.

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Star Wars Art Launches in NYC

Wired CoverThe reach of the Galaxy far, far away into our own world is very deep. From soup cans to luxury cars, the images are everywhere. But thankfully, Wired Magazine is keeping the art and soul of Star Wars alive by celebrating their collaboration. Wired Magazine, along with the garment company Stance, recently hosted a launch party in New York City for their current issue, which features the photography of Dan Winters. These amazing shots capture everything from Luke’s lightsaber, to Darth Vader’s helmet to the deeply engaging portraits of the Creator, the Producer and the Director.

A few weeks ago, a package came to my door inviting me to this party. Included therein were two pair of socks – to help choose between the Light Side and the Dark Side. I claimed the R2-D2 socks, but didn’t know what to do with the other pair. Then, inspiration! My youngest brother Matt and I have shared a love for Star Wars our whole lives. I called him immediately and asked him to go to the party with me and to wear the stormtrooper socks. He told me that he had never been to New York City before, cried a little, and then rearranged his work schedule for the night of the party.

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Force and Faith: Jedi Lessons from Skellig Michael

Force and Faith Sabers SquareThe last time we saw our Jedi Master, he was in triumphant celebration of the destruction of Death Star II. He was also in mourning for his newly-reclaimed father. His journey as a Jedi and as a man was headed in a unique direction after these events. In the poster for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Luke is conspicuously absent. We do not know why, but speculation abounds. We do know that Mark Hamill was seen filming at a remote location in Ireland. This location will become part of our enduring fandom consciousness, just as the desert of Tunisia, the glaciers of Norway or the redwoods of Northern California have. We are talking about Skellig Michael, an ancient island in Ireland that was once home to Christian monastics.

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Force and Faith: From Farmboy to Hero to Jedi Master: 3 Steps to Fulfillment

Force and Faith Sabers SquareAs far as we know so far, in the life of Jedi Master Luke Skywalker, we see a growth from farmboy to hero; from innocent child to mature adult.  The unspoken thing in each of those phrases is the path in between.  Luke went from moisture farmer to student to hero pilot.  He went from his innocence, through an awakening to a cause which resulted in a mature Jedi. A deep and true transformation of the state of his personhood, as well as his soul, was effected.  He went through a process of purification, illumination and union with the Force.

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Book Review — Star Wars: Lost Stars

Lost Stars Cover

*This review contains minor spoilers*

There are some universal truths: there will be death, taxes will be paid, there will never be enough action figures swinging from the pegs. Another is that the way a child is raised will play a large part in who they become. An even further truth that decimates that assumption is this: war is hell. War is division. When the whole galaxy yearns to unite in a glorious community, it is broken up by the selfish ambitions of evil, destroying all who lay in its path. If our thoughts determine our lives, there is a great unseen struggle to be the one to infiltrate the thoughts of formable minds.

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Force and Faith: Brotherhood

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One day, a farmboy says goodbye to an old friend that he had grown up with. Later, that youngster returns as a man and a pilot. Biggs Darklighter is one of Luke’s closest friends, and has chosen to see Luke before defecting from the Empire. Biggs’ love for LukeBiggs and Luke compelled him to share his future plans with the friend who never got off of the farm. This is, of course, from the deleted scenes from A New Hope. Two men, both alike in upbringing, but one who had gone off in search of adventure, continue their relationship where it left off when they parted company. This is their brotherhood, and an untold number of stories just like it brings good into the universe. From one point of view, they are called together for an external purpose; but even more than that, they are brought together for the sake of each other. There are sisterhoods in the same way, though I am woefully unprepared to speak about them. I’m the kind of guy you see at the department store huffing loudly as my wife is clothes shopping.

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Force and Faith: Anakin’s Full Repentence

Force and Faith Sabers SquareYears ago, there was an amazing English teacher in my high school that treated us students a bit differently – like people who could think analytically and judge the merits of ideas and experiences. I think I did some of my best academic work for him, and quite often, Mr Wentworth comes to mind when I am contemplating Anakin’s ultimate end (for now) on the Second Death Star. Mr Wentworth questioned how redemption was offered and possible for Anakin at the end of his life since most of his life had been in the service of darkness and evil. It is indeed a tough question. Does it give us the possibility of living a terribly immoral life and stealing a space in Heaven through a few words? If so, then where is the motivation for goodness in this world? I think the answer is much deeper and existential.

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Force and Faith: Returning to the Jedi Temple of our Heart

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This post contains a spoiler for Marvel’s Star Wars: Darth Vader #2.

We gather together quite often to play in the Star Wars sandbox because it is familiar and comfortable to many of us. With the changing tides and seasons of our lives, there is a constant in these stories we love so much. Even though new stories are created and fresh characters come along, there is something that is always the same and familiar. We return again and again as younglings enthralled by the stories of those who have travelled the stars weaving their glorious tales.

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