Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Walk Through Fire, Cause God Is In The Rain: My Baptism Movie Thoughts

As I write this, (which is on Monday morning February the 28th at about 3:00am*, in case you really wanted to know) I am preparing for an upcoming experience that almost all Christians will do, (well, all but those who attend a certain paramilitary church group, which doesn't practice the sacraments). What I am talking about is Baptism. Now for those of you that know me you might be confused, (those who don't know might be confused for other reasons, don't worry, that's normal) cause baptism is usually something that "new" Christians do, and I have been a Christian all my life, so what is the deal you may ask, (you probably didn't, but just play along and pretend you did) well, because I grew up in that earlier mentioned paramilitary church group (I mentioned this in my Jesus Hits Like The Atom Bomb: Wetworks Theology post, check it out if you get a chance) which doesn't baptize, I never got the chance to do it, but my family and I now attend a different church (big shout out to Forest Brook Community Church, represent) and this coming Sunday FBCC is doing their first baptism of the year, and I am standing up before my fellow believers and getting dunked, (it should be EPIC). So, seeing as I relate a lot of life experiences to movies, it made me think about film examples of baptism, even if it was just symbolical and one film jumped out at me right away with two such examples no less. Now if you have been reading my top 20 films of all time list, (and if you haven't then why the heck not, you know you want to, so now you know what you are doing after finishing this post, happy reading) then you know that number 15 belongs to V For Vendetta, and that is the movie that stands out for me when looking at baptism. But first, I will give you a quick little info on baptism. 

This is actually famous guitarist Brian "Head" Welch being baptized in the Jordan River

Baptism is a ritual that has been going on since the days of Jesus, and what it is (along with communion, which is breaking bread and drinking wine in remembrance of Jesus broken body and shed blood. These are called "Sacraments" in church language, and they are very important) at its core is an outward sign of an inner change. Now the mechanics of it is that the baptisey, (I don't think that this is actually a word, but I am using it anyway) stands in water that is usually about waist high and has one or two baptisers ask them if they have accepted Jesus as their personal Lord and Saviour. If they say yes they are then lowered into the water backwards and are drowned so they can meet Jesus faster (Just kidding, they only do that to people who say NO) well, actually they are brought back up and everybody cheers and there are lots of hugs for everyone.

Yep, Jesus got baptised too
So here is what it all means. When the baptisey is lowered into the water they are symbolically dying with Christ when he died on the cross, and when they are brought back up they are symbolically raised with Christ too. Water itself is a great symbol, cause it symbolizes life and death, depending on how it is viewed (shout out to my buddy Jim Chen for teaching me all the cool baptism stuff, and for dunking me this coming Sunday). So when you become a Christian, one of the things you do to show your church that you are sincere is getting baptised. It doesn't actually save you, but it is a great expression of being saved, so that is why we do it, (Now I know I said you get fully dunked when you are baptised, but some churches use a few different methods, such as sprinkling water on the head or possibly spraying them with a fire hose set on full, or maybe not that one, but who knows, but they all are means to the same end, so I am making no judgements here in case your church does it differently then mine).

Ok, so that covers baptism, so where the heck does V For Vendetta have a baptism take place you might ask, no matter two of them? Well, let me start by saying that it is more of a symbolic baptism that I am talking about, but all in all it stands for the same thing. Now before I get into this I suggest that if you have not seen V For Vendetta that you check it out, or at least read my thoughts about it in the movie list section. Assuming you already know what it is about, then you should easily get that V is the first baptisey . So here it is, V's baptism, and this is the really cool super cool thelogical thing, because V is not baptized with water, but by fire. Now the reason this rocks pretty hard is that in the bible in The Gospel Of Matthew, Chapter 3, verse 11, John the Baptist says, “I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire."

V's Baptism with fire.
So if baptism is all about publicly showing an inner change, then I think this fits the bill. Before this happens V is a prisoner, not knowing who he was and having no purpose. But then something happened, and he could no longer stay as he was, he had to change, he had to escape. Thus becoming a new person on the inside, he was reborn through fire, into a completely different person on the outside also. This was his baptism, and just as when baptism was done in biblical times, it signified a new creation, a new birth, and when that type of change happens, it not only effects the person, but those who come into contact with them. Now, onto the second baptism.

Evey when she is first captured, looks afraid, doesn't she.
So if you have seen V For Vendetta, you know that at one point Evey is captured, thrown in a cell, has her head shaved and is tortured, "presumably" all for information about V, and while there she reads a note left by another prisoner named Valeria. The note chronicles her journey of persecution and states that although Valeria has never met Evey, she loves her and warns her to never give up that "ONE INCH" inside that is basically your very soul, they can take everything else, but never give them that. Evey follows the notes advice and when told she was to be executed unless she gave some information about V, she decides that she would rather be, "taken out behind the chemical sheds and shot" and this sparks her baptism. Once she finds this truth, this "ONE INCH" she is a changed person, and in the midst of tears and anger, V says to her,

Evey looking not afraid asking for the chemical shed.
"Listen to me, Evey. This may be the most important moment of your life. Commit to it. They took your parents from you. They took your brother from you. They put you in a cell and took everything they could take except your life. And you believed that was all there was, didn't you? The only thing you had left was your life, but it wasn't, was it? You found something else. In that cell you found something that mattered more to you than life. It was when they threatened to kill you unless you gave them what they wanted... you told them you'd rather die. You faced your death, Evey. You were calm. You were still.Try to feel now what you felt then."

God Is In The Rain

Evey then says she needs air, and going to the roof, stands with her arms stretched out in a massive rainstorm. She stands there drenched and cleansed, in celebration of a change that has happened deep inside, of becoming a new person, living in a freedom that she never knew before. Evey even references back to something Valeria's Grandmother used to tell her, that "God was in the Rain" (Booya for Jesus)  Now if this is not baptism, I'm not sure what is. Yes, it is not baptism into faith in Jesus, but it is the ceremony. They both were changed, and that change was marked by passing through fire for V and water for Evey. It was an outward sign of an inner change, and if you know the rest of the story of V For Vendetta, then you know that their inward changes made the world a different place, because they were acted upon.

So, I am to be baptised this Sunday, and I am totally stoked about it. I even got a tattoo for the occasion, which just happens to be based on a comic book cover from V For Vendetta (coincidence, I think not, well, I guess I should say, I know not, because it is my tattoo and all, but that just sounds to much like, I don't know, so I will stick with the first one). So I will end this post with those two pictures (the tree in my tat is supposed to represent the tree of Gondor from Lord Of The Rings, which in turn is a representation of the cross. See what I did there, I put a cross in my tat, but I geeked it up, aren't I just awesome. Oh, and a big shout out to my inker Tedd, thanks for the amazing work) and if you are in the area on Sunday morning, feel free to come and watch me go under, (and comeback up again, fingers crossed, ha, that is a Jesus joke right there, and I didn't even mean to write it. Awesome) until next time, stay thirsty my friends, catch you on the dunked side.


Original V For Vendetta Comic Book Cover Art

My Ink Based On It

*I actually finished writing this at 9:07pm on the same day, it takes me a while to do these things you know, and I do have a job, family, sleep cycle and digestion system that all need maintaining too, so it is kind of a miracle I ever get anything posted sometimes.

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