Tuesday, February 2, 2010

"Lost" as Christian Allegory

Ah, today I face one of life's essential question (no, not that question, "Where would you go if you died tonight?"; not that question, "Am I living a life that's in harmony with my core values?"): can I commit to another season of Lost?

I'm tempted to watch the show, especially these days, when if I miss an episode, I can catch it online. Yet, as in the days when I taped shows I missed, I eventually can't keep up with the backlog.

But I love the show, with all its allusions and its allegorical nature. I've spent years now trying to figure out the show as allegory--what's it really about? I can make part of it fit into an allegorical scheme, but then other parts sabotage my theory. I'll be interested to see how the writers weave it all together. And this show is one of the few where I think the writers are really talented enough to pull it off--and pull it together.

The show has a lot to say to us as Christians, particularly in its depictions of characters who live by faith (John Locke) and those who demand proof (Jack Shephard). The character names make me think that something deeper is happening--I've had arguments with people who say, "No, it's just one of the writers who must have been a Philosophy major having fun with us," but there are just too many references to too many important works and writers for it to be just a fun joke.

I haven't had the time to go back and watch the series as I would a movie, and I somewhat regret that. It would probably be intellectually rewarding. But that's a lot of hours. I've thought of buying all the seasons for that distant day when I have time to sit and watch for hours and days. By then, I probably wouldn't have a DVD player.

So, in the meantime, I have to be satisfied with glimpses of the richer life contained by Lost. It's sort of like the Bible or like my experience with God. I have glimpses and hints that so much more is there, but I suffer so many distractions that pull me away from concentrated study or just the opportunity to sit and wait to see what will be revealed.

Of course, I could read what others have to say. At the Hearts and Minds Bookstore website and blog posting, I read about two books that sound promising: The Gospel According to Lost by Chris Seay and Lost and Philosophy:The Island Has Its Reasons edited by Sharon Kay (as part of the Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture Series) described this way: "a fully serious collection of contemporary philosophy buffs doing serious cultural studies work, using Lost as a springboard for some very deep speculations." What fun! But can I read them if I have some holes in my Lost viewing? Perhaps I'll get them and find out.

So, yes, tonight I'll probably be watching Lost. And even though it's not a simple and obvious allegory (like one of the most famous Christian allegories, Pilgrim's Progress), I'll be the one catching the references to faith and religion, to Philosophy and all the works of literature that warm my English major heart.

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