Pop Culture Snapshot: Indiana Jones and the Mystery of God

Blog / Produced by The High Calling
Indiana whip post

(Minor spoiler alert)

You can always tell a child of the eighties by the movies we watch. Some of us are huge Star Wars fans. Some of us love The Goonies. Most of us cried when E.T. went home. I love all those movies. I've watched them multiple times growing up, and now I watch them with my kids.

As good as those movies are, there is only one that makes me feel like an eight-year-old kid again: Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Imagine my delight when I discovered Raiders would be re-released into theaters in glorious IMAX. The limited engagement is meant to promote the complete Indiana Jones saga being released in Blu-ray format on September 18, 2012. On my vacation this week, I attended the very first IMAX showing.

Raiders gave me my earliest taste of what I call "Adventurous Mystery." This is the desire to have adventures and search out the strange beauty of the world. Steven Spielberg and George Lucas knew how to strike the chords of an eight-year-old heart, with exotic places, strange maps, life-threatening adventures, and clear-cut bad guys. I went beyond just playing Indiana Jones in my backyard; I searched maps, checked out adventure books from the library, and studied archeological skills.

There is no doubt Raiders inspired my constant love to find the unexpected, the beautiful, and the unusual when I travel.

The movie also invited my eight-year-old self into a deeper contemplation of the mystery of God. Raiders' main plot line revolves around finding the lost Ark of the Covenant, an object used to signify the presence of God to the Hebrews. The movie prompted me to dive into the Old Testament so I could "find the lost Ark" myself. Instead, I discovered the Being who mysteriously names Himself "I Am" to the prophet Moses by means of a burning bush. This God sends frogs. This God strikes people with hemorrhoids. This God loves liars, cheats and adulterers. Heady stuff for an eight-year old who'd just started to grasp his Christian faith.

As I grew older, I realized that the power of story and movies draws us further into adventurous mystery. I understood how my walk with God was very much an adventure with all kinds of risks.

How often we have a stunted imagination, though, and fail to grasp the mysterious adventure around us. Movies like Raiders of the Lost Ark can jar us out of this complacency. They can make us see the profound beauty in everything we do, whether work, play, or rest. This sense of wonder can drive us into taking more risks, living in situations we don't understand, and grasping the profound truth of our calling. We don't even need a brown fedora and bullwhip to do these things.

Still, I'm going to keep my fedora and bullwhip. Because, well, you know...

Image by Luscasfilm at Post written by Jonathan Ryan. Jonathan is author of the upcoming Urban Fantasy novel, 3 Gates of the Dead, to be released March 2013. He can be found on Twitter at @authorjryan.