If goodness lead him not, yet weariness
May toss him to My breast.

-George Herbert

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Buffy and the Human Condition

I love the moral complexity of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It's taken for granted in the ethos of the show that people are going to screw up often, and often seriously. People are going to make terrible decisions. There is going to be friction and loneliness and misunderstanding. Things will be confusing. People are going to betray those they love, are going to want things they shouldn't have. And if we are going to have any friends, lovers, relationships of any sort, we'd better figure out how to deal with it, how to accept one another's brokenness and our own, how to forgive, how to forgive ourselves. The necessity of radical grace is implied.

Something else: in BtVS, we continually are shown that there is common ground between us and our enemies; that just as the "good guys" aren't all that good, so the "bad guys" are never entirely evil, never beyond pity or mercy. We may have to oppose them, but we'd better not assume that they are beyond redemption, or even very different from ourselves. We're all freaks. We all need another chance.

Is that a Christian understanding of our situation? A lot closer than the all-American "gospel" of be-good-so-you-can-go-to-heaven. Truth from the fringes.

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