Tonight was Cinderella’s opening night. My boys really enjoy the princess stuff just as much as the boy stuff, so my six-year-old and I decided to make it a date night. It’s fun to get that one-on-one time with him, and I feel like we get to know each other a little better when we get opportunities like this. Excellent movie, by the way.
I don’t know if it’s the caffeine from the cherry coke I ordered or the hip hop country we were shaking it to on the way home, but I’m buzzin’. And when I get energetic, my mind races. So while it’s racing, I’m taking the opportunity to write this down while it’s fresh.
My pastor likes to challenge our community to seek out Christ in our culture through the stories we see and hear. Especially in movies and music since these are such heart-centered expressions of our humanity and our relationship with the Divine. I agree with him that the more we seek out Christ, the more we learn about who He is and how to be more like Him. So, I found Christ in Cinderella. It may be a stretch, but remember that caffeine and hip hop country makes it all sound plausible right now.
See, Cinderella lived by an adage–“have courage and be kind.” This phrase, handed down to her as guidance from her mother, compelled her to treat others differently. It compelled her to love others, even when they didn’t deserve it.
This empathetic yet strong persona was in direct opposition to those that she lived with, her step-mother and step-sisters. They were cruel, conceited, and selfish. When asked what they wanted from Ella’s father’s travels, they chose flashy indulgent trinkets. They were the embodiment of the part of our own culture that exudes self-righteousness and sin.
Just like Cinderella, Christ loves us all–even though none of us deserve it. He showed compassion on the marginalized people in his community and stood in opposition of the self-righteousness that plagued the culture He was born into. He treated others differently and set the example for us to follow. And in the Ancient Near East, this was radically different. I don’t think we can understand how radical Jesus actually was because the values that Christ embodied have become so normalized in our culture since these biblical stories played out.
I doubt I’m giving any spoilers here since we all know the Cinderella story, but we can later see a parallel between Cinderella showing up at the ball, claiming her role in the story, and Christ entering our world, claiming his throne.
Cinderella’s coach turns back into a pumpkin and her dress back into rags. And the magic is seemingly gone. Christ dies on the cross. And the Divine in our world is seemingly gone.
But as a good story should close with a happy ending, Cinderella reenters the story, marries her prince, and claims the throne as a princess, overcoming those self-righteous sisters. Just as Christ was resurrected and will be back to finish the work of taking up his throne here on Earth, overcoming our self-righteous culture.
Here’s why this means so much to me.
When we read the Bible from a holistic perspective, we have to understand that any and all intervention from God towards the people of our world is done in such a way as to propel the culture of the time forward towards His true intention for humanity. By this understanding, our world should become progressively more and more like what he intended for us. This is why we are a species that transforms and transcends. And we know this is true when we explore the myth of violence and the idea of peer progressivism.
Since the beginning of time, God has given us free will, and He has watched us fail His expectations time and time again. And time and time again, God has had a hand in using those failures to mold us and stretch the perimeters of our humanness. We see a progressive nature of God’s hand throughout the Bible from one of harsh judgment with floods and sacrifices to one of gentleness through Jesus Christ. Why?
Because each time He had to reach down and give us a pop on the wrist, our culture had matured a bit and thus required a different kind of discipline. He very well may have been dealing with the generation of toddlers or pre-teens in the grand scheme of the maturation of humanity.
But we are still broken people. We’re better than our ancestors but we’re just not there yet. Jesus overcame death on our behalf and is healing that brokenness that we still struggle with.
When Jesus Christ entered the story, God declared that His new Kingdom had begun and that Jesus was here to show us the way towards it. This is the purpose for becoming Christ-like. He is our ultimate example.
As heaven and earth collide, Christ takes his throne and gives us a new hope of what is to come–a new world.
Seeing the similarities in Christ and Cinderella help to make this philosophy make more sense to me. At the end of the movie, the Fairy Godmother says that Cinderella could “see the world not as it was but as it could be.” It’s my belief that God can see our world not as it is but as it could be. And that is hopeful.
I’ve had this information sitting in front of me, laid out in my Bible, for a lifetime and even though I wanted to “get it”, it wasn’t so easy.
I’m honestly just regurgitating concepts I’ve heard and read from others so please don’t get the notion that I think I know anything. But ideas are the new form of evolution–I’m certainly glad to take part in that evolution by working these kinds of things out in my own mind. And I encourage you to let me know if you have anything to add so we can work it out together!