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Don’t Wait Too Long

In the episode A Christmas Carol of the British science-fiction drama Doctor Who, a young man faces a difficult choice. The woman he loves is dying– in fact, she has only one day left to live. Not being able to bear her death, he puts her into a frozen stasis, putting off her last day of life.

It puts him into a quandary that will rule his life— live without her, or bring her back for one last day only to lose her forever. The years pass as he keeps waiting for the perfect time to bring her back. But the longer he waits, the more difficult making the decision becomes. The longer he waits, the more the fire of love dies down, replaced in his heart by the ice of pessimism & bitterness. The idealistic young man full of life becomes an old miser with a dead soul, all because he kept waiting.

But then fate intervenes– a crisis forces his hand and he has to revive his lover. She looks at him, so changed by the decades they spent apart, and lovingly whispers “I think you waited a little too long, didn’t you?”

Don’t let his story be yours. What decision or action are your putting off, waiting for that perfect moment? Don’t let someone have to look at you one day and say, “I think you waited too long.” Don’t let fear or indecision or procrastination or quest for perfection make you miss out on life. Don’t let the days become months, don’t let the months become years. Don’t let waiting become wasting, & don’t let wasting become dying.

Say those words. Buy that gift. Take that leap. Life is for living, not for waiting. Don’t wait too long.

This Is Not Life!

 

In this week’s Monday Media Meltdown, let’s look at one of the most frank commentaries on human existence I have heard in years, uttered by an alien in a Doctor Who episode.

Seven words, that’s all it took for a dalek to summarize human existence in the 2005 episode “Dalek.” For the uninitiated, a dalek is an ultimate killing machine, part of a race that had discarded most of their physical body except a brain and had stripped themselves of emotion and any desire except to exterminate all other races.

Mortally wounded, this killing machine absorbed some human genetic material in order to repair itself.  Unwittingly, it mutated, and started experiencing some of what it means to be human in this current world.  It felt fear, loneliness, uncertainty, and lack of purpose for the first time.  Its conclusion:  “This is not life!  This is sickness!”  It soon thereafter committed suicide.

What a brutally concise but accurate summation of its impression of human existence: “This is not life!  This is sickness!” 

The dalek was more honest than many human philosophers have been, but was in agreement with the dire prediction that God had given to the progenitors of our race so many years ago when He warned them, “In the day that you eat of the tree you shall surely die.” 

Some have said God meant it metaphorically, or spiritually, or simply said that Adam would begin to die.  I think we come up with all these answers because we cannot comprehend how dead we are now, and how alive our first parents were before sin.  The existence that Adam and Eve had originally, free of all fear and loneliness and uncertainty and shame and sickness and weakness and pain, was so far transcendant above our existence today that the difference truly is as great as between death and life.  They were alive, in every sense of the word, while their descendants now walk as ones dead, sick beyond description.

No wonder the dalek wanted to end his existence.

But we, meanwhile, mostly amuse & delude ourselves with trivial things like money and power and pleasures, trying to put out of our minds how desperate & terminal our condition really is.

But God sent a Great Physician to us in His mercy.  One who said He had been sent to the sick.  One who said He had been sent so that we might have life, and have it abundantly. (John 10:10)  One who said that He was the only way to life (John 14:6), a completely new type of existence, a new type of life that would have no end. (John 3)  So much so that His beloved disciple would state that, “Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.” (1 John 5:12 ESV)

The question on the table is: Have you experienced this new type of life available only through Jesus Christ, or are you still marooned in the existence that you were born into as a child of humanity, the existence the dalek concluded was worse than no life at all?

Traveling with the Doctor

 

For this week’s Monday Media Meltdown, we start out with a trivia question:  What do all of the above characters have in common?

The answer, which is obvious to Brit sci-fi lovers, is the title of this post—they have all been “traveling with the Doctor.”

For the unintiated, “the Doctor” refers to Doctor Who, the much-beloved BBC sci-fi series.  The Doctor is always galavanting about saving the world and picking up various companions in tow, as the above pictures attest.

So, our next question is:  How could you tell if someone had been traveling with the Doctor?

This question came to me one evening while I watched the famed “Five Doctors” episode along with “The Unquiet Dead” episode of the 2005 season, giving me six doctors and a whole slew of companions in one evening.  As I was in my mini Who marathon, I asked myself: If you would travel with the Doctor, what would characterize your life?

First, it would be a life of adventure.  Life is never boring for long around the Doctor.  There are always new experiences, new places, and exciting events.  In fact, he usually isn’t happy unless something is going on.  In “The Unquiet Dead” episode he & Rose are walking down a quiet street when screams & mayhem erupt in the distance.  With a smile on his face the Doctor announces, “That’s more like it!”

Second, it would be a life of battling against evil. The Doctor isn’t a vigilante looking to pick a fight, but he will not walk away when people need to be saved.  He has laid his life on the line or even given it up to save others in nearly every episode.  The people who travel with him both know it, expect it, and join him in it. In “The Unquiet Dead” the Doctor & Rose are facing imminent death at the hands of some evil aliens (as usual!), and she faces him and says, “We’re going out fighting?”  He nods his head, she grasps his hand, and asks the single word, “Together?”

Which brings us to the third aspect of traveling with the Doctor, enriching relationship.  Yes, his interpersonal skills need some work, but in the end his companions stick around not for the adventure or even the battle, but because of their relationship with him.  He makes no apology that to travel with him can be dangerous, but he also revels in its excitement and there is something in him that wants to share the journey.  In the same episode, after the Doctor describes the wonders of traveling through space & time, Rose impishly adds, “Better with two!”

These three marks of traveling with the Doctor, adventure, battle, and relationship, are profound and archetypal human needs for all of us (those of you who are John Eldredge fans may recognize them from his writings).  They are part of the wide and enduring appeal of the series, and they are always present within the stories.

Which brings us to the third hypothetical question (hypothethical since the Doctor isn’t real): What if someone said, “Yes, I’ve traveled a long time with the Doctor, I know him well, but never had an adventure, never battled against evil, and never really struck up a relationship.”?  I would be likely to respond, “If you’ve never experienced any of that, you’ve never really traveled with the Doctor.”

Which brings me to the point of this extended metaphor:  If I consider myself a Christian, if I say I am traveling with Christ, then I am not in the company of a time-lord, but with the Lord of Time, not some fanciful fiction but with the ultimate reality, the Creator and Sustainer of the universe.

If I’m truly a follower of Christ, staying close by Him, shouldn’t my life be marked by adventure every day as I serve and love and teach and minister in His name?  Shouldn’t my life be marked by battling against evil, whether social injustice or people bound by sin or sickness?  Shouldn’t my life be marked by life-transforming relationship, both with Christ and with my brothers and sisters in Christ?

But how many people who name the name of Christ can truthfully say they are living a life of adventure, of battle, of transforming relationships?  Too few, I’m afraid.  How about you?