Recently, I saw the re-run of Fast & Furious 6. I stunt-doubled in it (for Vin Diesel, of course), but that’s not the reason why I’m writing this post.
The movie is superb. It also depicts two kinds of kingdoms . . . or churches.
One is the kingdom (or church) ruled by “precision” . . . where people are treated as cogs in the system.
If they make a mistake, they are disposed of.
The other is the kingdom — or ekklesia — ruled by family and the undying loyalty that goes with it. It’s also governed by sacrifice for a higher purpose.
Watch the movie with this lens and it will speak powerfully.
Here are some quotes to give you a taste.
Owen Shaw (representing the kingdom of darkness): You know, when I was young, my brother always said, “Every man has to have a code.” Mine: Precision. Use what you have, switch them out when you need to until you get the job done. It’s efficient. But you? You’re loyal to a fault. Your code is about family. It makes you predictable. And in our line of work, predictable means vulnerable. And that means I can reach out and break you whenever I want.
Dominic Toretto (representing the kingdom of light): At least when I go, I’ll know what it’s for.
Owen Shaw: Well, at least you have a code. Most men don’t. So, I’ll give you a chance: Take your crew and walk away. That’s the only way you’re going to keep your family safe.
Dominic Toretto: Your brother never told you never to threaten a man’s family? That’s a stupid thing to do.
Brian O’Conner: Maybe the Letty we once knew is gone.
Dominic Toretto: You don’t turn your back on family, even when they do.
Roman‘s prayer: Father thank you for the gathering of friends, Father we give thanks for all the choices we’ve made because that’s what makes us who we are, let us forever cherish the loved ones we’ve lost along the way; thank you for the little angel, the newest addition to our family, thank you for bringing Letty home, and most of all thank you for fast cars!
Is this a Christian movie? No.
But as I’ve pointed out before, all good art points to the Great Artist and His story, whether intentional or not. The story of God is written in the bloodstream of the universe. Thus even when creators aren’t aware of it, they are echoing the divine purpose whenever they create good art. They can’t help but do so.
Interestingly, Paul Walker made this movie shortly before his death.
Walker was a Mormon who converted to Christianity, and he was quite public about his faith.
Here’s a quote:
“I’m a Christian now. The things that drove me crazy growing up was how everyone works at fault-finding with different religions. The people I don’t understand are atheists. I go surfing and snowboarding and I’m always around nature. I look at everything and think, ‘Who couldn’t believe there’s a God? Is all this a mistake?’ It just blows me away.”
~ Paul Walker
As I argued in Reimagining Church, the governing metaphor for the church in the New Testament is the family. But that’s not really a metaphor. It’s the reality in God’s eyes. And it’s also an experience that all who are willing to pay the price may have.