Max Dillon, Elliot Rodger, and the Gospel

In honor of my tenth blog post, I initially planned to talk about bands playing ten-year anniversary tours, why they’re awkward, and why we should go anyway. But in light of this week’s past events, I feel the need to address something else instead.

This past Friday my wife and I saw The Amazing Spiderman 2. Though the film was visually and conceptually great, the thing that hit home for me was Jamie Foxx’s character, Max Dillon.

While Max is a geeky and slightly obsessive electrical engineer, at his core he just wants to be noticed. Most of his life he’s been a nobody people walk over and ignore. He is so starved for attention the instant anyone makes him feel like he has purpose or value, he pledges lifelong allegiance to them. All he wants is to be recognized and for some reason, this literally has never happened to me before, I wanted to tell this fictional character that God sees himYes, there were the issues of dependency, idolatry, and violence but God sees and loves those people just the same.

Then Isla Vista happened and it occurred to me that though Max Dillon is fictional, he is real. He is real in people like Elliot Rodger and God sees him too.

Now before people jump down my throat and accuse me of being on his side: I am not. The chief end of woman is not to acquiesce to a man’s whim nor is the measure of a man the amount of women he sleeps with. Women are people; not property for us to own, subdue, rule over, or dominate. Their love is not something we are entitled to. Being a perfect gentleman is not an act you put on with the hope of accomplishing something for your own personal gain. That’s manipulation and when you pull that stunt you are no better than the jerks you denounce. In fact, you are worse. You are a wolf in sheep’s clothing. I can say it because I’ve been guilty of it.

Furthermore in his entitlement Rodger deceived himself to believe he’s a god, worthy to be adored while deciding what is just in the world, completely overlooking the fact he’s also a human who, based on his own scathing judgment, deserves to be annihilated (someone undoubtedly will point out the irony in his death).

But once you get past the contempt and the disgust and sift through the sick behavior of Rodger, the real issue (after the cultural perceptions of masculinity – thanks Laci Green) that manifested itself in vitriol arises: he was a broken man who felt invisible his entire life. Like Max Dillon, Rodger wanted to matter to someone. He wanted it so badly it drove him to do whatever he could to feel important. And when I can get past my outrage, I’m saddened.

Because the truth is Elliot Rodger mattered. He mattered to God. Not Elliot Rodger god but the Creator of the heavens and the earth and everything in them who became a man to die on the cross so he (and not just him but the people he killed as well, whom he will have to answer to said God for) could be reconciled to Him once again.

Isla Vista taught me the Max Dillons of our world are real and, at the risk of oversimplifying the issue, they need to also be told their value is not based on what others feel about them nor is worth of other people contingent on how well they serve us. We are valuable because we are made in the image of God, because we were bought at a price. And as long as we chase after secondary things we will find ourselves empty and, in our brokenness, breaking everything we touch. Our hearts are always restless until they find rest in Him and when I get past my indignation, I can remember that.

Jesus is the only hope we have and it’s for that reason I’ve committed my life to spreading the word: God sees the Max Dillon and the Elliot Rodgers of our world and he desperately wants them to know his love.

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