Here is the Guide for Parents!
Geeks of Christ Primer
I usually try to trick you with these reviews.
Not in the sense that I’m deceiving you, but I try to trick you in the sense that I want you to think you’re looking at Doctor Who.
And then reveal that you’re not.
I tend to start these articles with a brief personal statement. “I hated this episode when I first watched it,” or, “This reminds me of one of the old serials.” Then I present a synopsis. My synopses tend to be short and incomplete. This blog is not meant to be exhaustive. I’ll pick on one or two plot threads. Sometimes I’ll pick out a few lines of dialogue and write the whole post about that.
But then I reveal the true subject of my writing. I’m not just reiterating what happened in a Doctor Who episode you could easily just watch for yourself. I’m not filling you in on information that Wikipedia or TARDIS Index File or your own memory bankdon’t already have. I’m isolating a thread in the story that most effectively proves my theory that all stories are reflections of that great true story of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Jesus is in the middle of a thousand mirrors, each held by the great storytellers. From Aeschylus to Malory to Steven Moffat. They each hold a mirror, whether they admit they have one or not. Stories can’t help but reflect the story of Christ. And I simply try to prove that by looking at the great stories of my generation, which tend to hang out in the dark corner of the bookstore under the sign “Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Graphic Novels.”
If the hero makes a sacrifice, I’ll talk about why we’re drawn to stories about heroes sacrificing themselves for others. If there is a reconciliation, I’ll write about why we tell stories about forgiveness and restoration. If there is a hero swooping down into the messiness of a problem to save his people, I will write about that.
The point is, all these Doctor Who shows feature something like that. Some storyline that is eternal and universal and strikes on something deep inside of us. And we’re drawn to these stories because our world was created to host the ultimate telling of that story. The ultimate version of the hero sacrificing himself. The ultimate version of the reconciliation story. The ultimate version of the hero’s descent to save his people. Our world was created to host the story of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Think of it like this. You play in the dirt as a kid. You make little hills with it. You dig your finger in the earth to make a winding path and then pour water in to make a river. Stab a leaf into the ground and make a tree. This little scene you’ve created is an image of the true scene, which is made up of real mountains and real rivers and real trees. And no matter how strange you try to make your scene look, it will still resemble the real thing. You can paint your trees purple, but you’re still representing trees in your imaginary landscape. Even when artists draw fantastic alien worlds, they’re still dealing with what we’ve already seen. Luke Skywalker looks up into a sky with two suns, which is strange. But a sky with two suns is just a version of a sky we’re quite familiar with that has only the one sun. And your trees and mountains can be shaped funny or painted funny colors, but the pieces involved are still versions of mountains and trees.
So like your imaginary landscape that cannot break free of the form limitations of the natural world, neither can stories break free from the form limitations of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Whatever you’re reading, whatever you’re watching. Just ask, “Is this about a rescue? Or a sacrifice? Or an incarnation of a person from another world? Or an unlikely hero?”
So when I say that I try to trick you with these reviews, I mean that whenever we tell stories we’re playing make-believe. We’re playing at something bigger. The trick is that you think the main character of Doctor Who is the Doctor. And all the Doctor is really doing is pointing to the real story and the real hero of the real story.
Why do I bring this up now?
Besides just being obsessed with the concept, I think this episode is an easy one to see the Real Story of the Gospel through.
So try it. Here are the kinds of questions I ask myself when reviewing for Geeks of Christ. Highlight the space just after each question to see the answer I came up with. Use the comments section to list any other questions you think are worth asking. Also, leave a comment if you had a different answer to any of the questions.
Who is the hero? A visitor from another world. And, like Christ, the Doctor has a bizarre and inexplicable interest in the welfare of the humans of earth.
What is the problem he has to solve? People are sick and dying and their masters cover that fact up. The cat nurses are a type of devil in this story, convincing their slaves that everything is the way it should be.
How does he solve the problem? He cures them. The transmission of this cure is by touching, so each sick person must touch another to spread healing. Kinda like Christianity! It spreads by lives touching.
What is the product of the hero’s work? A New Earth.