I’m not one for the church trying be “culturally relevant”. Not because I think it’s a bad thing, but because most churches suck at it. Usually, it’s something like “The Dark Night; An Easter Story” which tells how Batman and Robin “discover the true meaning of Easter”. And, it’s not even one of the good Batman’s on the poster, it’s Adam West from the cheesy 60’s TV show (which, I now shamefully admit, I watched avidly as a kid). But, once in a while, someone gets it right. Like Jeremy Smith and his website, Hacking Christianity, where he references Star Wars and, one the best most under-rated TV shows ever, Firefly. Imagine my (giddy) surprise this past Sunday morning when Michael Usey, pastor of College Park Baptist Church started his sermon talking about Serenity, the movie that Joss Whedon made after the morons at Fox cancelled his show after only 14 episodes. Specifically, Michael referenced what’s come to be known as the “I aim to misbehave speech” (google it). I looked for a video clip, but couldn’t find a decent one. So, here is the text of the speech:
” Y’all got on this boat for different reasons, but y’all come to the same place. So now I’m asking more of you than I have before. Maybe all. Sure as I know anything, I know this – they will try again. Maybe on another world, maybe on this very ground swept clean. A year from now, ten? They’ll swing back to the belief that they can make people… better. And I do not hold to that. So no more runnin’. I aim to misbehave. “
The “they” he’s talking about is the government (Alliance) and what they’d done is introduce a drug into the air of the planet Miranda that should have made people more docile, less violent and more pliable to control. Unfortunately, the drug worked too well and 99.9% of the people just gave up; they laid down and died. The remaining .1% reacted just the opposite and became incredibly violent, uncontrollable, even feral (called Reavers on the show). Of course, the government covered it up and denies the existence of the Reavers. In saying “I aim to misbehave”, Mal is refusing to accept the status quo and let the government do what it chooses. As Christians, we should do the same: misbehave by refusing to accept the status and let our leaders do as they please. So, when behaving means stepping on people rights, I aim to misbehave. When behaving means I listen to, and even cheer, a 4-year-old boy sing “Ain’t No Homos Going to Heaven“, I aim to misbehave. When behaving means I embrace war and violence, I aim to misbehave. When behaving means I’m more worried about someone’s “soul” than I am their stomach, I aim to misbehave. When behaving means I empower a system that concentrates the wealth in the hands of a few and demonizes the poor, I aim to misbehave. And when behaving means I put any material thing before people, I aim to misbehave. Bucking the system like that probably isn’t all that smart, but as Jayne Cobb once said:
“Shepherd Book used to tell me, “If you can’t do something smart, do something right”.
I think Jesus would get on board with that.