WHEN it first came to theatres, the objection to the movie Bruce Almighty was visceral among some Evangelicals.
You remember Bruce Almighty, the story of a low-on his-luck news reporter who blames all of his misfortunes on God and accuses Him of doing a lousy job of running the universe. “God,” portrayed by an impish Morgan Freeman, finally hears enough and decides that since Bruce thinks he can do such a better job as the Good Lord than even God Himself, that He will transfer all of His divine powers to him. He visits Bruce in a warehouse where He makes this known to him.
The television trailers aired incessantly, showing Bruce running rogue all over the city, using the clout of the Almighty to exact revenge on his enemies in humiliating fashion, to teach his dog to use the toilet, to flip a woman’s skirt up from afar while he maniacally guffawed, and I remember being as offended as many others were.
“This is sacrilegious! God isn’t like that. God would never do that. They’re making fun of God and portraying Him inaccurately! Now let’s tear our robes and boycott it as we cry aloud! Rawr!!!!!!!!!!!!”
Well, that’s one way to look at it.
But in retrospect, I wound up loving that movie. Not because I think it’s proper or right to exploit women. Or that it’s good to stab your enemy in the back and steal what is theirs.
I love Bruce Almighty because it was one of the first things that taught me the value of perspective.
Sure, we could foam at the mouth at how wrong and impious it is.
Or we can go into it looking to experience how catastrophic it would be if one of us tried to play God. Even for an hour. It might even cause you to feel a deeper sense of gratitude for the real God and rejoice that He is God and we are not. And it did. Even for, SPOILER ALERT(!), Bruce himself by the end of the film.
At the very least, it leaves you with an enormous relief that Jim Carrey isn’t God.
I mean. Yeah. Seriously. For real.
The narrative raises a captivating hypothetical: What would it be like if we woke up and we could go on a supernatural joyride with all of God’s powers, only along with all of our prejudices and biases and self-serving desires in play?
Or perhaps an even scarier scenario would be just the opposite: What if God were as cold-hearted or as prejudiced as we tend to be sometimes?
I mean, can you imagine how wildly unpredictable the Judgment Day scene would be if God thought like us; if our eternal destination was determined by the silly things we care so much about?
Jesus- “I never knew you. Depart from Me, you who practice lawlessn…”
Person- “But Jesus! Now I know I never really believed in You. And I never obeyed the Gospel. BUT I WAS A REGISTERED REPUBLICAN!!! I NEVER VOTED DEMOCRAT IN MY LIFE!!!!”
Jesus- “Well in that case, come on in! I’m a staunch Republican Myself. Saying you’re a Republican automatically makes you a born again apprentice of Mine by default! My mistake.”
Jesus- “Well done, good and faithful servant. You were My faithful child. You were baptized into Me, you were in My church to the end, You trusted in Me and loved My appearing until the death.
“…But then again, you fellowshipped with a church that had a kitchen in their building. And what’s this crap about you not using the King James version? You also voted for Barack Obama in the 2008 election. …Says here that for seven years, you didn’t drive an American-made car! And you weren’t a very patriotic American. Well, have fun in hell. Next?”
The folks in Hollywood aren’t the only ones who have been wrongfully depicting God it turns out.