My penchant for “shoot ’em up” movies began with (I’m going to seriously date myself here) John Wayne in the mid-70’s. Being the only boy in the house, dad and I would enjoy watching such things (along with Barney Miller, The Rockford Files, and Magnum P.I.). John Wayne was much more violent, though, because people were shot and killed all the time. Big Jake is one of my favorites. I mean, as he looks at Richard Boone to turn over his grandson and says, “Now listen. If anything happens. Your fault, my fault, anybody’s fault…I’m gonna blow your head off.” This seriously touches the core of any man, even an 8 year old who doesn’t even know what testosterone is yet.
The problem, as much as these things feel so natural, we love (especially guys) violence and revenge. We want justice! There is little room in our entertainment for mercy. Seriously, if John Wayne walked around with a patch over one eye (Rooster Cogburn, True Grit) and said “I forgive you” to everyone that wronged him, his legacy would rank right up there with pink paisley men’s shirts (from the 80’s — not ME, mind you).
Even today, I find that I occasionally retreat for a shoot ’em up. I’ve even found myself frustrated that Jack Bauer seems a bit too metrosexual for me this season in ’24’. Why is this? Flesh. We like blood, especially flowing out of our enemies (in real life or on screen).
Whatever the case, this has left us in a bloody mess. We have grown accustom to blood and violence that we are shocked by little. We can actually see dead bodies of real people through online news sites.
Consider Leviticus. We’ve read about blood…a LOT! But as the blood flows, it has distinct meaning, even shock. I wonder if we have grown so used to blood that even if we have images of “The Passion of the Christ” stuck in our heads, we still lessen the imagery of the reality of His death, especially His atoning work.
My point is this, we’ve become a culture so saturated with blood that we miss the MEANING of blood. Leviticus 17, that we’ll look at this week, is an important chapter because it speaks of the importance of blood and it’s power to save (or not, depending on the source). The blood of Christ is cleansing, atoning, gives access to the Father….is LIFE to those who believe.
Guard your eyes, as I will seek to take my own advice. I just fear that the imagery of blood has lost it’s power to my physical eyes, which can only lessen the meaning of blood to my spiritual eyes.