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Pastor’s Blog: The Old Sinner and the Lamentable Jar Jar Binks

Jar Jar Binks

For lovers of the Star Wars series, there has been no more despised character than the lamentable Jar Jar Binks, the cartoon character inserted into the Star Wars storyline. I have provided a couple of You Tube links at the end for those who don’t know the character so that you may make his acquaintance.

I have often thought about why Jar Jar was so despised by Star Wars fans. Some couldn’t stand his semi-Jamaican patois. Some couldn’t stand that unlike Chewbacca, R2D2, and C3P0, there wasn’t a real actor physically portraying the role (at least originally). But deep down inside, I think the reason Jar Jar has been so despised is that we see ourselves in Jar Jar: silly, a caricature, and easily fooled by evil.

In short, Jar Jar is the old sinner in us, the old Adam and the old Eve, easily frightened and easily seduced by our need to feel important and even powerful. Consider the biblical narrative in Genesis 2 and 3. The man and woman are in Paradise, in perfect relationship with God and with each other. There is only one story, God’s story. The woman and man, created in God’s image, have been given a lovely Garden to tend. The woman is described in Hebrew as “helper,” a word used elsewhere in the Old Testament only for God. She is, like God, one who can create bearing new life in her body. But her husband is, like God, also able to create by causing the Garden to be fruitful by the planting of seed from his body. Both are created to be co-creators with God and to tend His Garden. But both the woman and the man are like Jar Jar Binks easily seduced by the desire to be something and someone other than what and who God created them to be. The evil one, the tempter, introduces a seductive new story with the words, “Did God really say?” And, after that, the rest is human history.

The inner Jar Jar ridiculously wants to be empowered, to be affirmed, to be something other than who Jar Jar was created to be. Change how the body looks, you can’t change the basic genetics of maleness or femaleness. Change what the body was designed to do, namely, to procreate either as the seed-planter or the child-bearer, and that means what? It means death-dealing instead of life-giving. Technologically altering the natural biological process of one egg and one sperm and that means what? Crossing the boundary between creature and Creator. But the inner Jar Jar is going to die. He or she is not meant to intermix the DNA of three. He or she is not meant to put DNA into a non-human creature. Ultimately, the inner Jar Jar will not survive to see the full extent of the evil he or she has unleashed.

Marriages, families, congregations, denominational structures, and institutions are made up of people, who are cursed with an inner Jar Jar Binks. We want to think of ourselves as flawed nobility like Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Han Solo, Obi Wan Kenobi, or Lando Calrissian. Those who have chosen evil so want to be monstrously powerful like Darth Vader or the Emperor he serves. But, no, even in those who ascribe to great evil as their claim to notoriety, like those who ascribe to flawed nobility, are nothing more than creatures with an inner Jar Jar Binks, who often are so much putty in the grasp of the evil one who must himself finally and ultimately admit Jesus is Lord of heaven and earth!

After working in churches for 43 years, I have a new appreciation for how the Lord God sees all of us with our lamentable inner Jar Jar Binks. He, who stands outside of time and space, and yet, in love, enters into time and space to save us lost and condemned creatures shakes His head at the same old, same old. The people who make up the marriages, families, congregations, denominational structures, and institutions get caught up in such stupid attempts to be something other than who or what the Lord God created them to be. Like Jar Jar with the evil emperor in Star Wars, people get played by the old evil one. How do you know? Turn down the sound and watch who is pulling the strings and to what ends and for what purposes. The hunger for power and control, the need to store up resentments and to trash reputations, all of that bears the hoofprints of the old evil one. The inner Jar Jar Binks is such a silly creature, more cartoon and pawn than human created in God’s image. All it takes for evil to win the day (but never eternity!) is for the lamentable inner Jar Jar Binks to give in to the seductions of the evil one.

Here are two links. The first introduces silly Jar Jar, and the second shows him doing the evil emperor’s will as if his unwitting betrayal were bestowing honor and nobility upon him.

What can you do about your inner Jar Jar? He needs to be drowned in the waters of Baptism daily. Read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest the Scriptures systematically (rather than playing Bible roulette day by day). I would suggest starting with John’s Gospel, attending to our Lord’s admonition: “And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed” (John 3:19-20). Confess your sins to the One whose mercy is most wonderfully kind. We pray now and at our death: “Have mercy on me a sinner, dear Lord Jesus.”

St Matthew's Pastor Sam Zumwalt

szumwalt

The Rev. Dr. Samuel Zumwalt has worked in churches for 43 years and in May 2019 celebrated the 38th anniversary of his ordination to the holy ministry. He is a member of the Society of the Holy Trinity (www.societyholytrinity.org). In 2004, Pr. Zumwalt moved with his family to Wilmington from Texas, where he served for 23 years as pastor of small, midsize, and large congregations.
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