Romans 11:33-36

Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! “For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor? Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?” For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Romeo, James Dean, Twilight and Other Forbidden Fruit

Here we go again.  Another Christmas season, another Twilight movie.  As I watched reports of people lining up for hours to earn Breaking Dawn Part One a whopping $139.5 million over its opening weekend, I thought it was probably time to repost this article.  I originally posted this in 2008 as I first became aware of the popularity of the novels.  At the time, I could not imagine the sustainability of the Twilight franchise.  All the more reason to repost the original warning:

Ladies, meet the 21st century James Dean. His name is Edward Cullen and he’s… a vampire.

Being old and out of touch, I was late in realizing the phenomenon that is the Twilight book series. The premise of the series is simple enough—teenage girl falls in love with a boy she’s not supposed to fall in love with. Forbidden fruit is a romantic premise that is older than Romeo and Juliet. But here’s the difference—in the Shakespearean world of four centuries ago, Romeo was wrong for Juliet because of familial disputes.

Fast forward to James Dean in the 1950s. Same story, new chapter—teenage girls fawn over a boy they’re not supposed to. But by this time, society had “progressed” to the point that the forbidden fruit had nothing to do with his heritage. Instead, the illicit attraction had everything to do with the boy’s rebellion against the puritanical rules of society. James Dean was forbidden fruit because he smoked. He drove fast cars. He was disrespectful and slightly dangerous. He wore the clothes of street gangs and didn’t fit into the straight-laced structure of Mom and Dad’s world. He was sexy because he broke the rules.

That formula worked to create teen idols of young men from Dean, to Elvis, to John, Paul, George and Ringo. It moved from the anti-establishment rebellion of cigarettes and leather jackets to long hair, love beads and psychedelic drugs. It continued past the ‘60s into the ‘70s and ‘80s and blossomed into free love relationships, “friends with benefits” and even homosexuality. Each illicit attraction enticed by the sexiness of forbidden fruit.

But in today’s age of tolerance, none of that fruit is considered forbidden. Society says it is now normal to be rebellious. It is acceptable to lead an immoral lifestyle. Society says that sex is just a physical act with no consequences or even moral implications. As long it is consensual and “protection” is used, anything and everything is okay. And because everything is now okay, teenage girls have to plumb even lower depths to find their forbidden fruit.

And they have—except Romeo is no longer in the land of the living. They’ve found him in depths of the spiritual underworld. James Dean smoked cigarettes—the forbidden fruit of today drinks blood. James Dean didn’t fit into the structure of Mom and Dad’s world. Today’s forbidden fruit doesn’t fit into the realm of God’s creation. James Dean was always on the brink of breaking young girls’ hearts. Today’s forbidden fruit wants more than the girl’s heart—he wants her eternal soul. As the young girl told the interviewer on the Today Show a couple of weeks ago—he is sexy because it is wrong. James Dean was sexy because he broke the rules of society. Edward Cullen is sexy because he breaks the rules of God. The worst thing James Dean could steal was a young girl’s heart. The unseen spirits behind the vampire novels want to steal her soul.

2 Timothy 3:1-7


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