Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Cap'n Jack Sparrow's Moral Compass

Warning: This post may spoil the movies for those who haven't seen them yet! Turn back now while ye still can!

Disney's Pirates of the Carribean was a great piece of entertainment! It taught that pirates, cutthroats, and rapscallions are good, while law and order are bad. With it's extremely high body count for a movie that was marketed towards children, why wouldn't you take your kids to see it???

Actually, I enjoyed the movies (for the most part). But I never thought I'd find spiritual truth embedded in them.

Until today.

If you saw the movies, you know that Cap'n Jack Sparrow had a remarkable compass. On the surface, it looked like it was broken. Jack's compass wouldn't point north. The needle moved all over the place. Later, we learn that Jack's compass isn't broken. It's not supposed to point north. It points to whatever you want the most. Jacks' magical compass leads our antiheroes on many great adventures, full of danger and treasure and adventure.

Today it occurred to me...

Our culture has a compass just like Jack's.

Our society's moral compass no longer points north. It truly is broken. No matter what they tell you, a compass that doesn't point north is a broken compass. In the movies, they didn't call it "Jack's treasure-finder." They called it a compass. Compasses point north. That's what they do. Unless they're broken. Jack's compass was broken, because it wouldn't point to true north. It pointed to whatever he wanted the most.

Today, our moral compasses have lost True North. They have lost the sense that north, south, east, and west are real and actual things. Moral relativism has said, "True North doesn't matter. Whatever you want most at any given time--that's what matters."

Following a broken moral compass, that says that whatever you want most is the direction you should follow, will get you lost every time. Unless you know where True North is, you'll find yourself lost. Jesus said, "I am the way." Unless you follow the way, you'll find yourself lost.

Disney would have us believe that getting lost is fun. You have more adventures when you're off the beaten path. You might find treasure. You might win the fair maiden. Even if you get eaten by the kraken and find yourself in the bottom of Davy Jones' Locker, there's a way out of that, too. See, our culture teaches that if we follow our own broken moral compasses, seeking out what we want more than anything else rather than relying on True North, we can escape whatever consequences that may come from our scalliwag ways.
Jeremiah 17:9 says, "The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?"
But Hollywood says we should follow our hearts. Follow your own broken compass, wherever it leads. Cap'n Jacks says, "The only rules that really matter are these: what a man can do and what a man can’t do."
Oh really? How's your compass, lately? In which direction have you decided to set your sails?

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