the parable of the pesky fly

FlyI am being distracted. There is a pesky little fly that is wafting around in my study and it’s rather attracted to the screen in front of me. I would be very grateful if it would leave my study and go somewhere else because it is irritating me. But the pesky little fly seems unable to leave behind the brightness and vivid colours on my computer monitor in favour of the darkening sky outside (it’s about 4.30pm).

In some ways I can’t blame it. I can understand why it is attracted to the monitor rather than the darkness. To a fly light is a sign of life and goodness (you can see your food, for example). Darkness is full of danger and death (bats anyone?).

So how come we humans seem to be attracted by darkness? How come we find it so easy to be cruel, thoughtless, impatient, greedy, gossipy, selfish, and so much more? Why do we prefer that sort of stuff to love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, faithfulness, kindness, goodness and self-control?

For some reason we are fascinated by, drawn to, attracted by darkness. Do you doubt me?

These are the cinema’s own summaries of films currently on at our local cinema:

A crooked tale of con artists, mobsters and politicians Contains strong language

Drama featuring Matthew McConaughey as an HIV sufferer Contains strong language, sex, sex references and drug use

Cliff-hanging sci-fi space thriller Contains sustained moderate threat, disturbing images and strong language

A high-flying action thriller starring Liam Neeson Contains moderate action violence and one use of strong language

A fun-filled action film centred on a mismatched buddy cop duo Contains moderate violence, sex references and one use of strong language

An action-packed sci-fi reboot starring Joel Kinnaman Contains moderate violence, injury detail and infrequent strong language

A WWII drama about a young girl in Nazi Germany Contains scenes of emotional distress and moderate threat

A comic animated adventure set in the LEGO universe Contains mild fantasy violence and very mild language

Historical drama with an all-star ensemble cast Contains moderate violence, bloody injury detail and scenes of smoking

White-collar crime drama starring Leonardo DiCaprio Contains very strong language, strong sex and hard drug use

I agree that this is not a scientific survey. It’s a snapshot. But I think it makes my point if this is what passes for entertainment. We are happy to condemn the Romans for throwing Christians to lions and enjoying gladiators chopping each other to bits (unless we turn it into a film or TV drama) but we have no problem with films showing the above. I am not anti-film or a prude (I don’t think). This is not a rant against films or a demand for censorship. I am simply illustrating that we are all drawn to the darkness (whether in the Colosseum or the Odeon). (We might exclude the film set in the LEGO universe).

Why are we drawn to the darkness rather than the light? There’s an old fashioned word for it: ‘sin’ – otherwise known as our in-built propensity to mess things up. Without God we have a bias in us that draws us to the darkness. But when we see the light, when we are confronted with a glimpse of the vivid colour and brightness of God, why would we prefer the darkness?

Perhaps rather than being bothered by the little fly I should follow his example, with God’s help?

Be blessed, be a blessing.

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