Karl, my favorite character is Boba Fett. He’s a clone among millions, but he’s the only one who saw Jango as his father. He had such a heart-breaking childhood experience and he chose a path of bitterness and vengeance. This kid needed a Kidmin in his life!
It made me think, YES!
Imagine if a children’s pastor could have found poor little Bobba and invited him to a bounty hunter VBS or clone summer camp or discipled him in the power of spiritual weapons, instead of hunting Han Solo, he could have been a missionary evangelists to bounty hunters and the galaxy could have been saved so much turmoil! He could have been a galactic version of the Apostle Paul!
What a lost opportunity for sure. Imagine how different the entire Star Wars saga could have been if someone had reached that poor little poor at a young age – a boy who had experienced such tragedy as a child. A boy carrying such deep emotional scars that he carried into adulthood. A boy who never got the benefit of being raised by a loving father, let alone feel the embrace of a loving mother.
Had someone found and reached this boy in his time of need, how different his life, and the lives of so many others could have been, who were destined to find themselves facing the brunt of this cooped up rage and inner confusion over his identity and misplaced life calling.
How different his life purpose could have been. Perhaps he could have even reached Darth Vader before Luke, we’ll never know, because no kidmin leader reached him as a child.
Who are the future Bobba Fetts in your life and ministry?
Followers of my blog know I’m a Star Wars fan. People often laugh when they hear me say to my son in a deep voice, “Luke, I am your father.” He laughs, even though he doesn’t get the significance of the quote. Since he is only six, he hasn’t even sat through all the movies, though we have watched segments and he loves the original Clone Wars cartoons I have on my iPad before the freaky looking version came out that looks like a video game gone bad. (I’m not a fan of the current Clone Wars show – yuck!)
Tonight, Luke had trouble sleeping so he was lying on the couch down in my office while I worked and looking at all the items in my Star Wars ‘museum’ – and noticed I have a lot of Darth Vader figures and collectibles and asked, “Why do you like Darth Vader so much, when he is a bad guy?” Good question. I answered, “Luke, Darth Vader is the reason I love Star Wars so much – because Star Wars is a story of a bad guy who was saved because of the love of a son, a son named Luke.”
My Luke sat up. “Wait, you mean, THAT’s Luke’s father?” – and so the conversation began. It wasn’t that he didn’t know I’d always been immitating Darth Vader – but it kinda hit him that the bad guy was the good guy’s dad. I explained that Luke was separated from his dad when he was little, and he was told that Darth Vader killed his dad, so he hated Darth Vader. I went through a quick summary whole first movie, saving the princess and all, and how he watched as Darth Vader then killed his mentor Obiwon, and that made Luke hate him even more. And how in the next movie Yoda was training him to become a Jedi so he could fight Darth Vader but when his enemy captured his friends he ran off to save them, and battled him and it was only then that Darth Vader told him this incredible truth – that he didn’t kill Luke’s dad, he WAS Luke’s dad. My son was spell bound. We talked about how all of America was talking about this revelation when in happened in 1980. (Not until The Sixth Sense did a movie have such a great surprise, and this was still bigger.)
But then we talked about how Luke had every reason to despise or hate his father, but instead he chose to love him and feel pity for him. He even told his dad so. Even when his dad stopped believing in himself – “It is too late for me, son” – Luke never gave up on him! Luke even gave himself up in the third movie and let himself be captured to go and face Darth Vader and his even more evil boss, the Emperor! (Now Luke was on the edge of the couch.) There, the Emperor told him of the trap that would kill all his friends and that Luke would have to join the evil side, like his dad, or be destroyed. The Emperor wanted Luke to kill his own father. But Luke refused. He loved his dad, even though he had done so much bad. He refused to fight him – only defending himself as his father attacked him under the Emperors orders. But then Darth Vader got Luke angry. He told Luke if he didn’t turn to evil, he would go after Luke’s sister, and that got Luke upset and then Luke attacked Darth Vader to save his sister – he defeated Darth Vader and even cut off his hand to make his light saber fall away! Darth Vader was defenseless! Now Luke could have killed him if he wanted. Did Luke do it? No. He was good. The Emperor ordered him to kill his father and take his place – but Luke did the most amazing thing, he threw down his light saber and said, “I am a Jedi, like my father before me.” He spoke of his father like he was good. He spoke of the time when his father was a good Jedi, of the time when his father would have died to do the right thing, and chose now to die doing the right thing, as his father would have done long ago. He wanted his dad to see that he had raised a good son, willing to die for good, even though he himself had failed, he had succeeded in having a good son, a son willing to die for him.
I asked my son, “Would you die for an evil man?” My Luke said, “No way. I might die for a good person, but not for a bad guy.” And I said, “That is the whole point! The Bible says that a man might die for a good person, but no one would die for a bad person, but here Luke is willing to die for his father who is one of the worst men in the galaxy, the second in the command of the evil galactic Empire – out of love for him. And Darth Vader is seeing this display of love, and what do you think is going through his mind as he lays there thinking, he could have killed me, and I deserve it, because I was trying to kill him! And now he is going to die so that I can live?”
My Luke says, “He must feel very loved.” I said, “I bet he does.” The drama only intensifies from there. The evil Emperor comes down, and says, “So be it. Jedi.” (Said with condescending disgust.) “Only now, at the end, do you understand. If you will not turn to the dark side, then you will be destroyed.” It was, in truth, the Emperor, who was not understanding that a plan of Redemption was unfolding right before his very eyes. This master of evil was unable to see the conflict boiling up within his apprentice, Vader, whose murder he had just ordered – a plot that had been foiled by love. The Emperor bellows to Luke, “Your feeble skills are no match for the Power of the Dark Side!” When in truth, this act of sacrificial love by this young Jedi would prove more powerful than all this powerful master’s evil schemes!
And then the Emperor begins to electrocute him with that powerful blue lightening from his fingertips. Darth Vader rises and keeps looking back and forth between his son who is suffering in agony and this evil leader who is killing him realizing he has a choice to make. Save his son or stay with this evil Emperor, who would have had his son kill him. I’ve always wondered if this was when Darth Vader woke up and realized he would be replaced as soon as his leader found a stronger Number Two, despite Vader’s fierce loyalty.
The Emperor pauses, only for a moment, to say, “And now, young Skywalker, you will die.” During the final burst of lightening, Darth Vader looks back and forth a few more times, as if to antagonize the suffering audience some more, before making his choice. Finally breaking from his frozen state of inaction, he bursts into motion, lifts up the Emperor and tosses him over a railing and down into a reactor shaft where falls, wailing as he plummets, until finally, he dies.
Not only is Luke saved, but Darth Vader as well. When Luke says, “I must save you,” Darth Vader answers, “You already have.” Vader does not physically survive the ordeal, perhaps due to his battle with Luke or the lightening when he lifted the Emperor, but his redemption comes from his choice to save his son and turn back to the good side, and the evidence in the world of Star Wars, is his being seen with Obiwon and Yoda at the end of the film in their ghostly jedi forms from the after life. Indeed, the faith and love of a son, brought salvation to a man everyone else thought was unreachable.
I’m not really a science fiction fan – I enjoy other science fiction films, but the reason I love Star Wars is primarly the story of the Redemption of Darth Vader. There is a lot more to it than I even have gotten in to in this post. (Note that fact that Darth Vader could sense Luke’s presence on the Moon of Endor and the Emperor could not! The Emperor asked, “How do you know he is there?” Vader answers, “I sensed his presence.” – “Strange that I could not,” responds the Emperor. Not strange at all, he didn’t love Luke!)
My Luke and I ended up putting in the DVD to watch the end of the film – and then looking up Romans 5:6-8 and John 15:13
You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
I may pretend to have Jedi powers when I open automatic doors at the grocery store or open the garage door, but the truth is I am powerless. And I’m not a righteous person. I’m not even a good person. But God’s demonstrated his love toward me by having his Son lay down his life for me. He could have killed me for my sin – I deserve it as much as Darth Vader, for disobeying God. There is no one righteous enough to merit salvation. The real evil Emperor, Satan, has invited me to rule my own life at his side – but Jesus defeated him on the cross, dying in the process, for me.
Star Wars teaches us that there is NO ONE beyond hope. There is good in everyone – and we ought never give up hope on anyone. Love can conquer anything and anyone and that evil will ultimately be defeated by the Power of Love.
– When You Wish Upon a Death Star.
– Finding Greedo.
– Song of the Sith.
– Snow White and the Seven Droids.
– The Princess Leia Diaries.
– Emperor Palpatine’s New Groove.
– The Wookiee.
– Lilo & Sith.
– Droid Story.
As I trick or treated this year in a Star Wars inspired costume…
After getting a taste of the Power of the Force on Endor, where he was first honored as a god, C3-PO secretly decided to begin to study the ways of the Jedi around him until finally in 2012 he would reveal himself as a true Jedi Knight…never again to be mocked as a mere protocol droid.
And after displaying my Yoda Jedi Master Pumpkin…
People asked me what I thought of George’s sale of Star Wars to Disney. Usually, they wanted a short answer, so I just said, “Hesitantly optimistic, and happy for my son. Hopefully there will be a Star Wars Theme Park in the future in addition to more movies.”
But I have a longer answer.
As a fan of Star Wars (just search this blog), I’ve never jumped on the “hate George” band wagon. Yes, I have been mildly disappointed with the prequels, but I’ve also believed that the fans don’t own Star Wars, they are the recipients of it. We owe gratitude to George Lucas for a lot of joy he brought to our childhood – and even if he didn’t do everything the way we would have liked it, let’s not forget, it’s just a movie people. What he gave me as a boy was something more powerful than a movie or a story; he gave me the gift of IMAGINATION.
That has been something I have carried with me ever since I saw my very first movie in May 1977 at the young age of eight. When I watched that Star Destroyer passing overhead and saw and heard those laser lights blasting away…I was hooked.
I never stopped imagining. That’s why my basement is filled with Star Wars toys and why I never stopped playing with action figures, even creating my own silly action stories for kids via ToyBoxTales.com
Star Wars took me to a galaxy far, far away…where there were two suns, robots as funny as Abbott and Costello, a walking carpet that grunted – but his dashing partner understood every word – and a beautiful princess who needed rescuing. There were spaceships and aliens and so much more… and an evil dark villain, who it turned out in time, still had good in him and could be redeemed because, believe it or not, he still loved his son.
Perhaps, in time, George lost his way and that’s why some of that original magic was lost in the prequels. But the creativity and charm and visual splendor of far off worlds and tightly edited chase scenes only got better, even if the writing grew dull and the dialogue became wooden and forced. That far off galaxy still calls children to imagine and play with light swords and dress up and dream. For that, I still celebrate Star Wars.
I don’t think the problem with Star Wars is so much with George. I think it is with us growing up. I’m not saying I don’t agree with the criticisms of George Lucas and his handling of the prequels. It’s just that when I was eight years old, they wouldn’t have mattered. Like the lights of an oncoming car, it is so much easier to see the faults of another than our own. Could I have done better? I doubt it.
We have all made mistakes and missteps and fallen short of the expectations and hopes and aspirations of others. I’m glad I don’t have millions of fans! That’s far too many people to disappoint and let down for one mere mortal man. So I cut George Lucas a lot of slack. I think that’s called Grace.
I just look forward to what he does next. I’m his fan, unconditionally. We all need fans like that – fans who celebrate us with gratitude, even when we blow it. Those who will let us dust off, learn, and move on, a better man for when we’ve fallen on our face.
And I look forward to what Disney does with the characters and planets and story that he created.
All of this is irrelevant to why I am thankful to George Lucas.
OK, perhaps it isn’t. The point is simply this. Due to the massive creativity of George Lucas, he brought a lot of fun and entertainment and joy into my life. And I’m simply thankful for it. Ironically, a lot of Star Wars fan are critical of George Lucas, and frankly, they are ingrates. Without him, they’d have nothing to be complaining about! And ought to shut up go play with their toys. (Humph!)
I even got to kinda sorta even meet George Lucas in person while at that Star Wars Convention on my sabbatical in 2004, which you can read about. We got lucky, because I was NOT going to camp out all night to meet anyone, even someone I admire as much as George, we just walked in the next morning, and ended up getting front row seats. How cool is that!?!
Star Wars (A New Hope) was the very first movie I ever saw when I was seven years old. I’ll never forget sitting there as that Imperial Star Destroyer seemed to fly directly over my head and I thought it would never end! It was massive and overpowering and I was immediately in love with the entire galaxy – I was hooked for life!
People younger than me are critical of the later films, and while I can see those faults, they don’t get it – they are too objective and detached – for to them, they are just movies, as they never fell in love as a young child. When you are in love, you just enjoy, and “love is blind,” so while true fans may cringe at Jar Jar and wince at younger Anakin’s acting, we are still glad just to be back in that galaxy far far away, and just thank George for taking us back, even if he did lose a little of his magic touch over the years. It’s OK, we do know it’s just a movie, but we enjoy them. Just sit back, and like a kid again, who has no “inner critic” you just eat popcorn, sip soda, and disappear into the film. That is how movies were meant to be enjoyed. Adults have forgotten how to watch movies. Everyone is a critic today and have lost the joy of enjoying movies. Let the directors direct, the critics critic, and the audience watch and chill while the story unfolds… for during those two hours, reality is on hold, and the movie is reality! That is how it is supposed to be.
Thanks, George, for creating that Galaxy far far away!
It’s really just something I need to DO MYSELF – but I thought maybe others might want to join me, and I’d enjoy reading/seeing what others are thankful for. So you are welcome to use the Word doc, or just post in the forum what YOU are thankful for! So let me begin today, with my first post. These are NOT going to be in priority order, otherwise I’d have to go God, Family, etc. and then later on, people might judge me for putting one thing “above” or “before” another – so right out of the gate let me say, these posts will be in RANDOM ORDER of things I am THANKFUL FOR!
Kidology.org to release an exclusive clip of the all new Angel Wars next Tuesday!
If you have not seen AngelWars.com you have missed one of the very best Christian animated series for children. Think Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Narnia, and super heroes all blended together into one visually stunning animated show that mixes awesome music and eye-popping animation so well, you might get goose bumps just watching the trailer. And that’s before you even sit down with the pop-corn to enjoy the entire show!
I’ve been a fan of the original trilogy since it came out, but am excited that an all new feature length version (90 minutes) is coming out NEXT TUESDAY…. and…. that Kidology.org will be releasing an exclusive clip of the show in our newsletter on the same day! Be the first to see an exciting scene from Angel Wars: The Messengers never before seen!
That’s right! While you can view the official trailer at AngelWars.com and there are a few clips here and there, Kidology.org’s free newsletter subscribers will be treated to an exclusive glimpse of the video NEXT TUESDAY, the day of the release! If you are not a Kidology.org newsletter subscriber, join the thousands of others who know where to get the inside scoop on children’s ministry today! Subscribe now so you don’t miss it! We will also be hosting an online Q and A with the creator, Christopher Waters.
But what IS Angel Wars?
Angel Wars is a visually exciting, kid-friendly rendering of spiritual warfare that allows children to imaginatively and visually engage with the spiritual realm. While they are not exactly ‘biblical’ in the literal sense (nor claim to be) they do allow children to imagine what life could be like for angels. However, I imagine real angels may envy the hover boards, gadgets and space ships these imaginary angels get to enjoy! For those who are concerned with aspects that do not perfectly match biblical descriptions of angels, such as the angels having free will, it is important to realize that in any fiction, for the sake of a story, often a few of realities rules must to broken to establish a premise for a story. From that point on, a shared world view can exist in harmony. In Narnia, animals talk. In Lord of the Rings, great evil power can be embodied in a piece of jewelry. In Star Wars, there is an impersonal but guiding and empowering ‘Force’ which binds the galaxy together. VeggieTales not only has talking veggies, but they can pick things up without hands, and no one seems to have an issue with that. In the same spirit, Angel Wars grants a few exceptions to the idea of angels to create a spiritual world (and beings) that kids can relate to, and that allows for some powerful moral lessons. Targeted to attract children ages 5-11, I can’t wait until my little boy is old enough to watch Angel Wars with me. We will discuss the themes and lessons in the stories, and then it will create a wonderful opportunity to look to the Bible to study what God’s Word teaches us about real angels and how they relate to God, this world, and us. In the meantime, I’m enjoying them myself!
What is this new video about? Here is the official description:
In a city of darkness, they are the light.
From some of the world’s most visionary animators comes an action-packed, feature-length adventure of two young warriors in the battle between the forces of good and evil!
Kira and Eli are the newest members of the Guardian Force, a group of angel warriors sworn to protect the world from the powers of evil. Not yet full Guardians, the young duo still has a lot to learn, but when darkness descends over the city, the time for training is over. Faced with the responsibility of delivering hope to a lost city, they must learn to work together to drive back the soldiers of darkness and grow into the warriors they are destined to become.
Karl’s official endorsement:
Angel Wars beautifully combines stunning visual story telling with powerful character lessons. Rarely is something designed for kids so engaging that adults get mesmerized too. Angel Wars delights the eyes, ears and heart all at once. Christian parents, teachers and pastors now have something of excellence their children can enjoy that will teach as well as entertain. It’s Christian and it’s totally cool… imagine that!
Karl Bastian, the Kidologist
Founder and President of Kidology.org
OK, I’ve finally gone and done it. (by popular demand, I might add!)
Often when I am speaking somewhere (or anytime Star Wars comes up, which it does occasionally in my life) I mention that I got to go see Star Wars Episode II nearly a week early at one of the only fully digital theaters in the country (which had scenes not in the release for the general public since George Lucas kept tinkering with the film even after it was shipped off in film to theaters across the coutry and only digital projector theaters actually showed the version that you now see on the DVDs, not many people realize that.)
Anyway – what I often mention is that when we came out of the theater (and yes, I went dressed as a jedi with a friend) we were interviewed by two national networks, both of which aired that night across the country. We were only able to get a copy of the CBS report.
What did I finally do? I put it up on YouTube. (Again, only by popular demand, it’s rather embarrassing actually!)
FINALLY – disclaimers related to the video you are about to watch:
The quote “$110 in tickets” was not because I was going to see it that many times, but was taking my Kids Church Krew when it opened in theaters.
The quote that got me the most grief was “Yoda kicks butt.” I know, as a children’s pastor, that is practically swearing – but if you’ve seen the film, we finally got to see the Jedi Master Yoda FIGHT at the end and it was an entirely new experience, so when I came out and was asked what I liked best, that was the first thing I said. Once they found out that I was a children’s pastor and my friend was a youth pastor (now converted to children’s ministry) they asked us a lot of questions about kids, culture, and the value of good wholesome films like Star Wars, but my “Yoda kicks butt” was the still the main quote they went with, though I kinda liked the line they coined, “these pastors by day, Jedi by night.” Not bad.
(I’m the one with my Jedi hood on the whole time because my hair was a mess and I was trying to hide my identity a little.)
Oh, and yes, it was Mother’s Day – we both ditched our Mother’s to attend this event. Also in this video is the boy who invited me and his mom and dad and his sister, and her friend, and so I must end by saying THANKS again to them for remembering that I was a Star Wars nerd and inviting me to join them and allowing me to bring a fellow Star Wars nerd with me.
Several years ago (before I blogged on an official “blog”) I created a page that showed me and my friend Ryan Yoder assembling my Lego Star Destroyer, which at the time, was the largest Lego kit that Lego had ever created up to that point.
I often am telling kids about it (as I was this weekend in Canada) and wishing it was posted on my blog, so I am posting a post about the post where I posted about it: For all the pictures step by step (and cool star background) SEE THE ORIGINAL LEGO STAR DESTROYER POST.
It took us two full days to assemble the 3000+ pieces of this Lego work of art! So now it is linked and searchable on my blog so I can just tell kids, search my blog for Lego Star Destroyer and you’ll find a link to it!
I am personally convinced that one person can be a change catalyst, a “transformer” in any situation, any organization. Such an individual is yeast that can leaven an entire loaf. It requires vision, initiative, patience, respect, persistence, courage, and faith to be a transforming leader.
~ Stephen R. Covey