Thursday, April 28, 2005

The Gospel According to Napolean Dynamite

Many will see this title and say, "Napolean who?" Anyone who has teenagers will already have grown tired of the whiny, nasel inflected imitation of Napoleon when he says, "Geez." This movie (that will likely become a cult favorite) defies description. It's the story of a nerdy guy with big hair who ambles through his suburban highschool and survives his quirky family with ease and confidence inspite of being ridiculed and tormented every time he turns around.

I have a friend who is preaching a sermon series entitled, "The Gospel According to Napoleon Dynamite." I envy his creativity, while at the same time, wonder whether preaching from movies is just another cultural fad along with being "emergent." Then again, movies and the "emergent church" have a profound way of reflecting the character of our culture, and both speak to the human predicament with clarity and honesty. The any number of books that have been published in the last few years in both of these areas is astonishing.

What is a Gospel according to Napolean Dynamite? What is this good news that a nerdy highschool kid with big hair has to show us? Does this movie proclaim grand themes of sin and redemption that evoke some kind of response in a post-modern culture? I don't know the answer to these questions. This one thing I do know however, Napoleon Dynamite embodies the archtypal nerd in all of us. And every time I see him seemingly comfortable in his nerdiness, I smile because maybe there's even hope for me. To quote Napoleon, "Just follow your heart, that's what I do."

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