Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Finding redemption in 'The Finder'

FOX/via Spoiler TV

Athena Brooks: C’mon Leo, be the man you once were. Give me that hard drive. 
Leo Knox: If redemption was reversible, it wouldn’t be redemption.

The Finder—a quirky procedural drama on Fox from the creators of Bones—follows the adventures and cases of Leo Knox (the fabulous Michael Clarke Duncan) and Walter Sherman (Geoff Stults), who has an uncanny ability to “find” things. In the aptly titled “Life After Death,” Leo and Walter are hired by lawyer Athena Brooks, a former law colleague of Leo’s, to find out who is producing new songs by a rap singer who died years before. After Leo and Walter secure a hard drive with the music, Leo figures out that Athena’s actions led to the death of the singer. When he confronts her, she tries to appeal to the man he used to be when she knew him as a shark-like lawyer—but Leo’s response gets at the heart of what redemption means.

FOX/via Global TV
In his former life, Leo was a hard-hitting and driven lawyer who enjoyed the power and expensive suits that came with his career. After the death of his wife and child, however, he reevaluated his life and changed, focusing on helping others. 

Essentially, Leo “repented.” As Mark Scandrette puts it in Soul Graffiti, to repent is to:
..."rethink your thinking" or "reimagine" your life in view of new alternatives. The instruction to "repent" or "reimagine" is meant to shock and arrest, to incite us to rethink our goals and priorities, to call into question our previous ways and awaken us to new possibilities. We reimagine our lives by allowing the Creator to examine our thoughts, attitudes, motives, and behavior. 
Doing this, says Scandrette, is our “entrance into the kingdom dance. When we trust that God is who he says and can do what he says—when we rethink our thinking, turn from our old way of thinking and grasp the new opportunity Jesus gives us—we find new life. Our relationships with God, others and the world are changed—we are now enabled to live as we were created, both with God and others. As we walk and work with God in learning to live in that new life, we become, as Dallas Willard and others put it in The Renovare Spiritual Formation Bible, “the kind of person who embodies the goodness of God.”

This is what redemption looks like. It isn’t simply a ticket to heaven or forgiveness of sins but a new life—a changed life. Leo’s response to Athena and the life he’s been living demonstrate this. The change in him is so deep and rooted that he is a different kind of person. He can’t go back the person he was.

If we have entered into the kingdom dance with God, we too will be transformed—and that transformation will change us into a different kind of person. We will find it harder and harder to conceive of life the way we did before. That doesn’t mean we won’t be tempted. That doesn’t mean we won’t stumble and fail. But it does mean we will more and more consistently become the kind of people who experience life—a spacious, free life—on God’s terms, the way we were created and now enabled to live. We are changed.

I appreciate the way both Bones and The Finder consistently touch upon issues of faith and give us characters like Seely Booth and Leo Knox who wrestle with those issues—and bring God-talk into these open spaces.

No comments: