Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Christology of Who: Father's Day Part Two

A look at a few spiritual themes in Doctor Who, episode "Father's Day" written by Paul Cornell.

For Part One of this discussion, go here.

Who Are You? Who, Who?

The Doctor loves playing with the title of his show. This episode, however, isn’t about “Doctor who?” but rather, “Who is Pete?”

The show begins with Rose calling Peter Tyler “the most wonderful man in the world,” while Jackie tells young Rose what a great man he was.

Then we meet the schlub.

Whereas Rose was told he was a successful businessman, we see that he was flitting about with all kinds of failed projects.

You bring home cut-priced detergents, tonic water, Betamax tape and NONE of it works - I'm DROWNING in your rubbish.
(to Rose)
What did he tell you? Did he say he's this big businessman, 'cos he's not. He's a failure. Born failure, that one. Rose needs a proper father—

The marriage of Jackie and Pete isn’t the storybook romance that Rose was led to believe – I suppose the quote above showcases that quite nicely.

Ah, what the heck, let’s throw in Pete’s take:

What's she told you about me, then?
She said she'd picked the most fantastic man in the world.
Must be a different Jackie, then. She'd never say that.
So we learn that Pete Tyler isn’t the most wonderful man in the world. At least not to the naked eye.

The last lines of the episode are Rose’s – telling us about Pete Tyler, “the most wonderful man in the world.”

Begins and ends with that, and Rose is probably right.

So what about all that stuff in the middle – the failure, the goof, the good for nothing?

Here’s the thing – none of us can be judged by whether the bits and pieces of our lives work - by our worldly success. In that standard, if we were honest in the judging, we are all failures.

But even if you look at Pete’s failings, you can see that they spring from attempts at something more. Who he is comes less from the success or failure of his attempts, and more of what is under his attempts.

He is trying to provide – he isn’t out hawking betamax tapes from greed, or pride, or envy, or sloth, or gluttony, or anger, or lust. Sure, he appears a failure, but it isn’t the appearance that defines him. (John 7:24; Samuel 16:7)

Jesus says that there are going to be a whole lot of us that look very much like we are heaven bound, and on that day he won’t have a clue who we are.

And there will be those that look like failures, goofs and good for nothings, and (to their own surprise) they will be embraced by Christ as family.

Pete can’t be defined by his accomplishments because the person he ultimately is... well, that’s for the next section.

To be continued... 

Just my thoughts,


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