Sequelish Expectations

Thursday, June 21, 2007

A few years ago, I stopped reading fiction because every book I picked up was a part of a series or a trilogy or some such unfinished drama. While I could understand the publisher's desire to sell an author, I had no desire to find myself locked into four to fifty books about the same characters who kept getting into the same kinds of trouble.

(Notable exceptions to my rule include the Hardy Boys books and the Sugar Creek Gang series.)

Authors were left with less responsibility to write well, with publishers using their names and previous success to sell mediocrity that I personally don't want to waste my time on.

I switched to movie-watching. I could enjoy the creativity and analyze characters that had to be more than flat characters. But then we started getting things like Peter Pan: Return to Neverland and Cinderella II and Matrix II and Matrix III and Ocean's 12 and Ocean's 13 and Pirates II and Pirates III. Funny. Scary. Because it keeps happening. Spiderman II wasn't enough; now we have a Spiderman III. It seems every day I hear about another sequel to something that was great on its own, and now we're getting prequels too, like The Hobbit and Casino Royale!

But nobody really *likes* the sequels anyway. I've heard more griping and complaining about sequels that didn't live up to the original movies than I care to hear in a lifetime. You went to watch it, I say! Did you suspect that it could be as good as its predecessor? They never are!

Interestingly enough, this discussion leads me into a recurring conversation Pete and I have engaged in about ministries. We are not a people to begin something and leave it when it has run its course. Perhaps God does begin the ministry--but perhaps it is only for a time. Yet the ministries in which we participate often become our focus, and we find it necessary to sustain them past the time for which God called us to them.

So often as believers, we hear about our choice for good/better/best, and yet we are often content to live in the "good" while never seeking God for His best because it often means leaving something in His hands for whatever He may decide for it. So we look back on our early glory days and believe we can have them again because this *is* still a ministry, right?

It's like going to a movie in an attempt to find a sequel that's better than the original. Or reading a book that we know is going to drag on for ten more before we actually resolve the issues that the author must some how figure out how to write and rewrite without losing the freshness of the conflict. We're so busy predicting the outcome, we don't believe our God is creative enough to come up with something that will totally astound us!


Heidi said...

Good thoughts. I do have to say though, on a slightly shallow note, that I LOVED Oceans 13 (about as much as the first one, more than the 2nd one), and there are other sequels that I've liked *better* than the originals - like Mission Impossible 3. The Bourne series is another one that has been well-done. So it CAN happen, it's just rare. *wink*

J said...

Icky on Oceans 12, but haven't seen 13 yet. Spiderman 3 was just as good as the first one in my opinion, with certain parts of it shining out brilliantly, while other parts (Peter Parker trying to dance and stuff - GAG!) were really atrocious even if they were potent insights.

I have a small booklet by K. P. Yohannan that is really excellent at talking about some of the reasons ministries may die off. Some may truly be due to God's closing doors, but others ... well, if you're interested, the book is Principles in Maintaining a Godly Organization.

Kelly Sauer said...

J, since this is my blog, I figure I can let you know that I'm not at all interested in the book you recommended. Books like that FREAK ME OUT. God's Word is not an instruction book of principles by which we can achieve our own ideas of success or "glory days." It is His revelation to us of Himself and of His Son. If you go to Scripture looking for "principles" to live by, I'm sure you'll find them--I don't know anyone who hasn't--but don't miss God Himself for the answers we seek to tell us "how to live."

Galatians 5 differentiates between the "works" of the flesh and the "fruits" of the Spirit. I think it wise (James 3) to allow the Spirit to guide us in our ministry as we abide in Christ. Anyone can "be good" and "do the right thing" and "follow principles" but it is not "work" we're looking for in our lives. It is fruit. And that is produced inside our hearts by Something outside our ability to replicate.

Also, a general FYI--I'm not criticizing those movies. As a rule, I enjoy them. I just get sick to death of standing up for them to people who expected them to be something they weren't. You don't have to defend them to me!

J said...

ROTFLOL!! Oh that was the funniest thing I've read all day!

You summarized the book very nicely!! I guess you don't need it since you already know it! You very enthusiastically laid out the main principle he gave.


One of the excerpts I enjoyed went something like "Once the passion for the Lord that first marked the venture fades away, all the office prayer times in the world won't take its place." Or something like that.

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