Posts Tagged ‘ Doctor Who ’

Trinitarian Elements of Doctor Who!

Find wisdom in unlikely places, such as through the thoughts of a rag-tag group of pastors, lay-leaders, and a young woman at Proverbial Thought!

If you have followed by blog for a reasonable amount of time, you may have learned I am a Whovian, a fan of the British sci-fi television show Doctor Who. The Doctor is a time-travelling alien who looks human, but he is a Time Lord from the planet Gallifrey. He is able to escape death by regenerating (all Time Lords can do this), but this has the side-effect of changing his appearance and personality while still being in essence himself.

The topic at hand, however, is one of his companions. He picks up companions frequently, usually from Earth but not always. For the show, companions act as a sort-of stand-in for the audience to ask the questions we might ask … or to simply help move the plot along.

Before I continue, however, I must warn of possible spoilers, specifically about an episode from Spring of 2013, The Name of the Doctor. If you do not wish to have anything spoiled as you watch through the series, you may wish to stop reading now!

How the Trinity Works Its Way into Doctor Who

In the above mentioned episode Clara Oswald helps the Doctor in a big way.

It must first be known that she is called “The Impossible Girl” because she was first seen earlier in the season in an episode in humanity’s future in which she saved the Doctor and his companions. In that season’s Christmas special, she saved the Doctor in Earth’s past.

This is the episode in which we find out how she could have existed hundreds or thousands of years in the past or future and exist in the present.

Clara “Oswin” Oswald, to save the Doctor from being torn from Time/Space by an enemy, jumps into the Doctor’s personal Time-stream. In doing so, copies of her are seeded throughout his lifetime to help him at important junctures in life and thus help him retain his Time-memory and not cease to exist. (Yes, it is very complicated. Just know that she was able to help him in every regeneration the Doctor has had.)

Recently, I have read some articles critiquing newer episodes, especially in connection with Clara’s personality and memory of these other events.

A friend and I noticed how religious some fans get over this show, and how like Christians they act over “dogma” and ideas they have but do not fully understand about the show and its characters.

How Clara Is Like the Trinity

In this similarity, Christians do not understand things such as the Trinity, and this misunderstanding throws off other elements of their theology.

The Doctrine of the Trinity is simply that God exists as three distinct Persons (Father, Son, Holy Spirit) yet is a single Being. The word “trinity” never appears in Scripture, but it has been deduced from Scripture (e.g. see Matthew 3:16-17 which has all three Persons present simultaneously).

Clara helps demonstrate this (and, please remember from here on out that nothing can adequately explain/compare to the concept of the Trinity. Our finite brains will always struggle with this concept) in that while she was interjected into various points along the Doctor’s timeline, each “incarnation” experienced birth, life, and death in each context. Therefore, while each and every “Clara” is, was, and will be Clara, they are never exactly the Clara who is the current companion of the Doctor.

In a sense, she is one being who has been many persons in the Doctor’s life.

It is no wonder, then, that so many people, many of whom are not necessarily Christians if not agnostics/atheists, struggle with this concept of Clara.

If Christians have been arguing about this concept for two thousand years, why should we expect anyone to grasp a fictional adaptation (that was not intended as such by the writers of the show)?

Doctor Who and the Need for a Savior

Fill your need for wisdom, and go to Proverbial Thought!

This past Sunday I shared a poem about what people need. That was prepared before realizing I would be sharing today’s entry!

The eight season (series, for all of you BBC/British television/Whovian people out there) of the rebooted Doctor Who television show recently kicked off. This season began on August 23rd, setting some BBC America records, and that is compared to last November 23rd’s globally record-setting release of the 50th Anniversary Special, The Day of the Doctor.

There are a lot of people who really like Doctor Who, and, as a Whovian myself, I can understand the passion that goes into following this show.

I read an article recently titled, “Entertainment Geekly: ‘Doctor Who’ is the saddest show on television“. Here is a little excerpt:

One way of looking at this: The Doctor is friends with everybody! But another way of looking at this: The Doctor is never close with anybody. And even when he is close with someone, it won’t last. He’ll leave them behind, or they’ll leave him behind; or they’ll just get older, and he’ll grow a young man’s face. The Davies era immediately played up the Doctor’s loneliness by repositioning him as the Last of the Time Lords: No longer a plucky renegade from an elaborate culture, but rather, that culture’s last remaining memory.

Maybe “sad” is the wrong word for Doctor Who: It’s a show that takes tremendous joy in simple human connection, even as the modern iteration constantly futzes with those connections. (It’s never clear if the Doctor likes his Companions, or loves them, or if he just needs them to be in love with him.) . . .

The central tension of most action-thrillers derives from the fear that someone might die. But because the Doctor will never die, the central tension of Doctor Who is the utter certainty that things will definitely change. Every change is like death, but every change is also like birth. Doctor Who is never bleakcompared to our current apocalypse vogue, it looks positively chipper. . . .

The Doctor never gets to live a normal life, which is his tragedy. (Tune in to a new episode of Doctor Who, and remind yourself that soon–this year, next year, certainly the year after that–the Doctor and his closest friend will say goodbye.) But I also wonder if that’s why, the longer you watch Doctor Who, you find yourself relating less to the every people Companions and more to the Doctor. From our perspective, the world might change, but we always stay the same–as friends come and go, as we move from one place to another. It takes someone else to notice when we become a new person. Maybe that’s why the Doctor always seeks out new Companions: So that the man who never changes can change, over and over again.

It seems to me that Doctor Who is popular because of how it plays off of the loneliness so many people feel. It feeds into the need for hope all people have. Whether it is in relating to his companions or relating to the Doctor himself, people watch Doctor Who because of a need and a desire for a savior.

And it becomes sad when we realize that there is indeed a Savior who can fulfill all of our needs, but so many do not know about Him or ignore Him … or, worst of all, flat out deny Him.

All it takes is to seek God and the forgiveness offered through His Son, Jesus Christ.

Turn to me and be gracious to me,
    for I am lonely and afflicted.
The troubles of my heart are enlarged;
    bring me out of my distresses.
Consider my affliction and my trouble,
    and forgive all my sins.
Psalm 25:16-18, ESV

The Acts of the Doctor (Who)

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I am a fan of Doctor Who. That means I am a Whovian.

I enjoy the Sci-Fi/Fantasy genre, and Doctor Who covers that in spades (and probably has or will literally).Doctor Who Matt Smith

I have found several devotionals based on Doctor Who, with a common theme of the Doctor as a Christ-like figure and his companions as disciples. There are a few which put the Doctor in a different role, biblically speaking, and within all of these there are times when our circumstances are compared to his and with the Bible.

This is one of those odd-ducks in which I deviate from the Christ-likeness.

Apostle to the World

If I were to compare the Doctor to anyone, it would be the Apostle Paul. Here is why:

The Doctor is a Time Lord who comes from the planet Gallifrey, so he is an alien to Earth. He is not the one who controls time. He is often used by Time to help good win.

He has two hearts, is very clever, and he travels around in a T.A.R.D.I.S. – Time And Relative Dimensions In Space – through all of time and space and occasionally outside. He usually has one, two, or several companions who travel with him (usually from Earth, but not always), whom it is very clear (at least if you pay attention, sometimes) he loves dearly. And he has a sonic screwdriver which helps him get out of and into sticky situations.

The Doctor has a knack for showing people the truth behind circumstances, and he saves the world (and the universe) on a regular basis.

One of the more amazing things about the Doctor is the way he and the Time Lords can escape death: regeneration into a new body.

Now consider Paul:

He was a Jew who was called to preach the Gospel (the truth of Jesus Christ) to the Gentile world (Acts 9:15, Romans 15:15-16).

He had many disciples which he left in cities to lead the church, some of them Jews and some Gentiles. With the help of the Holy Spirit he was saved or revived from sticky situations and helped many people or the glory of God.

All of this was possible because his heart was regenerated by the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:22-24) (you could argue he, and we as Christians, have two hearts as evidenced by our sinful desires and a new desire for God). We also have the promise of regenerated bodies at the end of the age (2 Corinthians 5).

Paul is not God, but he was used by God to help win over hearts and minds.

I say all this just to say …

One of my favorite verses in the Bible is 1 Thessalonians 5:21, “test everything. Hold onto what is good.” (Technically speaking about prophecy, but it is so applicable in our world.)

It is just as Paul used the pagan god statues in Rome to witness for Christ, or God using secular (non-Christian) songs to pull someone closer to Himself (such as Backstreet Boys’ “As Long As You Love Me” helping me realize my deep need for unconditional, perfect love).

I also really like G. K. Chesterton’s quote:

“Fairy Tales are more than true; not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.”

I enjoy Doctor Who, and other works of Sci-Fi/Fantasy, because they remind us of who we are, who are meant to be, and that we can and should be more than we are.

What is your inspiration? What is your passion in life that moves you?

Mine is God and the sacrifice made by Jesus Christ, but Doctor Who reminds me of that!