Engaging the culture with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Wonderful truths in Wonderland:

I watched Tim Burton’s “Alice in Wonderland” with the family last night. My wife thought it didn’t make sense, my 4 year old was captivated by it (loving the Jabberwok, which concerns me a bit), my 2 year old was scared of it before I even hit play, my 7 month old could care less, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Anyone who knows me, knows that it’s not far into a story before connections begin to be made in my mind to illustrate truth. I think that’s one of the things I liked about the movie so much – the connections were plain as day. I’m not saying Tim intentionally made them that clear; but even with the cover of gnarled tree branches, a protagonist that looked like death warmed over, and a villain with a head to match her ego; theological connections were not masked much at all. Although there are various rabbit trails that we could follow, I will follow what I believe to be the white rabbit – the one, over arching theme of the entire film. I’m not trying to do any injustice to Burton’s or Carrol’s genius by being reductionistic; I simply want to let the trees fade a bit so we can more clearly see the forest.

There was one statement Alice made that summed it all up: “Since the moment I fell down the rabbit hole, I’ve been told who to be and how to act, but I’m going to make my own path!” Shortly after her entrance into Wonderland, she was shown a scroll of the history of Wonderland. Interestingly enough the history of the place had not all taken place as of yet. To whoever wrote it, it was history although it hadn’t happened yet. And here is where Alice’s struggle comes in. She says she couldn’t kill anything if her life depended on it, yet everyone (everyone good that is) is telling her that she has to. The villains of the movie also know about the historical scroll, and they are attempting to stop Alice, although Alice still doesn’t think she is the one to slay the Jabberwok.  So sure are Alice’s friends that the record of the scroll is correct that they are all anticipating “Frabjous Day” – a day yet to come that celebrates what is yet to occur (another glorious illustration I may elaborate on in another post). For the entire movie it looks as if all who believe this day will come are lunatics. And yet there’s another twist, one I think we all can identify with more closely. The White Queen tells Alice how to kill the beast, but that Alice must choose to do so. There is even a point where the queen asks for volunteers, waiting for Alice to step forward (which she doesn’t do at that time).

To make a short story even shorter… Frabjous Day comes, and Alice is there, voluntarily, decked out in full battle attire, just as the scroll recorded she would be. She voluntarily slays the Jabberwok, just as predetermined in the scroll and does so in the exact place as foretold by the scroll. What had always been history in the scroll became history to the inhabitants of Wonderland. Their anticipation of what was to happen was fulfilled. What appeared to be insanity was really faith in what had been promised ahead of time (again, something I’d love to blog about later).

But for now, I ask you… how did all this work out as it did? By mistake, or by design? How is it that Alice, seemingly forging her own path, actually fulfilled the path predetermined for her? How is it that the antagonists willingly played right into the hands of “destiny”? Although through the movie it seemed possible that the scroll could be wrong, that Frabjous Day may not take place, that Alice wouldn’t fight the Jabberwok or be victorious if she did – was that actually the case? Was someone in control of the entire situation? If so Who?
Now, I encourage you to climb back out of the rabbit hole and make application to your own life.


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