January 22, 2018


"A Ghost Story" is dismal, dreary, ghastly and mournful. A dreadful view of the human person and afterlife. A bombastic, trying-to-be "brilliant" speech is plopped in the middle of the film (instead of the end of a film as is customary). The speech-maker is some guy who knows more than God and tries to sum up the mostly wordless film. But for all his hot air, he really doesn't say much. "A Ghost Story" feels like a postmodern attempt to make sense of it all, but postmodernism does not have the tool kit or skill set, so it winds up in empty nihilism, beating the air. It winds up in emo-music-enhanced sadness and infinite melancholy. Postmodernism can't really define or say anything substantive about the physical world, so when it attempts the metaphysical world it's an even more confusing jumble of important-sounding words and vaporous, impressionistic, "ghostly" notions.


The eschatology in the film is abysmal and hopeless. The more we stray from the Biblical worldview, the more our imagination returns to a been-there-done-that-already paganism which is an endlessly looping, reincarnating cycle, NOT a linear "story." So this was NOT a ghost "story." A story has a beginning, middle and end, like each of our lives, like history, like salvation history. 


"A Ghost Story" is truly episodic with a capital "E." The only thing it can desire, really, is to cling to human love beyond the grave, maybe, for a little while (see the film "Ghost" and countless other love stories). Not a bad thing, that. But don't try to tell us about a bigger picture if all you believe in is physics-as-we-know-it-in-2017. Or speculative, theoretical physics or imaginative physics. And if postmodernism only believes in science, why does it believe in love at all?


Perhaps there IS an image of a kind of purgatory here? Some kind of purification (but what?) and then one is "released"? Perhaps, but I doubt it. Anyhoo, what is eternity without God? I think the filmmakers were really trying. But no.


"A Ghost Story" taps into our deepest fears: of dying, of being forgotten, of losing someone, of dying a sudden death, of what comes next, of nothingness, of some shadowy "in between" half-life state after death. It's good that we think on these things! But we will not evaporate. We will not be forgotten by God or those who have gone before us, the communion of saints. We are immortal. We will endure. Human beings are indelible, carved on the palms and the Sacred Heart of God.


In actuality, God has revealed enough to us to know that we have a choice. Read the entire book of Revelation at the end of the Bible. We know how it ends: both our individual lives and all Creation. We humans love freedom and choices? Well, we all have to make the most important choice of our existence: "to spend eternity with God who loves us or Satan who doesn't" (Fr. Amorth, former head exorcist of Rome). Our God is "a consuming fire" (Hebrews 12:29) who sets us on fire with love (heaven), or we experience His love as torment--not because He is tormenting us, but because we torment ourselves with our rejection of Love (hell). There are only two choices.

Christians in particular shouldn't be looking to the secular imagination for inspiration on the most important things in life (and death) when it's certifiably off base.


The afterlife is very important, isn't it? Our storytelling around the afterlife is very important isn't it? Salvation is very important, isn't it? Actually, it's the only thing that matters. We can lose everything else, but if we lose at eternity we've lost everything forever. So choose well.


--The best explanation of hell you will ever read. But you must read the whole thing: https://blogs.ancientfaith.com/glory2godforallthings/the-river-of-fire-kalomiros/

--Books by Blessed James Alberione on the afterlife:
"Lest We Forget"
"The Last Things"

No comments:

Post a Comment