Star WARS. Jedi Wisdom, Father’s Day: Love Your Father.

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Oddly enough, one of the most controversial chapters in my new book, “Christian Wisdom of the Jedi Masters” is the one on loving your father. I received a little push back editorially on whether or not it was really a necessary chapter–but reaction from readers has confirmed we made the right choice¢â‚¬¦

The chapter establishes the tough assignment Luke faced when he learned that he needed to control his anger against his father before he could qualify as a Jedi Knight. George Lucas has actually said the theme of Star Wars is the redemption of a father by his children¢â‚¬¦

Read on excerpt and if you have the book, read the whole chapter as a reminder of the importance of forgiveness this Father’s Day.

[The following excerpt is used by permission and is copyrighted material:

A central theme in Star Wars is the failed relationship between a father and his children. This is something we can all relate to, because every child suffers from imperfect parenting. With the exception of the Lord of the Force, every father fails, so as children we may refer only to orders of magnitude when bemoaning our parent’s shortfalls. Fathers (and mothers) fail for the same reason children do; we are all woefully incapable of perfection.

Over the years I’ve observed that our reaction to the image of God as Father is directly related to the nature of our relationship with our own parents. Increasing numbers of aspiring Jedi are ineffective because the fiercest enemy they face is the inner demon of a failed or disappointing parental relationship. Wounds due to some dysfunction in their family, or pain, sometimes very deep, inflicted by one or both of their parents weaken many aspiring Jedi Christians. Unhealed, they can be exploited by the dark side, who will use them to produce anger or bitterness. When this happens your effectiveness in battling the dark side and serving the Lord of the Force will be diminished.

Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia’s story of overcoming their lineage illustrates how any of us can prevail despite our family background, whether we suffer from mild disappointment or deep pain. In Star Wars, Luke and Leia bore the burden of being orphans, only to learn their situation was much worse. Not only was their father alive, he was the personification of the dark side. Ultimately Luke and Leia overcame their bitterness and forgave their father, liberating themselves from their anger, and giving their father a chance for a new start. George Lucas refers to this as the resurrection of a father by his children and it is a gift only a son and daughter can give to an undeserving parent. Paradoxically it is the one gift that will heal the son or daughter’s wounds.

The Star Wars saga reveals a complex father-son relationship. As a young man Luke worshipped the memory of the heroic father he believed to be dead, only to hate the detestable and completely evil father he learns is alive. As an aspiring Jedi he is ruled by his passions, and when he learns the truth about his father, the poisonous roots of bitterness sink deep in his spirit, and his very life becomes fueled by his unmanageable anger.

Only after Luke confronts and resolves his emotions about his father can he be transformed into a Jedi. Luke takes the first step toward personal peace by accepting the truth that through no fault of his own, he got a rotten father in Darth Vader. This requires him to let go of the idealized dream of his father as a hero. Then Luke takes another important step in choosing to believe there was still good in his father, even asking Vader to intervene when the emperor is torturing him. His most radical step is forgiving his father, telling Yoda he cannot kill his father, and then telling his father he will not fight him. He has dissolved his hate and bitterness by releasing his inner turmoil and anger, replacing it with love and forgiveness. No longer ruled by his anger and bitter passions, he finds inner peace and qualifies for status as a Jedi. ‚©]

Yours for the pursuit of God in the company of friends, Dick Staub.

PS. And remember, “these are the best of times and the worst of times, but they are the only times we have.” (For Now).

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