The Lost Finale, Finally

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The Lost Finale, Finally

May 23rd marks the Lost finale after six seasons of mind numbing twists and turns.

If a fan is a fanatic, Lost has fans! is just one of hundreds of websites devoted to the careful deconstruction minute-by-minute of each and every episode of Lost.

Lost is an American live-action television series that follows the lives of plane crash survivors on a mysterious tropical island after their commercial passenger jet crashes somewhere in the South Pacific.

Critically acclaimed and a popular success, Lost garnered an average of 16 million viewers per episode during its first year and has won numerous awards

Thematically, Lost is a spiritually evocative show. The original concept for Lost was a cross between the novel Lord of the Flies, the movie Cast Away, the television series Gilligan’s Island and the reality show Survivor.

But when JJ Abrams, creator of Alias got involved, he agreed to take the project on with one condition ~ the series would have a supernatural angle to it.

The spiritual plot thickened when he brought in co-writers Damon Lindelof in his 30’s, and Carlton Cuse in his 40’s. Each had experienced spiritual awakenings in the years leading up to Lost. Aspiring to use Lost as a vehicle to tell stories of personal redemption, by season six the backstory of every lead character among the Oceana Six has been developed and explored. (The Oceanic Six are the survivors of Oceanic Flight 815 who left the Island and returned openly to civilization January 7, 2005 only to return to the island).

Carlton Cuse said LOST explores the question of ”how does one lead a life.” Lindelof says during the show’s conception, he was grappling with spiritual issues prompted by the death of his father. At the same time, he was falling in love with his future wife and finding the spiritual connection he was seeking through exposure to her Catholic beliefs.

”For me,” he says, “Lost is about the search for meaning.”

Increasingly popular culture has become a theological location, a place where people tell stories about God, learn about God and teach about God.

Lost is just such a place.

On Lost biblical references are a regular occurrence. Mr. Eko carries a stick inscribed with scripture and in an episode titled “The 23rd Psalm” he repeats, “the Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.” Jack’s last name is Shepherd a metaphor for leader. Old Testament names abound. There is a dark force at work on the island and it is doing battle with Jacob, the original name of Israel in the Old Testament. Aaron (brother of Moses), Benjamin, (the youngest son of Jacob), Isaac (the brother of Jacob) and Rachel (the second wife of the biblical Jacob) all appear. Christian apologist C.S. Lewis (Clives Staples Lewis) parachutes into LOST as a girl named Charlotte Staples Lewis.

Judeo-Christian references are layered in with other religious and philosophical traditions. John Locke (English Philosopher and father of liberalism), Anthony Cooper (An English philosopher) and Danielle Rousseau (hinting at Swiss philosopher Jean Jacques Rousseau?) all make appearances, as does Richard Alpert (a noted psychologist and Hindu spiritualist in real life). Buddhists and Hindus see their traditions referenced in the Dharma initiative and a multitude of other ways. Mysteries abound in the world of Lost where Jack Shepherd, initially at least, appears to be the rationalist and John Locke the man of faith.

If popular culture is at all a gauge of a culture’s mood, we can say that our fascination with Lost reveals the gravitational pull of our most ancient of stories and the questions they raise. Does God exist? Where is God when I feel lost? How do I explain the miraculous and the forces of good and evil in daily life? Is there an afterlife? Is there such a things as justice? Will right prevail over wrong? Can the Lost be found? Will we go around in circles?

Lost continues the trend towards spiritual eclecticism employed by George Lucas in Star Wars, where George Lucas put a bunch of religions in a blender and hit the button.

The finale of Lost will tie together some loose ends in the storyline, but the real life questions will remain. Contemporary culture may be where we do our God-talk, but it is a lot better at asking questions than delivering answers.

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).

PS 2. Order one of Dick’s books from amazon: Christian Wisdom of the Jedi Masters
The Culturally Savvy Christian: A Manifesto for Deepening Faith and Enriching Popular Culture in an Age of Christianity-Lite

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