#1078 – Star Wars: Rogue One

Other than the trailer for The Force Awakens, the most exciting news out of Star Wars Celebration centered on Star Wars: Rogue One.

Director Gareth Edwards was there to share an early teaser trailer as well as the first synopsis for the movie. Rogue One will be set just prior to Episode IV and focus on a team of Rebels stealing the plans for the first Death Star.

In a world without Jedi, Edwards had this to day about his film.

God’s not coming to save us. We are on our own. And we are going to have to do this ourselves. We have to turn it around… It comes down to a group of individuals that don’t have special powers.

The spinoffs will be a part of the Star Wars Anthology series, of which Rogue One will be the first. I’m definitely excited about the prospect of seeing Rebel soldiers fighting for their cause against the overwhelming strength of the Empire, as they steal the plans to the Empire’s ultimate weapon.

In honor of Rogue One, here are some Bible stories filled with thievery. 

Idols

Rachel may have been the pretty sister but she was also a thief. When Jacob’s family finally left Laban’s household, Rachel stole her father’s idols. The Bible doesn’t tell us why she stole her father’s household gods; perhaps she thought that they would bring her favor on the journey. Laban pursues Jacob, who had left abruptly, and accuses Jacob of stealing the idols. Rachel had hidden them in her saddle but says that she can’t get up because of her period. And, like most guys, Laban wanted nothing to do with menstruation; he didn’t want his idols back that badly.

The Ark

One of my favorite Bible stories is about the Philistines stealing the Ark of the Covenant from the Israelites. I’m sure they were proud of themselves for capturing what they thought was the Israelites’ God. However, they quickly realized that God can’t be captured or stolen; he’s a real God, not an idol of wood or stone. The Philistines placed the Ark in their temple, but their idol kept falling down before the Ark. Then the Ark started causing tumors on the Philistines and they couldn’t get rid of it fast enough. If only the Philistines had read the tablets inside of the Ark, then they would have known that stealing is never worth it.

Achan

This is one of the most tragic stories of stealing in the Bible. When they destroyed Jericho, God commanded his people not to take any plunder. Unfortunately Achan didn’t listen. Because of Achan’s sins, 36 Israelite soldiers were killed in a battle because the Lord wasn’t with them. Achan had defiled himself and his family, which meant that they were destroyed, his entire household. I’ve never really had a problem with stealing, but I went through a phase when I would steal traffic cones from wherever I could find them. The biggest consequence I faced was finding a place to store all of my cones. I’m glad I didn’t meet the same fate as Achan; cones definitely aren’t worth my life or the lives of 36 others.

I’m excited for Star Wars: Rogue One and the other films in the Anthology series. My favorite part about Rebels has been seeing the Star Wars universe during that time period. Hopefully Rogue One and the further Anthology films will continue to flesh out that galaxy far, far away.

What is your favorite story of stealing from the Bible?

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2 Responses to “#1078 – Star Wars: Rogue One”

  1. The most significant thing about the announcement, to me, is this quotation from Gareth Edwards:

    “God’s not coming to save us. We are on our own. And we are going to have to do this ourselves. We have to turn it around… It comes down to a group of individuals that don’t have special powers.”

    In the first place, this seems to be a major deviation from Lucas’ vision for the Star Wars films. Much of the core of Star Wars’ message is the reality of and our relationship to the supernatural. Lucas put it this way:

    “The Force evolved out of various developments of character and plot. I wanted a concept of religion based on the premise that there is a God and there is good and evil.” (http://goo.gl/xC8SCZ)

    This is because, he says, “I believe in God and I believe in right and wrong.” (http://goo.gl/xC8SCZ)

    This film, from Edwards’ description, moves us away from any sense of Divine intervention. While I’m sure that this has been done before in Star Wars novels and video games that focus more on X-Wing pilots and the like, this is a major departure for the film franchise.

    It also points to the limitations of the Force as a depiction of God–certainly from a Christian perspective, but also from a general religious and spiritual perspective. The impersonal, amoral Force is described most succinctly by Obi-Wan as “an energy field,” a term which hardly describes the Christian understanding of the active, omniscient, loving Creator and Sustainer of the universe.

    But it is made even more alienating to many spiritual perspectives when only a select few (the Jedi) can access it. According to Star Wars lore, it’s the most powerful supernatural essence there is. It binds all life together and we can do amazing things with it. Everything will be okay if we just trust in it, have faith and “use the Force.” Oh, you don’t have a sufficient number of midi-chlorians in your bloodstream? Too bad. You’re on your own.

    That is what this film’s premise points out–that the “god” of Star Wars is so limited that most people are completely cut off from having any kind of “relationship” with it. Since it has no will and no faculties of its own, it not only won’t, but *can’t* help you if you’re in trouble. You have to use it to help yourself. If you can.

    So no, Gareth Edwards. God is not going to save us in Star Wars, be it Rebel One or any other Star Wars story, because, in Star Wars, we *always* save ourselves. It’s just that a select few of us have a genetic predisposition that tips the supernatural playing field in our favor.

    This major departure from the supernatural element of Star Wars is significant, then, in two ways. First, it removes a core theme from the film franchise that was at least a point of access for a discussion of the Divine and our relationship thereto. Second, it shows the major limitations inherent in the mythology of the Force that keep it from being more widely comparable to the spirituality that most religious belief systems would say is available to all.

    And, side note, this film is based on yet another tantalizing bit of throwaway dialogue from the original trilogy. Let’s hope that turns out better than previous cinematic attempts at backstory in this universe.

  2. And, to answer your question, my favorite image of stealing in the Bible is Jesus, via Michael Card in his song, “Why?”:

    And why did it have to be
    A heavy cross He was made to bear?
    And why did they nail His feet and hands?
    His love would have held Him there

    It was a cross for on a cross
    A thief was supposed to pay
    And Jesus had come into this world
    To steal every heart away

    And then, of course, as a Trekkie commenting on Star Wars, I must include John 10:10, in which Jesus says, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come so that they may have life, and may have it abundantly.”

    In other words, “Live Long and Prosper.” 🙂

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