Tuesday, June 05, 2007

"Crank" and Prayer

Another far-reaching movie analysis here; I recently rented "Crank" with Jason Statham and Amy Smart (I've had a huge crush on Amy Smart since seeing Rat Race).

The movie itself doesn't have anything in the way of culturally redeeming qualities. Sorry.

But it does furnish the stuff of good analogies, so I would like to make a comparison here that a priest giving a homily could probably never get away with.

The hit-man star of the movie, Chev Chelios (which, for me, conjures up images of boxes of cereal), has been poisoned in a such a way that his heart is continually slowing down until the point it will simply stop. In order for him to stay alive just long enough to get revenge, he needs anything at all that will keep it pumping, especially adrenaline; but substitutes will do for the short term (caffeine, epinephrine, etc).

Excuse me, but do we not have here a perfect image of the human condition after the Fall?

Crank depicts a man confronted with death and who is thus placed on a desperate quest for stimulation that he knows will only postpone the inevitable. Hence, all the destructive behaviors that he engages in within 24 hours represent a whole human life of soft-despair, crammed into a day.

But now I would like to turn the tables on this analogy and suggest that Chev's struggle to stay alive also can represent our own struggle to stay alive, spiritually. Our souls, our life in God, is poisoned, and each moment we find ourselves drifting oh-so-easily away into secular despair; the time between each heartbeat is just a little longer.

If we care, if we in fact seek life eternal, if we seek to rage against the dying of the light, then we must fight against our own dying to the One Light. And that means prayer. And lots of it.

An important similarity between Chev's need for adrenaline and our own souls' need for prayer is that Chev was not experiencing a desire for adrenaline; he did not hunger for the stuff; it was simply necessary. It was medicine. And thus all of his desperation - for crack, for Red Bull, for vehicular speed, for violence - grew not so much out of base passions but out of a choice--to live (even if that choice can be deconstructed into the base passion for revenge). Consider the scene where Chev is faced with a wholly sober choice: I either press my hand in the waffle iron, or I die. Would that we could share that clarity of vision with respect to prayer!

Our souls crave prayer like our lungs crave air, but our souls are immaterial; their desire is made known only through the intellect, not the base passions. Thus, spiritually dead profligation is possible (though it leads to one's life participating a bit in Chev Chelios' more literal reality). Thus the choice to live, spiritually, is a sober choice, even more sober than Chev's option with the waffle iron. Sometimes the struggle to pray is a kind of spiritual waffle iron into which we must thrust our accedia, and scream as it burns and sizzles, yet only then be rewarded with the knowledge that - yes - I will live, spiritually, another day.


Matt of CG said...

If only all of us would succumb to a sort of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and have our fixation be prayer, knowing that Jesus Christ is on the other end waiting to pick up the phone and love the crap out of us.

Suzanna said...

You should watch the movie "Momento" if you haven't already. I'd really like to see what you think of that in relation to the development of one's conscience.

Rusty said...

Actually Matt this does happen literally.

It always leads to a can't see the forest for the trees thing.

Sister of God said...

Thank you a lot for this post. I really think that prayer is a hard choice. But it is always worth to strugle