Sunday, April 27, 2008

Blogging the Matrix

Wake up, Neo!
Right-brained creatures like me like to find analogies to explain and convey information, understanding, connotation and emotion to others. When communicating what the realization of my spiritual abuse experience was like, I identify best with the “Matrix” films. Like “Neo” was before “Trinity” and “Morpheus” make contact with him, both my husband and I knew something was desperately wrong with our church, but we just didn’t have all the adequate language to articulate it in its fullness. It was, as Morpheus describes, the “splinter in the mind” that drove us mad. As time progressed and as we sought out help and wisdom, our first visit to our Exit Counselor together was very much the “taking of the red pill” and awakening in a world that seemed bleak and colorless for quite some time.

The dialogue between Neo and Morpheus, particularly in those first scenes where Neo begins to realize the bitter reality of his fate and his circumstances, rang so true for us, both conceptually and emotionally. (Neo realizes that he has not been living his life but has been plugged into a computer generated dream world of virtual reality while machines use the energy that his body generates to fuel themselves.) In order to make this dialogue seem more applicable to spiritual abuse, I’ve taken the liberty of changing the names. I hope to convey what it was like to realize that not only were we subject to many doctrinal problems in our church, we had also been royally duped at a very deep, disturbing level. I believe that this realization was as disturbing as this film, just as it was on the very first day that we saw it, with my husband and I clutching each other’s arms in the theater.
If you haven’t considered the applicability of the film to this issue, as an example of postmodern, existential despair that often accompanies the loss of that which one holds most dear, I invite you to read some of the more pertinent quotes from the original Matrix film. We were “plugged into a system” that used us and reduced us to objects, all with little to no consideration of our spiritual needs (when it was a choice between the dogma of the group and the truth). It left us in a spiritual wasteland until the Lord healed us and revealed Himself to us, showing us the “real world.” For some time, we lived in “the desert of the real” but the Lord gave refreshing streams of healing in the desert to restore us again to Him. (Especially if you’ve studied cinematography, there’s a ton of Christian symbolism in the film which is an adventure to discover, though there is quite a lot of other belief systems woven in there as well.)

Matrix Dialogue Revised(with all apologies to the Wachowski Brothers and their screenplay).

I’ve changed ~
“Morpheus” to “Exit Counselor” (EC)
“Neo” to “True Believer” (TB)
“Matrix” to “the spiritually abusive system”

Lafayette Hotel Scene
Exit Counselor (EC): At last. Welcome, True Believer. As you no doubt have guessed, I am Exit Counselor.

True Believer (TB): It's an honor to meet you.

EC: No, the honor is mine. Please, come. Sit down. I imagine that right now you're feeling a bit like Alice, tumbling down the rabbit hole? Hmmm?

TB: You could say that.

EC: I can see it in your eyes. You have the look of a man who accepts what he sees because he is expecting to wake up. Ironically, this is not far from the truth. Do you believe in fate, True Believer?

TB: No.

EC: Why not?

TB: Because I don't like the idea that I'm not in control of my life.

EC: I know exactly what you mean. Let me tell you why you're here. You're here because you know something. What you know you can't explain. But you feel it. You've felt it your entire life. That there's something wrong with the world. You don't know what it is but it's there, like a splinter in your mind driving you mad. It is this feeling that has brought you to me. Do you know what I'm talking about?

TB: The Spiritually Abusive System?

EC: Do you want to know what IT is? The Spiritually Abusive System is everywhere. It is all around us, even now in this very room. You can see it when you look out your window or when you turn on your television. You can feel it when you go to work, when you go to church, when you pay your taxes. It is the world that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth.

TB: What truth?

EC: That you are a slave, True Believer. Like everyone else you were born into bondage, born into a prison that you cannot smell or taste or touch. A prison for your mind.... Unfortunately, no one can be told what the Spiritually Abusive System is. You have to see it for yourself. This is your last chance. After this there is no turning back. You take the blue pill, the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.... Remember, all I'm offering is the truth, nothing more....

Have you ever had a dream, True Believer, that you were so sure was real. What if you were unable to wake from that dream? How would you know the difference between the dream world and the real world?

In the Construct, Scene 1
EC: And standing there, facing the pure horrifying precision, I came to realize the obviousness of the truth. What is the Spiritually Abusive System? Control. This group you’ve known as your church is an idealistic, contrived dream world built to keep us under control in order to change a human being into this. (Holding a Duracell battery.)

TB: No. I don't believe it. It's not possible

EC: I didn't say it would be easy, True Believer. I just said it would be the truth.

TB: Stop. Let me out. Let me out. I want out.

In the Construct, Scene 2
EC: The Spiritually Abusive church is a system, True Believer. That system is our enemy. But when you're inside, you look around. What do you see? Business men, teachers, lawyers, carpenters. The very minds of the people we are trying to save. But until we do, these people are still a part of that system…. You have to understand, most of these people are not ready to be unplugged. And many of them are so inert, so hopelessly dependent on the system that they will fight to protect it

Car Scene:

TB: I have these memories from my spiritual life. None [of them happened the way I intended. I served the church and became what they wanted me to be, but I did all to honor God. To serve Him in the highest and best way possible. And it was all for man and not for God.]** What does that mean?

Trinity: That the Spiritually Abusive Church cannot tell you who you are.

**[altered dialogue]

I recommend the RED PILL, everybody.
It may not be easy, but it will be the truth.