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'Tis the Season


Twinkle here. I've been out of the loop on the Lost blogs only dashing in once in a while to get news about the upcoming season and the writer's strike. I'd love to get caught up with you. What have you been up to this year and where are you now?

What are you gearing up for? Hanukkah? Christmas? Kwanzaa? New Year? Festivus? The return of Lost?

Whatever you're looking forward to, this seems to be the season of expectation. We often turn introspective, contemplating the things that mean the most to us. This season also reminds many of us about what we have lost. Whether this season is happy or sad for you, what gives you hope?

Justice or Revenge








Cooper was a schmuck. No he was the schmuck of schmucks. I couldn't believe how he made light of Sawyer's pain and tore up his letter!! On the island, where no governing body exists (unless you count Smokey :-) ), was Cooper's death justice or was it revenge? An execution or a murder? Was it the ethically, morally, the right thing to do? There's no clear answer here so I hope many people have opinions each way, maybe both at the same time. That's how I feel.

Furthermore, why did Sawyer react so violently to something he'd been willing to do before? Why was Sawyer so reluctant to kill? Why did he fight it until Cooper egged him on? Why was he so angry with Locke even at the end? How do you think killing Cooper affected Sawyer? What would you have done in his shoes?

Sun's Challenge










Difficulty having children is one of the greatest personal and marital challenges. Sun's story may be unique on the island but not unique to humankind. Too many women over the ages have struggled to become pregnant only to have it kill them. We live in a time isolated from that kind of reality.

To some degree, we expect medicine to protect us from infertility and miscarriages. Juliet is a symbol that although sometimes medicine can make a difference, we cannot place our faith in it totally. We further isolate ourselves by our silence. For instance, somewhere between 20-50% of pregnancies end in miscarriage. The vast majority of them occur before the woman is even aware that she is pregnant. Of the women who miscarry once about 20% go on to have known miscarriages again. About 5.3 million Americans are affected by infertility. That means that probably all of us know several people who have experienced miscarriages and/or infertility if we have not been affected ourselves. (Statistics drawn from allaboutlifechallenges.com and pregnancy.about.com.)

So why don't we talk about these things? Several on this blog have already opened up about their struggles. We thank them for their trust in us. Would anyone like to share their story in more detail or for the first time? What struggles did you have or watch someone close to you have? What was comforting/encouraging? What difficulties remain?

Lose/Lose? Win/Lose? Win/Win?











Abraham, Isaac, Moriah, (Genesis 22), Jacob, Benjamin, Ruth, Naomi, David (Desmond's Middle Name), sacrifice, provision, tests of faith, providence, free will, etc. My head is swimming with ideas for this blog!

However, based on the episode's title and they way the plot played out, I think the most poignant question to ask in this forum is: Is there such a thing as a "Catch-22" situation where an individual is faced with the impossible task of accomplishing two actions which depend on each other? Many of us just assume that "Catch-22" is a law of nature (i.e. I need experience to get a job, but I need a job to get experience) but is that too simple of a solution?

After reviewing the plots and themes of Joseph Heller's book, I found that, in Catch-22, the main character comes to realize that "Catch-22", a supposed military rule, does not actually exist. He discovers that the powers that be claim it does, and the world believes it does, and the result is that it has potent effects on all who submit to its rule.

Have you been faced with "Catch-22" situations in real life? What was the result? After facing a supposed "Catch-22" did you come to the conclusion that there actually is another way out of the no-win situation?

LOST Thoughts For The SOTL Blog












Hey gang, please accept my apologies for being M.I.A. lately. Here are some thoughts that will hopefully spur observations and reactions. I plan on staying more consistent as the season comes to a close...

THE MAN FROM TALLAHASSEE:

Locke: You're a hypocrite...a Pharisee

A major theme in the Gospels (first four books) of the New Testament is the opposition between law and love. Accordingly, the New Testament presents the Pharisees as obsessed with man-made rules (especially concerning purity) whereas Jesus is more concerned with God’s love; the Pharisees scorn sinners whereas Jesus seeks them out. Because of the New Testament's frequent depictions of Pharisees as self-righteous rule-followers, the word "pharisee" (and its derivatives: "pharisaical", etc.) has come into semi-common usage in English to describe a hypocritical and arrogant person who places the letter of the law above its spirit.

Locke's simple accustion implies that the Others have taken for granted the deeper and truer "faith-oriented" aspects of the island's power in exchange for a more empirical approach. As much as I've been annoyed by John's actions as of late I do have to acknowledge that he is walking and Ben is still in a wheelchair. May we never cripple ourselves by living our lives like the Others. What does it mean for you to "walk by faith" and not by sight?

EXPOSE:
Greed will come back to bite you. (Observation courtesy of Twinkle)

LEFT BEHIND:
Diane: You murdered him in cold blood.
Kate: I did it for you.

Diane: No. What you did, you did for yourself.


I love it. Have you ever been caught in your own self deception? Have you ever had a selfless deed exposed as selfish? Here's the real question I had from this episode...If Kate really killed Wayne for herself and not Diane, what was beneath that motive?

ONE OF US:
I believe that Juliet is truly "one of us". She is a civilian trapped on an island, longing to escape. However, she is not simply trapped. She is bound to the island in a way. She is also "one of them." Juliet embodies the dualism of Saint and Sinner. Don't we all have a little bit of both in us? She is a character in conflict with herself. I believe she wants so badly to be like Jack but she has sold her soul to Ben and her loyalty remains with him because she has seen his power at work. Reminds me of Romans 7:21 "So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me." All of us are trapped in this Saint & Sinner dynamic...Where do you have loyalties to the sinner side of you that are raging against your inclination to be a saint?

The Difference Between Hope & Guilt










Many things struck me while watching "Par Avion". I couldn't land on just one for this post so here is this week's list. There should be plenty to talk about!
  1. Claire's discovery of the truth about her father resonated with me. Don't we all discover rattling truths about our family of origin as time goes by? We've chatted this one up before.
  2. The introduction of the topic of the ethics of life support brought on by the conflict between Christian Shephard and Claire over coffee. We haven't hit on this yet but I'm sure we could talk this one to death!
  3. Claire's touching newfound appreciation of her mother which was brought on by her own pregnancy. The way tears of remorse represented a cleansing of Claire's guilt towards the end of the episode.
  4. Finally, Christian Shepherd's statement, "There is hope and there is guilt. Believe me, I know the difference." I love the way this statement encapsulates the fine line between hope and guilt that practically all of the survivors on the island are walking. Surely it is a line that all of us walk as well.

Not-So-Little Mister Sunshine









"Hope is never stupid. You have to make your own luck." By faith, Hurley begins to believe that the island is ready to turn things around for him and his friends. He took the return of Sawyer & Kate and the discovery of the VW Bus as signs that things were starting to look up. He didn't just sit back and wait for more good fortune to wash over him. Instead he took the initiative to embrace and pursue hope. For Hugo & the boys, hope was found in a simple and daring moment of fun.

Since the episode was a little lighter fair this week, let's bring a little levity to the blog. Does anyone have examples of how a moment of fun brought a ray of hope into a seemingly hopeless situation? What are some suggestions of fun things one could do this week if they, like Hurley & Charlie, needed to snapped out of a funk?

Belonging









I always find Jack's flashbacks interesting. This week we see that he was told by Achara that she perceives him to be "a leader and a great man" whose greatness causes him to be a "lonely and angry" person. She marks him with a tatto that (on the show) is translated to read, "He walks amongst us, but he's not one of us." Jack says, "That's what they say. That's not what they mean."

So what do they really mean? What is the implication about Jack that is being communicated by the seer's reading of him? Clearly, something about Jack keeps him from belonging. What are your roadblocks to belonging? Have you ever felt like a "stranger in a strange land" no matter where you go?

Choice vs. Destiny










Desmond's trippy flashback episode served to highlight the ongoing LOST theme of destiny vs. choice. The events in Desmond's life have left him with a strong sense of destiny that is far from that which he would have otherwise chosen. Based on what we've seen, what would you say are the roles of destiny and choice in Desmond's life? How have you seen the two played out in your own life?

Giving Life











Juliet's skills, courage, and passion allow her the unique privilege of participating in the conception of human life as a fertility researcher. As she gives life to others, it seems a curious trade off comes into play...Her own life slips away. Her work makes the dreams of others come true but what about her dreams? Has she sacrificed her own life for the cause of giving life to others? Is this how it has to be? What have you lost for the sake of finding something for someone else?

Should I Stay or Should I Go?









Something I've done that I can't outrun. Maybe you should wait maybe you should run ” The Fray (Lyircs from the song "Fall Away")

Kate has a past that she needs to shake. Do you think she will ever be able to let it go and move on? Will Sawyer represent her redemption or will the pattern continue to perpetuate itself on the island? If not Sawyer, what will it take for Kate to find freedom from her dark history? Should she, for once in her life, slow down long enough to wait, let it catch up to her, and face its fury? Is there any way she'll ever be able to outrun it and put enough distance between her and her past that it will no longer define her?

What about us? Have we outrun our pasts and found freedom from our darkest moments...or are there still things holding us back from embracing the life we've always wanted? What happens when we stop running and let our pasts catch up with us? How do we face the darkness and move beyond it? What happens when we keep running? Has anyone had success at outrunning the things that can't be undone?

The Wages of Sin








Eko was a paradox of faith and pride. As the ultimate demonstration of the duality of his nature, his final refusal to confess and repent was quickly followed by a recitation of the opening lines of the 23rd Psalm just before his life was brutally put to an end. I have strong feelings about this episode but I wrestle with wondering if I arrive at these emotions because of my Christian perspective or if it is really what the writers intended for the audience to experience. With that in mind...

I was immediately and continually drawn to the book of Romans while digesting this episode. In the 6th chapter, I believe the Apostle Paul explains Eko's situation to a tee when he says,

"Previously, you let yourself be a slave to impurity and lawlessness, which led ever deeper into sin. Now you must give yourself to be a slave to righteous living so that you will become holy. When you were a slave to sin, you were free from the obligation to do right. And what was the result? You are now ashamed of the things you used to do, things that end in eternal doom. But now you are free from the power of sin and have become a slave of God. Now you do those things that lead to holiness and result in eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord."

I don't know if the producers intended to bring up the whole Jesus thing but to me, Messianic redemption was what Eko most obviously and desparately needed....and he was so close to finding it. He knew that the wages of sin is death but he sought to redeem this price on his head with his own means (40 days of silence, building a church, etc) never acknowledging that redemption is a gift to be received and not a privilege to be earned. His denial of his sins and his stubborn refusal to confess his need and receive life as a gift is what ultimately led to his demise.

What do you think? Was Eko's fate a result of his refusal to accept the island's offer of redemption? Or do you think the opposite...that his steadfast pride and self assurance represented a redeemed state and he was killed because his "redemption" was complete?

She Chose the Cage







"A guy needs somebody-to be near him. A guy goes nuts if he ain't got nobody. Don't make no difference who the guy is, long's he's with you. I tell ya, I tell ya a guy gets too lonely an' he gets sick."

Sawyer wants to believe that "every man for himself" works as a philosophy of life. But we all know that deep down he knows that "live together, die alone" is what he needs. There is probably a piece of Sawyer in all of us that wants to make it on our own and would like for everybody else to do the same. On paper, it sometimes sounds easier not to need or be needed. Have you ever denied others access to yourself, chosen the lonely road, and suffered for it? Have you ever allowed others in or stuck beside someone, even when it was difficult to do so, and experienced the benefits of togetherness?

Amazingly and powerfully, Kate taught Sawyer a lesson when she chose the cage over her freedom. With or without romantic love, she demonstrated to us all the life or death value of remaining in community.

The Social Contract








Why do we always end up feeling sorry for John Locke? Does his naivity make him weak? Does his faith simply allow others to take advantage of him and constantly set him back or are things more complicated than that?

His character takes his name from the famous 17th Century English philosopher whose voice was influential in defining the differences of "social contract" vs. "state of nature" ideas. To summarize, Locke seems to hold a basic assumption that all members within a given society naturally agree to the terms of some sort of social contract. Any violation of his assumed contract would signify a problematic attempt to return to the state of nature where he would be unsure of his ability to survive. No matter how strong Locke's beliefs, individuals in his life continually violate the perceived social contract.

Is it fear or wisdom that doesn't allow Locke to deny this philosophy? Although we always see Locke getting burned, isn't there something noble about his ability to subordinate his individual liberty for the general will of the community? What is happening on the island to bring clarity & redemption to the life of John Locke?

In the real world that we live in...What are the pros and cons of living under a "social contract" and living in a "state of nature"? Which best describes your philosophy on life within society?

To Trust or Not to Trust


Trust (wikipedia entry) was once defined as the willing acceptance of one's power to affect another. I thought that definition was interesting. Also, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe has been quoted as saying, "As soon as you trust yourself, you will know how to live." The Glass Ballerina was, in my book, all about trust and that is what I'd love to see discussed in this thread.

Our sweet, gentle, nurturing Sun has turned out to be a stone cold liar. Because of this, she seems to trust herself less than Jin trusts her. Shouldn't it be the other way around? We seem to have an amazing capacity to trust others we love, even if they haven't done everything to earn that trust. Sometimes this is a noble quality...other times we just end up getting seriously burned. On the other hand, we also seem to trust ourselves less than we should? Does this mistrust of self keep us grounded or does it keep us anchored? Trust is a tricky thing don't you think? What do your experiences say?

Oh Those Daddy Issues...












Jack is supposed to be our hero and yet he is flawed. We all long to be heroes and yet each of us, like it or not, are flawed as well. In Episode 1 of Season 3 of Lost, "A Tale of Two Cities", we get deeper insights into the origins of Jack's developmental issues. Many of his weaknesses seem to be rooted in his dysfunctional, mistrusting relationship with his father. We all have fathers and some of us, like Jack, have daddy issues. Anyone have the courage to discuss? What's going on with Jack? Can you relate?

What Could Be More Terrifying?

Stories of the Lost has been far too long neglected. I couldn't be more excited about the prospect of diving back into this blog with the commencement of Season 3 of LOST on October 4. Check back here for reflections (and hopefully discussions) about the more meaningful, personal applications of the character developments and themes from each new episode of the show.



"They are free from the world, free from their pasts, they finally have a chance to discover who they really are...what could be more terrifying than that?"

This sentance from the Lost Season 3 promo gave me chills. It made me think of the trailer for next summer's Spiderman 3 ("The greatest battle lies within"). Truly, there are few things more disturbing than confronting the reality of the darkness within yourself. It is one thing to be free from the world and from your past but to be freed from yourself? Now that is a trick. What will happen? What will it take for the Losties to find freedom from their own depravity? Moreover, what will it take for us to find freedom from the things about ourselves that keep us from being everything that we know we are meant to be?

All of the latest promos for Season 3 end with the phrase "Find Yourself...Lost". Have you found yourself? Have you found yourself lost?

Soulful Concerns


LOST producers/writer Carlton Cuse (L) & Damon Lindelof (R) speak out about the spiritual elements of the show.

Quote from Entertainment Weekly magazine
May 19, 2006, Special LOST Collector's Edition

Lost's shepherds are deep-thinking guys whose soulful concerns are imprinted on the show. Lindelof, 33, and Cuse, 47, both speak of spiritual awakenings during adulthood; they aspire to use Lost as a vehicle to tell stories of redemption and, according to Cuse, explore the question of ''how does one lead a life.'' During the show's conception, Lindelof was grappling with an array of internal debates 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 meaning — and the search for meaning.''

Meaningless? (An Essay on LOST)

Mr. Eko's words to John Locke ring in my ears..."So let me ask you, how can you say this is meaningless?"

If we're honest, I think we all have a little bit of Eko in us. We all know deep down that there must be some sort of meaning in this life. For some, this may be more confusing or difficult than it is for others. The idea of meaning and purpose behind life's events brings up more questions than answers. Many of life's events don't seem to make sense. It doesn't seem possible for them to fit in a bigger picture.

The mythology of LOST is brilliantly anchored in our real world and allows us to participate with characters as they struggle with questions surrounding the circumstances of life. Many of these thematic elements of LOST parallel what goes on in each of our real lives. Isn't this why we all find the show so compelling? Isn't this why we find most STORIES compelling?

Carlton Cuse & Damon Lindelof, the primary producers/writers of LOST, are not afraid to acknowledge the fact that we are more than mere flesh and blood. They develop their characters like real people who have genuine interests in and questions about deeper, even spiritual things and the meaning and purpose of life. Rose, Charlie, Eko, and Locke are just a few of the characters that have been processing their journey on the show in a spiritual context.

I have created this blog as a means of entering into a dialogue with our friends about spiritual themes as we journey along together with the castaways on the show. As the administrator of this blog, I carry with me the personal conviction that everything does indeed happen for a reason and that we each have the opportunity for personal redemption in this life. I feel like I have found my path and I love to talk about it. I am not easily offended and am always eager to discuss some of the more important topics related to real life stuff. What a great encouragement would it be to see Lost fans begin discussions about the translations of themes from the screen to the real world! Won't you join me?
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