Saturday, June 11, 2005

Creation Live at the Crystal Cathedral

Ok, here's my full review - as requesting by Number One.

Creation started out very promising. The show is one of those stories within a story, which has a cute little setup of a grandfather and his grandson fishing in a lake and talking about life, the universe and everything. The grandfather is presented as a good old fashioned guy who apparently has some sort of strange new-agey approach to religion in which he refers to God as "the presence" (weird item #1). The kid is your basic skeptical, scientific kid who apparently likes to make himself sound smart by spouting things about "environmental systems" and protesting the fishing for environmental reasons, or something, this part is very clear (a common theme of this show, you are warned).

Anyways, the grandfather offers to tell the kid "the story" (Post-modernist warning, this show is obsessed with making sure you realize this is just a story, or actually worse, that it is just the grandfathers story), of Creation, which is of course the actual thing you went to the show to see. Anyways, we're taken "back in time" to the beginning and for most of the first act we are treated to what can only be described as Cirque de Soilei meets cheap computer animation. It's actually a visual treat, really fun to watch, devoid of anything but entertainment value, and is the best part of the show. Except for this really weird part that looked like a bad 1980s rock video, but it's over very quickly, so just pretend your at a Duran Duran concert for a few minutes.

Then things get weird. There is some far, far too long sequence with Lucifer looking down on Earth from heaven and going on and on in poetic language about the beauty of Creation. (weird thing #2). Now for some reason, I should warn you right now you should get used to this, because Lucifer is the biggest character in the show, has the most speaking and stage time, and chews the scenery like Marlon Brando in an all you can eat cafe. It almost makes you wonder if some neo-pagan didn't sneak in and rewrite the script when no one was looking and is off stage somewhere snickering. Anyway, I digress, Lucifer is really cool, maybe too cool, and it greatly disturbed me to realize I was watching this in a church.

Anyways, then they have the creation of the animals, complete with really cool "Lion King" esque puppetry. My three year old was capivated and this was clearly her favorite part of the show. I suggest you stay for this part, get your moneys worth and then leave and go watch Constantine. Which had better theology than the rest of this show, and that's not saying much.

Then man is created. By now, if you are a Christian, maybe even if you aren't, familiar Bible verses should start popping into your head. If you want to enjoy the rest of the show, ban them from your head because they aren't here. God does not show up. The closest thing to God in this show is a giant tower of gossamer material that Adam and Eve emerge from. God is never even mentioned in the show, but referred to as "the presence". So He certainly doesn't have any speaking parts, not even as a disembodied voice. There is no Adam and Eve walking and talking with God. There are two Adams and two Eves, for reasons that are never explained. All four of them go into the gossamer material tower and it is implied by the grandfather that they are having sex - all four of them apparently, something that totally wierded out my mother-in-law. (whoever said this was a family friendly show needs some serious talking to, but it gets worse so read on).

Anyways, the second half the show would best be described as the last temptation of Eve. There is a whole lot of Lucifer, some really weird sequence that is some sort of demonic ritual rendition of the snake tempting Eve to eat the apple, which here because Lucifer seducing Eve and having some sort of dance orgy with her and a bunch of fallen angels. (again, who called this family friendly?)

In the end, it is implied that the fall had nothing to do with Adam and Eve disobeying God, but was instead about Lucifer destroying God's creation by introducing Eve to the ideas of unbridled sexuality. There is something really weird and Freudian going on here, but I can't quite put my finger on it, go see it for yourself and explain it to me, if you can figure it out. And then the angels wander around all sad, everything turns into lava and fire and then there is some song that speaks vaguely of a new hope. (Kind of a far cry from God's promise in Genesis 3, but maybe that's just me)

And then we are back in the present with the grandfather and his grandson. His grandson says some things that imply that he respects his grandfather's faith now. I don't know why, since "the presence" seems to create the world for no reason, then completely abandon it, while Lucifer runs around all willy-nilly seducing people in this show, but whatever. I've seen an interview where the writer for the show (Dr. Schuller's daughter) said she didn't want to endorse any one religion, and she pulls that off, but basically ends up with something that will likely offend just about anyone who has any kind of serious thoughts on Creation, evolutionist and creationist alike, or simply be entertaining fluff with no serious meaning for anyone who doesn't. I was tremendously disappointed by the outcome of the show, even if the first half was entertaining. Nonetheless, go see it. It's more fun than a lot of stage shows I've seen, but, as I said on my other blog, DO NOT SEE IT FOR THE THEOLOGY!
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