by guest reviewer Andrew Thompson
Does “the man upstairs” desire us to simply follow instructions, going about our days and routines, thinking “everything is awesome”? Or is he indeed a master-builder who has given us limitless creativity to create new and different narratives in life? The Lego Movie takes us into the stop-motion animated world of Lego and – brick by brick – pieces together a story that reveals there is more to life than just following rules and being awesome!
“Everything is Awesome.”
This is the life motto of Emmet: your average, run-of-the-mill mini-fig. He’s a rule-follower, simple minded, a go-with-the-flow construction worker. However, while “everything is awesome” might be “his jam”, he hasn’t found his thing: he isn’t special or unique in any way. Does this sound familiar? Is this the uncertain plight of many folks we know? We feel regular, plain, our days are routine they don’t feel special and we feel lacking. It’s readily apparent in our current “face-insta-tube” culture that the end goal of many is attention and special uniqueness; to go viral, to be known, to be someone’s “one and only”. We crave it and go to great lengths to find it. So what do we do? We get creative.
President Business is the story’s harbinger of order, commerce, and culture. He provides instructions for all mini-figs to follow and life seems good in Lego City under his rule. However, President Business is also on a quest for control, preventing change by unleashing the “Kra-Gle”. Change scares and confuses him, and he dislikes it enough that he wants to seal the fate of everyone for good.
By random chance Emmet falls into the opportunity to be “the special extraordinary master builder”. A prophecy tells him he is something more than his plain circumstances have dictated. It awakens him to be more than he thought he could. I don’t think it was a mistake that all the master builders were celebrities or superheroes (Emmet is admittedly out of his league: he’s no Batman). However, Emmet becomes the holder of a relic – the “Piece of Resistance” – and it’s the only thing that can foil President Business’ plan.
This opposition sets up the President as representing control and order, while Emmet is a driving force for creativity. There is a palpable tension here we can relate to in our lives; Are there rules/order to life? Instructions we need to follow orderly? Or is it better to be a free-spirited creative force? We know both types of people: regimented and disciplined folks who follow the letter of the law versus creative and artsy people who can’t remember where their pants are. Some would argue it’s a left-brained versus right-brained issue.
If we look to the stories in the Bible we see both types of people. The Pharisees were deeply regimented law-followers. They knew all of the instructions and followed them devoutly. On the other side we see creatives devising their own plans, building towers and idols, coming up with their own way of life… often in folly and sin:
“…tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.” – Ephesians 4:14
Emmet loved following the rules but comes to realize that being a creative is necessary and needed. In this way, his character becomes a Lego-sized Christ-like mini-fig. When Jesus entered the scene a few thousand years ago he called both the creative and orderly to repentance. The Bible tells us that we’re slaves to sinful natures and incapable of changing our heart condition. Sin has already “kragled” our hearts. Jesus came to be our “piece of resistance” to sin. He followed all of rules perfectly and never sinned, and during his life creatively multiplied fish and bread, mended bones, walked on water, raised the dead.
If we’re stuck following rules for the sake of order and to suppress the fear of change, we need Christ. Alternatively, as we see in the movie there is wisdom in following instructions and order. Emmet calls the creative master-builders to follow him and introduces some order for them to succeed.
In the greatest story, God is Lord of both order and creativity. He didn’t need Lego when He created our world out of nothing. His vast creativity gave us sunsets, epic vistas, physics, emotions, and the duck-billed platypus (thank God, or we wouldn’t have Perry from Phineas and Ferb!) But he went so much further in his creativity than we could imagine because, as science illuminates and explains, He also created order. The building blocks upon which we are created, electrons, protons, neutrons and the forces that hold them together all follow a strict order. Without said order all matter would dematerialize and all would cease to exist: we would be deconstructed.
“He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.”
– Hebrews 1:3
Therefore, we can observe, through his creation, both characteristics tell us more about who He is. We see a deeply embedded design and order in all things but also a creativity that such things exist in the first place. So finally, the question we ask is how do we find this balance between creativity and order within our own lives.
We are created in God’s image with the ability to create and build amazing things we are also given the responsibility to steward His creation and establish order. Each and every one of us possesses both characteristics to some degree. Through Christ we can utilize these gifts to bring glory to God. So whether you are more disciplined than creative or more creative than disciplined, this is the lesson that we learn in the end: Lego isn’t meant to be just an inter-locking brick system – it’s not just a toy – but rather a medium of creativity and order that reflects our good Father in heaven, who has come down to show us how to truly build a new and awesome kingdom.
Questions for discussion:
Are there rules and order in life? How are they established?
Do you gravitate more toward order or creativity?
Has someone tried to KRAGLE you?
Have you intentionally or unintentionally KRAGLED others?
How do you believe you can live – and thrive – in that perfect tension between creativity and order?