Saturday, September 8, 2012

#48: Power Pedigree

Bolt, 2008
watched August 26, 2012

Okay, even though this movie may never become a classic, Bolt definitely makes the list of top 10 cutest Disney animals. Right up there with Dumbo and Baby Simba. I think it has something to do with the head to body ratio. And you thought Disney's human characters were disproportionate.

Bolt is a dog who has been led to believe he has super powers, allowing him to give a genuine performance as the star of a hit television show alongside his "person," a teenaged girl named Penny. Trouble is, when he's not on set, he remains locked in his trailer, never able to experience real life.

The cute canine never thinks twice about this way of life, that is, until he accidentally gets shipped to New York. Suddenly Bolt is thrust into an environment where he is most definitely not super. Slow to realize this, attempts to jump onto a moving train and other such feats leave him physically and emotionally bent out of shape. He's so overwrought that he believes the Styrofoam packing peanuts have some kind of weakening effect on him.

Clearly this dog needs a dose of reality.

Fortunately, Bolt befriends Mittens, an alley cat who unwillingly gets brought along for the trek back to Hollywood. Over time Mittens shows him what real life is like. She teaches him how to use puppy dog eyes to beg for food, how to stick his head out of car windows, and the joy of running through the sprinklers. For the first time, he feels truly alive, and truly himself.

Sometimes when we get too comfortable, we begin to think we're invincible. After all, with God on our side, what can happen to us? While belonging to God does give us access to great power, it's also true that we are not the source of that power. We are not superhuman; we're susceptible to pain, difficulty, and failure. Refusal to admit this, like Bolt, makes us not only frustrated but also completely deluded. Bolt's delusions seem inconsequential and even amusing within the comfort of his Hollywood home. But out in the world, his inability to grasp reality makes him a danger to himself and others.

Without a proper view of our own fragility, pride and spiritual delusion seep into our hearts, leading to sin and destruction. Not only that, but we're prevented from living the way we were meant to live. We can never be completely ourselves when we don't understand that we're prone to sin.

Once Bolt sees himself as a normal dog, he understands his relationship to Penny, his "person," more fully, knowing he is forever bound to her. This gives him a sense of belonging and direction beyond his television role. As we understand who we are, we see that we are not only fragile and weak, but also deeply connected to our Person, through whom we have power and purpose.

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