“We’ve been coming to the same party for 12 years and in no way is that depressing.” – Ron Burgundy “Anchorman: the Legend of Ron Burgundy”
That kind of sums up how Anchorman 2 feels – more of the same, and that’s not depressing.
The movie has enough familiarity and even call backs to previous jokes but it also has fresh humor and characters that fit perfectly into Burgundy’s world. Kristen Wiig is an incredible match to Steve Carrell’s Brick Tamblin character. The movie is also packed with cameos that all seem to work without feeling too gratuitous.
What surprised me about the movie was its satire. It takes open and direct shots at a couple of different topics.
MINOR PLOT SPOILERS AHEAD
The first thing that Anchorman 2 went after was racism. It satires just how ridiculous those who are racist actually are. Since most of it is done through jokes, it may be easy to lose that they are making fun of the narrow minded racists of the world.
But the larger topic that was attacked was news itself.
In a short speech given in the film, Ron notes that the news once was about arming the public with information about those who had power so that they could be informed and protected. Now it is about creating buzz over nothing, manufacturing fear, and those who have power using news outlets to manipulate those who watch.
That manipulation of viewers and the message that is received got me thinking…
People often look at church leaders the same way they look at these news outlets – with distrust and skepticism that truth is being withheld for the purpose of controlling.
Obviously, that has sometimes been the case. Whether it was the medieval church manipulating the poor to modern pastors who have used their influence to gain personal wealth.
That is not the purpose of the news or the church.
We’ve already touched on what the news is for – to inform and protect. Not to manipulate but to educate and liberate.
But the news itself is neutral. It is true facts. How those facts are shared is where either freedom or oppression can be found.
Where the church is different is on our understanding of truth. We believe the Word of God is true and is not neutral. The Word of God is good. Alive. Positive. Hopeful. Transforming. Redeeming. Restoring.
Jesus himself said this of truth: “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” – Luke 8.31,32.
The truth that Jesus says we can know is Jesus himself. In John 14.6 “I am the way, the truth, and the life.”
Jesus himself is the truth. He is for you. He is not neutral.
And shame on those of us who have used him to manipulate others into a certain behavior.
I don’t want any readers to think this is a cry that all churches are crooked and manipulative – I’d say those churches are the exception. Instead, let it be a warning to some and an encouragement to others.
Those who manipulate the truth or the Gospel (which literally means “Good News”) will have to answer for their manipulation.
To those who are looking for news about truth, know that it is out there. Jesus is the truth and when you know him, it will set you free.