The Gospel According to Macklemore: Life Is Cinema

Do you ever get that feeling that you’re living in the scene of a movie? Sometimes the moment’s just right, things are going just as you’d hoped, and you envision third person camera angles watching you execute perfect choreography. Don’t forget the soundtrack (Confession: I find myself scoring the film of my life quite often).

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I think the way we live is influenced by how we want other people to perceive us. We want to appeal to our audience. We want to be entertaining. Funny. Sexy. Heroic. So the things that we do or say or pursue are called into question for the greater cause of “living our movie.” Would the protagonist do things that way? How would she respond? What witty comeback will win the argument and simultaneously reconcile the lovers back into flawless romance? (Insert obligatory morning routine montage here.)

Life vs. Film

Good film will make us see life with eyes for the dramatic, for the common threads, for the beauty of things. Good film can also remind us that life is messy, conflict doesn’t always resolve, and humans experience deep pain and woundedness.

Often, life doesn’t happen like in the movies. It rarely does. Routine seems anti-climactic. Consistency doesn’t sparkle. We get older and more disillusioned. Tasks trump vision. But these don’t negate the opportunity to fashion life after the qualities of a good story.

Live A Better Story

People are meant to live a better story. That’s why film is so compelling to us. That’s why when Grandpa John sits at the kitchen table and tells us about the time he found a vacuum cleaner in the middle of the highway, we listen intently. Don Miller says, “A story involves a person that wants something and is willing to overcome conflict to get it.” I think sometimes people don’t face real conflict purposefully, so they have a hard time seeing their life as a good story. It’s easier to live vicariously only through films, through the stories of others.

But God calls us each to play a role in the narrative of history, a story that is really about Him, the Author of all things. Jesus is the hero our story follows. We have the joy of joining in this metanarrative, using our life stories to weave into the beautiful tapestry of God’s kingdom story of meaning and purpose.

photo credit: Ryan Lewis Productions

Ever the modern hip hop prophet, Macklemore beckons listeners to step up, face conflict, live a better story in “Life Is Cinema“:

The page is a set of eyelids
The booth is an instrument that God created
To record us tryin’ to find him
But don’t let the word throw you off
Religion and spirit are two different pilots
Just know that it’s bigger than me and my ego
When I’m flyin’
Take me higher
I’ve got somethin’ to pray for
Please leave me when I’m guided
Who said that life is cinema?
This is epic, be present

Humble me, give me a conflict, a hardship
Let me break through this cement
They’re gonna be so disappointed when they roll the credits in
I realized that my movie sucked
And I was the only one that could edit it
Well the course, the chain of events
That would be the evidence, some say it’s coincidence
I say I found something greater than myself and started accepting it
And I can see, feel, taste and smell again
And I’m the only one with the hammer to break this shell I’m in
It’s gonna take me crackin’ this mirror to finally be myself again
Met my potential a long time ago
And I’m not stopping ’til I resemble him

Shadows of Truth

  • Macklemore reminds us of the spiritual nature of the creative process. Creativity is a way to tap into God’s heart as Creator, which may be why Mac seeks the divine through music. “The booth is an instrument that God created to record us tryin’ to find him.”
  • It’s noble to draw the connection between actions born of morality and the spiritual. However, the difference we often neglect to flesh out, is that religious do-gooding is vacant if heralded as the core. The Gospel story of Jesus rescuing people is to be the driving core of our good deeds. “Religion and spirit are two different pilots.”
  • One of the biggest action points for living a better story is simply to be present. Physical presence is one of the most vital facets of a relationship. Mental presence is required for those who wish to make the most of every moment, every day. Mac is wise to train his vision to see that, “This is epic, be present.”
  • Macklemore isn’t afraid of conflict; rather, he’s experienced joys and struggles alike and recognizes that they’re equally valuable for building himself as a person. Forward motion inevitably incites conflict, but it makes the conflict all the more meaningful. “Humble me, give me a conflict, a hardship, let me break through this cement.”
  • Under the final authority of God, we are each enabled with the power of choice. Of course, there are things we cannot control, but many issues lie in our hands. Only you can make certain choices for yourself. No one else can live in your stead. You must decide what you really want and what conflict you are willing to overcome. “I realized that my movie sucked and I was the only one that could edit it.”
  • Mac holds a vision of the man he wants to become, and orients his efforts around it. To become, we must dream. “Met my potential a long time ago and I’m not stopping ’til I resemble him.”

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Does film influence the way you see life? What is your life story about? How are you trying to live a better story?

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Read more on The Gospel According to Macklemore:

Wings.
White Privilege.
The Town.
Church.
Life Is Cinema.
Otherside
Make The Money.


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