ROGUE ONE: I Can Do All Things | FCC 134

Among the many Christian themes in ROGUE ONE, we focus on Chirrut Imwe’s mantra “I am with the Force, and the Force is with me” and how it compares to Phillippians 4:13 which says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Join us as we discuss this and so much more on this episode of the Finding Christ in Cinema podcast.

For your convenience you will find each podcast segment at the time referenced below:

  • 00:00:00 – Introduction and Previous Episode Recap
  • 00:04:45 – Movie Discussion
  • 00:31:38 – Christian Themes in ROGUE ONE: A Star Wars Story
  • 00:54:42 – Listener Feedback
  • 00:56:09 – Upcoming

Rogue One and Phillippians 4:13

The story of Rogue One is replete with Christian analogs. Galen Erso takes on the darkness of the Empire in order for his daughter Jyn to destroy it from the inside out. This mirrors how Jesus left his glorious home to be born into this decaying world and destroy sin from the inside out.

While this may be the biggest Christian theme, Michael and I want to focus on another one. But first, open your Bibles to Phillippians 4:13. From the New King James Version:

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Everyone knows this verse. We see it on t-shirts, coffee mugs, and bumper stickers. We hear it at basketball games, football games, and graduations. We may even pray it for career and/or collegiate interviews as well as any other huge transition in life.

This verse may even be in contention with another verse for the most used verse in American Christianity, but such is a conversation for another time.

Nothing is wrong with being encouraged by this passage. Just as with all of Scripture, it can be “useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.”

We run the risk of cheapening God’s word, however, when we cut it from its original context and paste it wherever we so wish. As I (Brenden) grow in my own relationship with God, I see this sin in myself quite often, and I have a hunch I’m not the only one.

But onto Star Wars!

I Am One With the Force and the Force is With Me

From the first time we meet him, Chirrut Imwe seems little more than a blind curbside preacher. That simple assessment changes once he and his friend Baze Malbus defeat two stormtrooper squads.

As Chirrut fights, however, he keeps muttering the phrase “I am with the Force, and the Force is with me” over and over again. Baze thinks he’s crazy, but Chirrut is far from it.

This image from ROGUE ONE shows Donnie Yen as Chirrut Imwe.

As time goes on, though, we see how deeply connected Chirrut is to the Force. Chirrut doesn’t just mumble this mantra as he stomps the helmeted heads of the Empire’s defensive line. In those situations, he knows that he will win because of his fighting ability (a blessing of the Force, he would tell you, but still his own fighting ability).

But even when imprisoned, he is less of himself and more of the Force. Even when he doesn’t know the outcome of his present distress, he breathes this mantra. Even when his path leads to death, he summons his strength from this tap into the Force. Not many basketball games and bumper stickers can do that.

What’s most beautiful is that Chirrut’s faith in the Force is eventually passed on to Baze. The latter used to be one of the most adamant devotees the Kyber Temple until he lost his faith along the way.

But because of his love for Chirrut, he was able to find it again and use it to fend off a barrage of enemies. This was, of course, in line with Chirrut’s example in that it cost Baze his life as well. I doubt a coffee cup or a job interview is that important.

This image from ROGUE ONE shows Wen Jiang as Baze Malbus.

So what can we as Christians glean from the example set by these two? And how can we instruct others to do the same? It starts with recognizing the true power of Paul’s words, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

Paul wasn’t speaking of personal accomplishments when he wrote this letter. I don’t need to recount Paul’s suffering for the advancement of God’s kingdom. He does that well enough on his own.

To summarize his point, Paul doesn’t want the Phillippians to fixate on only thanking God for the good times. He wants them to learn from his example and stick with God even in the bad times – times when suffering is on the horizon, safety is not promised, and survival is not guaranteed.

For this episode of Finding Christ In Cinema, our focus isn’t Phillippians 4:13 but just a few verses before in verse 9:

The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.

It’s having the peace of God in all situations – life and death – that matters, not that motivational poster.

Finding Christ In Cinema is the show where we discover Christian themes in movies past and present. Join us and together we’ll dig deeper into the silver-screen classics of yesteryear as well as the box-office hits of today. Brought to you by the Great Commission Transmission Network. View the complete show notes – including links to articles discussed – by clicking here.

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About Brenden Taylor

Brenden is an educational assistant and tutor by day and a theatre practitioner by night. He has his M.A. in Theatre Arts and is always looking for a way to use good stories to soften people's hearts.
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  • Philip Heard

    Well guys, I’m afraid I’m going to push back on the Rogue One episode. Not the film itself, which I enjoyed a great deal, but regarding Philippians 4:13. I think when people use verses like this one, as well as Jeremiah 29:11, they sometimes get a bad rap. When dealing with scripture, I think it’s important to consider who wrote it, who they wrote it to, and to have consideration for the cultural context in which it was written. However, just because a verse was not written directly to us in the 21st century, I don’t think it lacks application to our lives. I think Philippians 4:13, Jeremiah 29:11, and The Great Commission itself have wide ranging applicability beyond their immediate context, and that we would be short changing our own walk with Christ not to see it so. Nor do I think we should assume that people referencing these verses do not have a deeper understanding of their context, and even if they do, should not be derided for it. Rupertus Meldenius gave us the wonderful quote “In Essentials Unity, In Non-Essentials Liberty, In All Things Charity”, and I think it’s an issue of liberty when people put a verse on a coffee mug, take a knee after a touchdown, or put it on a meme. And personally, with the ‘pull yourself up by the boot straps’ mentality that is so popular, I rather like when people attribute the source of their strength to God, regardless of how large or small that task or trial was.

    Now to quote another deep thinking theologian- “that’s all I have to say about that”.

    Love the show guys! #muhweeladgimli

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