By Anthony Casperson
When people have been anticipating something for a long time, they often attempt to fill in the blanks. Just search YouTube for theories about what was going to happen during the recently-finished Wandavision. It started looking more like conspiracy theories than fan theories.
A much longer case of fan theories (and one that I can refer to without fear of reaching massive spoilers) ran between the release of Return of the Jedi and the Prequel Trilogy. How did Anakin fall to the Dark Side? What were the Clone Wars all about?
People questioned these things. Hints were given. And even some of the official Star Wars books (pre-Disney-fication) touched on the time in question. But, most of the answers given were from the minds of fans who wanted an answer. Even if it wasn’t the best and real one. Or even plausible based off of the information given in the original trilogy.
But why do people do this? Why spend the time coming up with fictitious stories? Even more so, when you know that patience will eventually reveal an answer.
In part, it shows a person’s excitement about the eventual arrival of answers. Some might just want bragging rights when their theories prove to be close to the real thing. (Though this is a rarity, in truth.) And a few might just want to flex their own story-telling prowess.
But one thing I noticed about the recent fan theories of Wandavision made me wonder. There were a lot of angry individuals when their favored theory proved to be incorrect.
This one person (or, one of three people really), who was thought to be the true behind-the-scenes master, ended up never even being considered as the main villain by those making the show. And then all the tantrums started. And claims of the showrunners being stupid for not going the direction of all of the fan theories got thrown around. Instead of just enjoying the show for what it was.
And don’t even ask about the bees.
Why are people angry when the real and true answer comes? It’s because they thought they had everything under control. It fit their narrative so well. Therefore it had to be their way. Everything else thus becomes stupid and unworthy. And if you dare to disagree with the fan theorists watch out for the backlash.
We want to be the final stop on the way to understanding, instead of living in the true answer.
It’s fitting that I write about this anger from incorrect theorists for a blog on the day before Palm Sunday. That day about 2000 years ago that we’ll celebrate tomorrow was filled with fan theories.
There were a bunch of people in Jerusalem who were waiting for the answer of the Messiah to come. And many fans of Jesus in particular.
They were all waiting for the Messiah, or at least a Messiah. What they envisioned was a conquering king. Someone who would tear down the Roman Empire’s hold on the land of Israel. One who would take David’s throne by force. And then, they would have the lives that they’d dreamt of their whole lives. It would be amazing.
Or so they thought.
When these Israelites saw Jesus riding through the gate on a colt of a donkey, their memories of the Messianic promises came to the fore. And they laid down palm leaves and their coats to proclaim the invading ride of their soon-to-be king.
In he rode. Shouts of hosanna (meaning “save us”) rang. It was really happening. And they were ready for the rest of their incorrect fan theories to come to pass.
But they didn’t. Jesus rode in, looked around, and left again. As a matter of fact, not only did he not fight the Romans on that day, but the whole rest of the week, Jesus only taught.
Their fan theories about Jesus were proven false. And they got angry. Angry enough to call for his crucifixion one week after they shouted for him to save them.
While the story of the crucifixion and resurrection will be the subject of next week’s blog, the anger of these people who’d just praised Jesus’ arrival a week previous makes me wonder about us.
Have we had theories about how God was going to work in our lives? Thoughts about how life would go? The job we’d have? The family we’d start? The place we’d live? The things we’d do in his name? Theories that have revealed themselves more and more to be incorrect?
What is our response? Is it to get angry? Blame God for not following our preferred direction? Think about quitting this whole Jesus thing?
Or is our response to bow before the author of this living story, knowing that his chosen direction of life is for the betterment of his glory, our growth in him, and the lives of others?
Those ancient Israelites were angry that the Messiah didn’t come to give them a momentary freedom, when what Jesus really offered was an eternal salvation. Something far better.
We are not the final arbiters of truth. God is. So, let’s go along with his much better answer even when it disproves our favored fan theory.