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Why is 'Star Wars' so Uniquely Popular?

Star Wars: The Force Awakens has sold more advance tickets than any movie in history, and it's not close. The seventh installment in the Star Wars franchise opens on December 18, but ticket sales began last Monday. Fandango reported that the film sold eight times more tickets than the previous first day record holder, The Hunger Games. AMC beat its previous single-day ticket sales record by a factor of ten. The movie generated $6.5 million in single-day advance sales; the previous record was $1 million.


Why is the latest Star Wars already so popular?


Writing for Forbes, movie critic Scott Mendelson credits the fact that George Lucas created the series specifically for film. Other movie franchises (James Bond, Batman, Iron Man, Harry Potter) started out as books or comic books. As a result, Star Wars struck an original chord in our culture, with plot, character, and special effects created to maximize the movie theater experience. For four decades, the franchise has been synonymous with film-making innovation and excellence.


Eric Metaxas spoke recently at Dallas Baptist University as part of the Institute for Global Engagement, a partnership between DBU and the Denison Forum. He made an impassioned plea for Christians to engage non-believers with grace. As he noted, people in a postmodern culture value love over logic. Non-Christians are made in the image of God and will be drawn to God when they see his love in ours.


But Eric coupled his call for grace with a plea for excellence. When I asked him what message he would have for DBU and other Christian schools, he was clear: Earn the right to be heard. Serve in love, but with a passion to be the best we can be for God.


His call echoes clear biblical principles.


We achieve cultural influence through excellence: "Daniel became distinguished above all the other high officials and satraps, because an excellent spirit was in him. And the king planned to set him over the whole kingdom" (Daniel 6:3). King Solomon asked, "Do you see a man skillful in his work? He will stand before kings; he will not stand before obscure men" (Proverbs 22:29).


Excellence begins in the mind: "If there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things" (Philippians 4:8). It extends to our values: "Approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ" (Philippians 1:10). It requires abstinence from all that is not excellent: "Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things; and give me life in your ways" (Psalm 119:37). Job could say, "I have made a covenant with my eyes" not to look on that which was ungodly (Job 31:1).


Excellence is a daily commitment. Oswald Chambers notes, "Walking on the water is easy to impulsive pluck, but walking on dry land as a disciple of Jesus Christ is a different thing. Peter walked on the water to go to Jesus, but he followed him afar off on the land."


As the Jewish people were to provide a sacrifice "without blemish" to God (Ezekiel 46:13), so are we. David prayed, "Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer" (Psalm 19:14). So should we.


Will you earn the right to be heard today?



Pulblication date: October 22, 2015


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