Star Wars Day

I just learned that today is Star Wars Day!

My earliest memories of Star Wars are kind of a blur. I was really young, probably younger than pre-school age, and my Mom was going to take me to the movie theater to see the latest Star Wars movie. I remember my aunt calling it The Empire Strikes Back. The funny thing is that what I remember seeing on the big screen was Princess Leah with two buns on the side of her head in a white outfit. That was on the first Star Wars movie, not the Empire Strikes Back. So either my memory is distorted, or the theater showed both movies back to back. I remember that we left early because I was bored, since I didn’t understand the plot.

My second Star Wars movie theater experience was when Return of the Jedi came out. I remember seeing Darth Vader! To me, he looked exactly like him, but I’m not sure if I’d have the same reaction if I saw his outfit today. My dad said Darth was carrying around a flashlight during the movie. Was that supposed to be his light-saber?

I collected the toys when I was a kid. My mom never got me the At-At I wanted, but she did get me the Emperor Palpatine toy long before he hit the stores. I got Emperor Palpatine in a gold box for being good. When I went to my first grade class, we had a substitute teacher, and she asked if any of us had something we wanted to share. I raised my hand. “I have the Emperor,” I said. She looked at me like she hadn’t the faintest idea what I was talking about! During recess, I was showing the other kids my Star Wars toys that were lined up in my Wookie-strap, and they were pretty enamored by the Emperor. It hadn’t hit the stores yet!

My family usually tied Star Wars to religion. The Force was God. Luke practicing with his light-saber blindfolded taught us that we walk by faith, not by sight. Yoda criticizing “this crude matter” meant that the “flesh profiteth nothing.” And the good people became powerful spirit beings after their death, which is what the Armstrong movement said we would become.

Actually, even Darth Vader ridiculing the Death Star and saying “I find your lack of faith disturbing” had some spiritual lesson to it! The Bible, after all, criticizes human pride and strength on a number of occasions.

And, even now, people derive lessons from Star Wars. I’ve often heard Yoda’s maxim of “Do or do not, there is no try.” In Alcoholics Anonymous, there are sponsors who say that to their sponsees!

Years later, when I paid attention to Obi-Wan’s description of the Force, I saw that Lucas had New Age beliefs (or something like that) in his movies. For Obi-Wan, the Force is not a personal being who created the heavens and the earth. Actually, it’s an energy that proceeds from nature, binding and penetrating us. Oh well. Some may decide not to watch the movies on that basis, but I still like them! For me, they teach lessons about God, life, faith, and spirituality.

Have a happy Star Wars Day!

About jamesbradfordpate

My name is James Pate. This blog is about my journey. I read books. I watch movies and TV shows. I go to church. I try to find meaning. And, when I can’t do that, I just talk about stuff that I find interesting. I have degrees in fields of religious studies. I have an M.Phil. in the History of Biblical Interpretation from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio. I also have an M.A. in Hebrew Bible from Jewish Theological Seminary, an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. from DePauw University.
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1 Response to Star Wars Day

  1. James Pate says:

    Actually, my mom informs me that she got me Palpatine right when he hit the stores. That was before most kids had him, though.


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