My first monster crush was on King Kong (and, yes, the word “first” does suggest that there were more). I loved King Kong so much that I was given a stuffed animal of him a short time after I first saw the movie. I don’t know if it was manufactured specifically as a King Kong, but that’s how it was presented to me, and I’ve loved it ever since. It was the first stuffed animal I remember owning and even had it still when my children were born. I passed him on to them, as well as my love for monsters.
King Kong was so misunderstood and mistreated. None of what happened was his fault—human fear made him a god, human curiosity made him a spectacle and human greed made him a danger. He would have been fine if everyone had left him alone in his jungle. When, as a very young child (3 or 4 years old), I saw the original, black and white movie on TV, I was really drawn to the character and affected by the injustice of what happened to him. I remember thinking that Jesus would have understood him because of what He went though, and I sort of saw Kong as a Jesus figure.
This is the kind of stuff I think about…monsters, superheroes, fairies, sci-fi…and I find God in all of it. In fact, I’m positive that I understand God and Catholic teaching a lot better for hanging out in those realms. They are, after all, a delightful, imaginative echo of the realities we face every day—and all of those realities only are because God made them. I’d like to say that it’s because at work I am surrounded by people whose minds are geared differently than mine that I’m alone in this, but my friends and family look at me with the same blank stares that my co-workers do when I talk about these things. When I use them as examples for my students—individuals of varying ages–from teens to people in their 80’s—I wind up struggling to find something they can relate to because these people have not even seen Star Wars. How does that happen? What kind of slackers are their parents?
Well, back to King Kong. Indulge the four year old me, if you will, in seeing him as a Christ figure. Kong was enormous. He was too big for people to understand—of course he did come from an island where lots of things were big—but when he got into our place, where we are so much smaller, we just couldn’t comprehend him. So, we feared him. All he wanted when he got to New York was to get back to where he belonged and to appreciate some beauty along the way (poor Fay Wray). So, we killed him. Now, Jesus is no big ape, he didn’t pose an actual danger like Kong did in the movie, but He represented something that was threatening to our way of life. Knowing Him meant we would have to change. It meant that we would have to accept that we didn’t have control over everything, that we didn’t know everything and that our way of relating to the world was now going to be different. He said and did things that made people uncomfortable and he was rejected. He longed to be back with the Father, and he appreciated and challenged us to see beauty in humanity that we consistently overlooked. He was too big for us, misunderstood and mistreated. And we killed him.
What fears stand in the way of your seeing God present in the overwhelming areas of your life? What prevents you from appreciating the beauty in it? How have you rejected Christ in the people that you have to deal with?