Friday, November 5, 2010

Buzz and Woody Saved by an 'Alien Righteousness'

Spoiler Alert! Watching Toy Story 3 for the second time now with my son has given me some pause. In particular, I've been thinking of the sequence where all of the toys are in the incinerator and they're drifting downward in the garbage towards the burning furnace. Realizing their impending doom, the toys stop fighting, because they know that the flow of garbage is too fast and too difficult to escape from. They are trapped, and they are doomed.

Let me just pause to say that watching that scene puts a lump in my throat because I cannot watch this scene and not think of the condition of a lost person - myself included - apart from God's grace. Are not all human beings in this helpless position, ultimately unable to do anything to save themselves from the coming wrath?

So the toys are drifting towards the furnace, about to be burned to smithereens, and Woody bows his head in prayerful repose. Only moments later, after Woody has accepted the reality of his position, does a light shine down upon them from above, and their rescue arrives. The scoop - operated by none other than the Pizza Planet aliens - comes to their rescue, scooping all of them up and delivering them to safety.

I just love the picture because the rescue comes ultimately when the toys are completely helpless. The rescue is not synergistic. There is no 'cooperation' on the part of the rescued. Instead, the scoop drops and rescues the toys, garbage and all, to the glory of the aliens who save them. The toys were rescued by an 'alien righteousness,' if we might call it that.

Why yes, I do think that's funny.


  1. I'm inspired to hear of (or witness) grown men getting choked-up during sweet or truth-filled animated scenes! Great and glorious "alien righteousness" salvation!!

  2. Ukay. It is rare that Mike gets to sit in front of the screen and read. Tonight we sat together to read these last two posts and Mike "cracked up"! Mike says, "Why yes, I do think that's funny, too, but interesting how the Spirit works. Even through- gasp- Disney!

  3. Adam, this is a great observation.

    As I thought more about it though, the righteousness in the movie is not an imputed credit of righteousness (à la Luther) but rather a saving action done by the alien (à la Ernst Käsemann). So unfortunately it doesn't really illustrate what the Reformers meant by an alien righteousness that comes from outside us (extra nos).

    But I quibble. I love the illustration! And the movie!


Before posting please read our Comment Policy here.

Think hard about this: the world is watching!