“You have to watch this show. You’ll love it. It’s Western and sci-fi!”
And all I could think was, “Western and science fiction go together like oil and water.”
Was I ever wrong.
In Firefly, western and science fiction flow together more like water and food coloring. Without one, the other just…is. But then I learned about the characters: a professional prostitute, a man who’ll sell his friends out for money, a captain who regularly dodges the law to make some money and thumb his nose at the government, and a doctor who looks after his deranged, sometimes murderous sister.
Are you freaking kidding me? I’m a Christian! I’m not supposed to align myself with this sort of thing!
But I watched. And watched. And learned. These people, like any other memorable characters, weren’t just about their jobs. There was so much more to them.
Mal, the captain, who’ll take any job if it means money, but will never sacrifice lives if he can help it. His fierce loyalty made me catch my breath more than once.
Inara, the Companion. A woman who knows her own mind, but is terrified to admit she loves someone aboard the ship. Her strength helps the entire crew deal with crises, sometimes as a hands-on assistant, sometimes as a distraction.
Jayne…the man they call Jayne (sorry, got lost in the song for a minute)…the mercenary-turned-faithful-friend. So much like any of us. Didn’t we all start as enemies? Enemies of each other with our inbred prejudices? More than that, enemies of God?
Throughout the show and even into Serenity, Jayne is a source of hilarity and tension. He’s not all that bright, but he knows who he is and makes no bones about it. Most of the crew tolerate him at best. But when Mal sees Jayne overstepping his boundaries, he’s not afraid to put the mercenary in his place. And we can see that Jayne grudgingly respects that, since he listens to Mal.
Aren’t we much like Jayne? We try to run our own lives, live on our terms. The rest of the world be damned if they don’t like it.
But then God steps in. And he shows us what we are–imperfect, arrogant, and downright stupid. He shows us the threat of death (although the threat God shows us is eternal, not an imploding trip into space with no suit). He warns us, “You turn on any of my crew, you turn on Me!” And what are we left to do? Apologize? Beg forgiveness?
It worked for Jayne. His life was spared.
But our salvation wasn’t so easy. God had to give up His Son to buy us back. And when He redeemed us, we became His. Now He protects us, loves us more fiercely than Mal ever protected or loved his crew, his family.
And for those of you that watch the show, you know how unwavering, how intense that love is.