Indiana Jones and Our Adventurous Walk with God Guest Chapter from Joe Queen.
Joe Queen is a husband, father of two teenagers and an investigative probation officer by day and costume/prop builder by night. He is the President and co-founder of the Geeky Guys and Gals 4 God (GG4G), a connection ministry turned non-profit organization. The GG4G’s primary mission is to spread the love of God in the community through pop culture and fandom. The GG4G has an annual presence at the San Diego Comic Con. They also host a monthly Bible study from the Faith and Fandom chapters, volunteer at the Ronald McDonald House and attend opening weekends of blockbuster movies at their local cinema complex.
I was nine years old when I met Dr. Henry “Indiana” Jones Jr. for the first time. It was at the Viking Twin Theater in Bellingham Washington with my pal Andy, and our moms. Back then, there were no mega theaters and the Viking had not one, but two movies showing which was a big deal. That day, we had no idea what we were getting ourselves into, but it had Harrison Ford starring and we convinced our moms to go. The line was wrapped around the theater much like an opening weekend for Star Wars.
The opening scene sets the stage for an epic adventure as Indiana Jones is seeking the Fertility Idol. Indy makes his way through the caverns with his guide Satipo and encounters many obstacles, including deception from his guide and the giant BALL. He narrowly escapes with the Idol in hand before he meets up with his rival Belloq who recruited a local tribe to help him. They take the Idol from Indy who flees aboard a C-Plane where he meets Reggie the python and we learn about his fear of snakes.
I think we can all learn a little about our walk with God from Raiders of the Lost Ark and the man with the epic hat, whip, and theme song. Much like Indy, we need to be prepared as there will be unexpected obstacles. We need to be bold at times, rely on others, and face our snakes (fears) to step out of our comfort zone for the glory of Him.
At the beginning of Raiders, you can tell it’s not Indy’s first adventure as he is prepared like the Boy Scout, he was many years before. He has his whip, satchel, a bag of sand, and a makeshift torch (which ends up serving multiple functions). All serve a purpose in his quest for the Idol. In our faith journey, we as Christians need to be prepared as well. Of course, we need our Bible which provides guidance and includes countless encouraging verses. Ephesians 6 is my favorite of these verses, and some of which are highlighted as follows:
“Put on the full armor of God so that you can fight against the devil’s evil tricks.” - Ephesians 6:11
“Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm.” - Ephesians 6:13
“Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” - Ephesians 6:17
What else do you have in your Christian utility belt other than your Bible? (Take a moment to ponder this).
We soon learn that Indy, also a professor, could have played it safe, taught at the university, and achieved academic success in archeology from the safety of his classroom. For all intents and purposes, he could have marked off all the boxes of a successful career.
Many of us as Christians play it safe in this regard. We mark off the weekly “Christian checklist” (went to church, check; said my prayers, check; went to Bible study, check). Don’t get me wrong, these are all awesome things. However, I believe we are called to push ourselves to be BOLDER and go beyond the traditional checklist. Be more like Paul, David, Joseph and Jesus.
“So if the old way, which has been replaced, was glorious, how much more glorious is the new, which remains forever! Since this new way gives us such confidence, we can be very bold. Because of Christ and our faith in him, we can now come boldly and confidently into God’s presence.” - 2 Corinthians 3:11-12
When the ministry I lead, the Geeky Guys and Gals 4 GOD, started in 2012, I felt being called to be bold and we started out wearing Texas orange t-shirts with neon green lettering. We wore them at church, comic cons, and movie events. When we were in church, we would get looks from other parishioners, and at comic con/movie theaters, we would get similar looks from others, both for different reasons. Being a geek and a Christian is a tough concept for many to wrap their heads around. However, chances are if you are reading this book, you fall under this umbrella. Take comfort.
“I’ve commanded you, haven’t I? “Be strong and courageous. Don’t be fearful or discouraged, because the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” - Joshua 1:9
Being a light for Jesus in this world is important in the pop-culture community where there is a limited presence. With the success of television shows like Big Bang Theory and Arrow, and epic Star Wars and MCU movies, it is more culturally accepted for people to be fans of superheroes and science fiction. This provides opportunities to be bold and share our faith when given the opportunity. I’m not saying you must go to your local fan club meeting or comic con and start speaking the Gospel. However, this world needs more of us to be kind to others and show the love of Jesus. This can mean a casual conversation and or offering a kind word while standing in line for a panel or praying with the parent of a child in full Stormtrooper armor at the Ronald McDonald house. God will present the opportunities we just need to be ready when he opens the door.
After his defeat at the hands of Belloq, Indy goes back to the university and reconnects with his old friend Marcus Brody. He is then recruited to find the Ark of the Covenant for the U.S. government. While seeking the Ark, Indy gets help and support from Marion, Sallah, some young children and even a group of pirates. (Side note: Steven Spielberg and George Lucas do an amazing job of capturing the likeness of the Ark as described in Exodus 25:10-22).
One of the greatest things that we can do for our friends is to support them in their faith journey and they support us. How we do this will differ depending on their weaknesses, our strengths and vice versa. The Bible outlines some guidance and encouragement through these verses:
“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor. If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.” - Ecclesiastes 4:9-10
“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” - Proverbs 27:17
“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” - 1 Thessalonians 5:11
In the end, Indy faced his greatest fear, a whole pit of snakes, and escaped. Then with the help of his friends, he acquires the Ark. What is the greatest fear in your Christian adventure? Does it stop you from taking that next step? For me, I still find myself hesitant to speak at times about my faith or about the ministry I lead. I’m afraid what people might think of me.
At the end of Raiders, Indiana Jones’ adventure was a success. However, our archaeologist hero is displeased with the ultimate outcome when he turns over the Ark to the government. He felt they did not understand the power of the Ark and believed that Brody’s museum would/should get it in the end. In the final scene, we learn that the government puts the Ark in a crate and stores it in a secured government facility along other items of similar importance. Although, Indy did not get result he wanted in this adventure, he was able to keep the Ark out of the wrong hands and reconnect with Marion. Both positive outcomes and let’s face it, the Ark being hidden is probably a better outcome then being on display at a museum where other bad guys could try and get their hands on it again.
I think this is so relatable in our faith journey and day to day life. We seek out an adventure/goal and accomplish what we set out to do. However, the outcome was not what we expected. Approximately 13 years ago, my family moved to San Diego, California, after living in Washington State our whole lives. The plan was to work in San Diego for about three years and move back. Well that never happened and since that time, my family was plugged into our church’s AWANA program for ten years and made life-long Christian friends. While serving in the AWANA program, I was inspired to begin the Geeky Guys and Gals 4 God. After eight years, this ministry has become a non-profit organization. None of this was in my family’s plan when we moved to San Diego. However, this was God’s plan for us.
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” - Proverbs 3:5
To close out this chapter, I’d like you to please close your eyes and take a moment to think about a goal/adventure you had that did not entirely turn out the way you wanted. However, something unexpectedly amazing or cool happened as a result. Was this in your walk with Christ, or while making a career or educational choice? I challenge you to share this with a friend, family member, or your Bible study group.