Get Re-Enchanted: Stranger Things 2, Pop Culture & God

i am
*so* psyched
for?Stranger Things 2

like, *psyched* psyched

i want more mystery,
more stylish 80s homage,
more dope soundtrack,
way more Eleven;
i want #justiceforbarb,
Eggos ate raw,
Winona Ryder everything,
coffee and contemplation

honestly, who can deny
that the whole
Stranger Things?thing –
like much of what
it lovingly calls back to –
is one of those
oh so pleasant
serendipitous revelations;
one of those things where,
now that it’s happened,
you can no longer imagine
the pop landscape
without it

(serendipity be damned),

why such a strong reaction
to?Stranger Things,
by so many,
“out of nowhere”

i thought
Alissa Wilkinson
(in a?Christianity Today
article called
“How ‘Stranger Things’
Re-Enchants the World”
was onto an answer:

In a modern world?where science can explain everything from depression to?deja vu?to the Aurora Borealis… even religious folk yearn for a re-enchanted world, one where fairies, or demons, or other intelligences exist just beyond what we can see.

What we’re after is joy?the serendipity of discovery, the thrill of mystery, the feeling of excitement lurking around the corner…

Our desire for magic doesn’t let up… art still seems best poised to capture that magic.?Stranger Things?is just the latest version of this yearning…

agreed for sure:
part of the draw,
the allure
of?Stranger Things,
is that it sort of
re-imbues the world
with a magic,
a mystery,
an enchantment;
Stranger Things
takes the “regular world”
and adds the “upside down” –
takes plain old “things”
and makes them “stranger”

so is that it?
Stranger Things
speaks to us so
cuz it’s a reminder that
“there’s more to things
than meets the eye”
and cuz the experience
of that is… fun?

no, that’s not (just) it

as Wilkinson notes,
the show?is
“the latest version
of this yearning
[for magic];”
Stranger Things is also
powerful precisely
because it participates
in this long line of
pop culture manifestations
of a specific
human yearning

what yearning,

a yearning not only for magic –
read: the supernatural –
but for a universe
*built* with and on magic;
a magical universe
that not only
brings “joy,”
but makes possible
an explanatory
and existential
that an un-strange,
naturalistic universe of
pure scientism
actually *cannot*

a yearning, in other words,
for?a universe of meaning

what meaning?

literally *any* meaning

for in an?un-strange,
naturalistic universe?of
pure scientism,
science is the only
game in town;
but though science excels
at explaining the “how”
of things,
it is exceedingly bad
at explaining the “why;”
in fact, science
does not,
speak the language of “why”
at all, and therefore
cannot lend meaning
in the sense we mean

you need things to be a bit…
for that kind of meaning;
you need a magic universe
of possibilities
for that kind of meaning;
for that kind of meaning,
you need
a universe with a God

once you have that,
magic and the
possibility of
knowing the
“why” of things
along with all
our dearest, deepest meanings –
good is better than evil,
love defeats hate,
sacrifice overcomes greed –
the narratives
we inescapably spin
to demonstrate
those meanings,
and the pop avatars
we create to animate
those narratives…
Stranger Things,
among them

(for some related
ideas about narratives,
see “What IT Means
(and How *Any* Good Story ‘Means’)”

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