Alien vs Predator: Weddings, Ceremonies and Rites of Passages (Part 2)

Why do humans go places and touch things they aren’t supposed to touch?  That is a constant theme in a lot of these movies, especially Alien vs Predator (AVP).  Humans seem to have this undying curiosity which sometimes…well… leads to them dying.

There are several other observations I made while watching AVP which relates to this idea of the need for ceremony and rites of passages.

 1.  The humans who were exploring the underground pyramid removed three crucial items that were necessary to the successful completion of the rite of passage.

2.  When the young Predators would kill the Aliens, they used the dead Alien’s corrosive blood to make a permanent mark on themselves.

3.  The young Predator sought out help from the female heroine (the only human on the exploration team who thought it was a bad idea to go down there in the first place).

4.  At the end of the ritual, the mature Predators arrive to collect and honour those that survived this rite of passage.

An essential truth is that the road to maturity needs to be purposeful.  There are important tools that are necessary and should be a part of this journey.  Secondly, a young person is developing a sense of maturity when they realize that help is needed, and this could be an important element in a rite of passage.  The scarring or marking of the individual represents this idea that there should be something visible that marks the completion of the rite.   (I am NOT promoting the need for a tattoo!)   There should be something accomplished that proclaims, “I have done it!”  Finally, those that are mature recognize the changes and the steps that have been taken by those who have completed the rite.  Acknowledgement from those who have gone ahead is crucial for guiding the younger into maturity.

Yes, I know this was just a movie, and maybe even a film that most people haven’t even bothered to watch.  (How many times can one watch an alien bursting out of someones chest before it gets old?)   However, AVP highlights (in an odd and unexpected way) the things that we believe in and the programs available in the “Genesis Man” Men’s ministry.

Fathers (or Mentors) should plan a rite of passage for their boys.  For my son, I had him sleep in the tree house in our backyard one summer night. We talked about why he was doing it and discussed his apprehensions and bought all the gear he would require for a success adventure.  I then had him journal and reflect on his experience.

Passport to Puberty is an excellent program for pre-teen boys (there is a girl’s version as well) that address subjects of sex, peer pressure, and the challenges they will soon meet as teenagers.  I spent the weekend in my mother-in-laws unfinished basement doing this, and it was an experience we will both not forget.

Ceremonies are something we carry out for young men at some key junction of their lives.  It takes about an hour; it’s planned by a Mentor or Father, and is in an informal setting.  The candidate is issued a challenge they must present to a group of men and their peers.  They are given a “gift of significance” and are encouraged and exhorted by each person in attendance.  There is a general recognition of their maturity and expectation of their responsibilities.  We take the time to say, “You know what, you are a man.”

As I mentioned in Part 1 of the Blog, ceremonies are not just for weddings, and rites of passages are more important than we think.  As men and mentors it is our responsibility to get our boys and young men to manhood and maturity with their eyes open.

Please email me if you would like more details about any of these programs at menandmaleyouthalliance@gmail.com

One final word…avoid all underground alien pyramids under the Antarctica ice!

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Alien vs Predator: Weddings, Ceremonies, and Rites of Passages (Part 1)

Ceremonies are not just for weddings, and rites of passages are more important than we think.  You may be considering, “How can this Blog possibly connect those six words in the title?”

The movie Alien vs Predator is a blend of two particularly decent franchises –some of you may have wondered if they went on a little too long -but that’s beside the point.  Despite the violence and occasional profanity, this movie is really about the story of young men’s (well… young Predator’s -which were an alien race of warriors) Rites of Passages into maturity.

Generally speaking, I get really, really, really irritated in these types of movies when human curiosity out weighs good practical judgement – especially when stupidity rules the day.

Do you find yourself shouting at the television, “Don’t go down there!   Good heavens man!  It’s a sacrificial chamber!  Or… Cloning dinosaurs is just plain stupid!”  (Jurassic Park reference)

In the movie Alien vs Predator (AVP), there is a discovery of an ancient underground pyramid thousands of feet under Antarctica ice, and of course a group of humans decide to go down there and unwittingly find themselves trapped between a conflict with warrior Predators and dangerous Alien creatures.  (Spoiler alert: Many humans died during the filming of this movie…)

Guess what?  The Predators – a long time ago in a galaxy not so far away– used humans to incubate these terrifyingly savage Alien creatures who were to be the objects of their sport hunting.  No surprise, the Aliens got a little out of control.  October 10th, 2004 the pyramid is powered up, the humans are lured down there, three candidate Predators wait for the Aliens to reproduce to begin their hunt which is their initiation into maturity…

AVP puts me in mind that young men need some kind of intentional process into maturity.   Personally, I found the transition to manhood somewhat ambiguous.  I woke up one day and I had a wife, kids and a mortgage…  and I wondered to myself, “When did this all happen?  How did I get here?”   It’s like, as men, we get there with our eyes closed…

Now, this fictitious Predator race has some things to teach the human race – especially our Western culture that does not particular engage in rites of passages.  Let’s examine some things that were said, and done in the movie…

1.  Only the “chosen ones” would enter the temple, and the chosen ones went to die willingly and gave their lives so the hunt could begin.

2. They built an entire, elaborate, and incredible structure dedicated for this purpose of bringing their young to maturity.

3.  There was a great deal of documentation in the pyramid structures.  There were hieroglyphics that explained and highlighted the great story and process which would take place, and had taken place for thousand of years.

4. The Rite of Passage event was literally a life and death experience.

What am I getting at?  There was great value in this rite of passage, so much so that people died for it to happen. (Spoiler alert).   Predators could die while traversing this procedure.   Reaching maturity was therefore an extremely important  and integrated goal for their culture and society.

So how does this connect to the real world?

I have several more observations to make about the movie.  Then I’ll tell you what the Genesis Man Men’s Ministry promotes in terms of ceremonies and rites of passages.  (Don’t worry, no one ever dies.)