Kong: Skull Island – Movie Discussion
Right before I saw Kong, a friend told me his testimony. He talked about some hard things that had happened in his life and how he thought, because of those things that had happened, that God hated him…and therefore, he hated God. He so hated God that he did things just to try to hurt God. He thought God wanted him to kill himself, so he refused to commit suicide, even though he wanted to, just because he didn’t want to give God the satisfaction (so that one actually worked out in his favor). Other rebellions didn’t, like, he literally “manufactured a porn addiction” (when so many fall into porn, he deliberately created his own addiction) just to make God mad. You get the idea. Craziness.
The thing is, he found out later that God was not his enemy; Satan was. God wasn’t against him. God was for him. God didn’t want him to die; Satan did. God wasn’t the cause of the suffering and pain of his childhood; Satan and sin were. He had gone out to pick a fight with God, and in the end, he’d only hurt himself.
THIS is the story of Kong.
When a bunch of military guys and scientists show up to “study” the island via bombing the island, they run into a battle with Kong. Kong was the “god” of the island. It was his place, a place he protected and guarded. He had to guard it because there was an enemy and the island was in a war between Kong and an evil monster. The humans didn’t know all of this, though. They weren’t aware of the real dangers, or that there was another monster who was the real enemy. They weren’t aware that their actions were causing danger for themselves, as well as for Kong and even the world (if those other monsters were let loose and not kept in check by Kong).
What they saw was that Kong “attacked” them. They totally missed the obvious that in reality, they attacked him and the island first with their bombs and explosions. Kong was simply trying to stop them from bombing the island, but they saw him as their enemy…and they fired on him and tried to kill him. They made an enemy of him. Even when he walked away and the fight ended, they continued to try to pick a fight with him. The worst offender of this, the man who drove the conflict, was the military leader of the group, Packard (Samuel L. Jackson). He really perfectly represented the hubris of man when he refuses to acknowledge God as King. “[I’m going to] show Kong that man is king.” He hated Kong’s power. He was afraid of and resented what he didn’t understand and couldn’t control. He blamed Kong for all his suffering and all the loss, refusing to see the truth. The truth that he picked the fight. That there was a real enemy and Kong wasn’t it.
Packard started firing at Kong before he even knew if Kong was against them. He assumed he had to be. He said something about how he knew an enemy when he saw one, and Kong was an enemy. He saw Kong as an enemy, not because Kong was against him, as we typically think of an enemy, but because Kong was a threat to his power and control.
While Packard was looking to fight god, there were a few other responses among the explorers. Another soldier, Cole, wisely recognized that, “Sometimes an enemy doesn’t exist till you go looking for one.” His response was just to leave well enough alone. Don’t mess with Kong and hope he doesn’t mess with you. A lot of people respond to God like Cole. They may not be angry with him or blame him for their suffering. They may not see him as a threat, may even recognize that He does some good in the world, but they have no desire to know Him, either. Maybe they don’t see God as good and loving, or they don’t see themselves as worthy… but for some reason they just want to fly under the radar. They have no interest in connecting with God.
Then you have Hank. He’d been on the island a long time and he knew a lot about Kong. He was able to tell the newbies all about him and all about the other monsters on the island. He had a lot of knowledge and even a lot of respect and admiration for Kong, but no relationship with him. The Bible and our churches…they are filled with this kind of person—people who know about God but aren’t really personal with him, people who are fans, supporters, admirers…but not actually friends.
There were two people, however, who went beyond this. Mason the photographer, and Conrad the mercenary/jungle guide—these two were different. They not only had a sense of humility before Kong, and a willingness to understand, but they also had a desire to know Kong. They were willing to be vulnerable with him and because of that, they had an intimate encounter with him. If anyone of us is to become friends with God, we, too, must be willing to be vulnerable with Him. It can be scary and even risky, but it’s also worth it.
It’s not that Kong was the greatest movie I’ve ever seen, but seeing it in the light of my friend’s testimony, recognizing in it the various ways in which we all respond to God—that made it so much better and more memorable for me. That was my favorite takeaway, but there are two other quick points I’d like to draw attention to.
As much as it can be about our relationship to God, Kong speaks to might is right mentality in general. It was even painful for me to watch and see how arrogant our American mentality can be (not that America is the only one with this mentality, I’m simply speaking of what I know and where I come from). These guys came in with all the answers. They came in to study, to fix, to impose themselves and their ideals in a place that they didn’t belong. They didn’t come humbly. They weren’t respectful or quiet or cautious. They blasted their way in, literally and figuratively. And then, when there was resistance, they saw it as a battle to fight. Sometimes conflict is a sign that there is a need for love and a need for connection and communication. Conflict doesn’t always mean that a battle is needed. Oh if we could learn to see conflict as a signal that love and communication were lacking rather than a call to arms!! But, when you’re a hammer, you see everything else as a nail…something to be pounded and put into place.
There was one more image that stuck with me in a powerful way. Kong and the other monster were fighting and Kong ended up tangled in an old ship’s chains and anchor. It held him captive and nearly was the death of him. However, what chained Kong and held him down, when loosed, became his weapon and his very salvation. Once he got free of those chains, he was able to swing them and the attached anchor at his enemy. That was when the battle turned and Kong got the upper hand. The same thing is often true for us. We resent these things that hold us down, but what we don’t see is that those very things, once we are free of them, become our greatest weapons, the tools of our victory against our enemy. This is the power of God, that He can take the things the enemy uses to harm us and use them for our good and the saving of many lives (Genesis 50:20; Romans 8:28).
Questions for Discussion:
- There were four main responses to Kong who was kind of a metaphor for god, (hater, avoider, fan, friend)—which of those would you use to describe your response to God?
- Have you ever blamed God for something bad happening to you? Why or why not?
- Have you ever falsely accused God of doing something when it was either you that was to blame, or sin and Satan (and/or his forces)?
- When there is conflict in your life, do you see it as a battle cry or a need for love and communication and connection?
- Have you ever been held down by something which, later on, became a weapon for you?