So, we were walking out of the castle gate when someone came towards us banging two halves of a coconut together. Can you guess why?
I didn’t find it strange at all and I have to confess that my first thought was ‘I wish that I had thought to bring coconuts to pose with for a picture’.
You see, we were visiting Doune Castle which is was one of the locations that were used in the filming of ‘Monty Python and the Holy Grail’. In the film, the actors use two halves of a coconut to mimic the sound of riding a horse. If you haven’t seen it and want to see this then you can watch this short video clip.
Historic Scotland manages the property and one of the clever things that they have done is created a Monty Python version of the audio tour. You listen to some information about the part of the castle that you are in and then you have the option of listening to something about the Holy Grail film that relates to that area. It is very funny (if you like that sort of thing anyway) and it is a very clever marketing move.
Doune castle was also used as a filming location for the fictional castle Leoch in the recent TV series ‘Outlander’. There was a display about this which described how the castle had been transformed (as you can see in this picture) for the filming. I thought that it was a shame that they had dismantled all of the set afterwards rather than leaving some of the huts up to give it a more historic feel.
One of the things that occurred to me after our visit was that for some people they were primarily visiting a TV filming location rather than a historic castle.
As a society it sometimes feels that we are more interested in entertainment than reality. Reality can feel dull, irrelevant, and upsetting but entertainment can be twisted to always be exciting. Outlander isn’t a documentary on Scottish history, it is a story of someone who travels back in time to 1743. Outlander gives us some historic insight, but its primary aim is to entertain and there is nothing wrong with this as long as we realize that we are not necessarily being given a 100% accurate view of history.
I really enjoyed the film Argo which tells the story of the rescue of American diplomats from Iran. After enjoying the film, I watched some of the extra features on the DVD which included interviews with some of the people who had been rescued. As one of them described what had happened as the plane sat on the runway in Iran, I was shocked about how different the reality was with what I had just seen in the film. The film was supposed to be telling the story of what happened but it was in fact telling a distorted version of the events. (Bizarrely, what really happened sounded a more dramatic story than what had been rewritten in the film).
Are we more interested in entertainment than reality?
You may love entertainment but you also have to live in reality.
It’s possible that some of us are disappointed with life because it doesn’t look like what we see on TV or in magazines. If this is true, we are dooming ourselves to misery as we set ourselves up for a lifestyle that isn’t real and that is perhaps impossible to obtain rather than seeking contentment in the reality of life.
One of the things that puzzles me in life is why more people don’t follow Jesus. You see, Jesus is God who became human, he healed people, did good things and taught people about real life and how to know and follow God. Following Jesus leads to a more fulfilled life and I sometimes struggle to understand why people can’t see that, but then I remember how driven we are by the world of entertainment.
You see, Jesus deals in reality, not entertainment. The god we might imagine based on the world of entertainment might be more like the Genie from Aladdin, he turns up and says ‘your wish is my command’. Jesus doesn’t relate to us primarily as a personal servant, he did and does serve people, but he also wants to lead us to a better place and that involves hearing and responding to uncomfortable truths.
On one occasion when Jesus was on the earth the crowd around him found what he was saying too challenging and they left. Jesus asked his disciples if they were leaving as well and Peter responded ‘where else can we go, you have the words of eternal life’ (John 6.68).
In some ways, you could say that Peter was saying ‘I’m looking for reality and although reality is uncomfortable and sometimes hard to understand, I’m sticking with it’.
You see, it’s easy to let go of reality to escape into the world of entertainment and there is nothing wrong with this unless we start to believe that we can live in the world portrayed in entertainment.
Following Jesus involves living a real life in the real world. It is a real adventure. Will you follow him wholeheartedly or do we want to escape and hide from the reality of life?
You can learn more about following Jesus in ‘Jesus said something but I couldn’t remember what’.