Twilight: Sucking the Blood out of Sin

A Review of the Twilight franchise by Stephenie Meyer

By JENNILEE MILLER

I think the term typically used to describe someone like me is “Twi-Mom.” Yes: I am a mom who loves the Twilight franchise. Of course, I think the term originally referred to a mom who picked up her daughter’s glossy paperbacks with the shiny red apple on the cover and somehow got hooked on the impossible love story of Bella and Edward. I got hooked before I had kids, but as the final installment of the movie approached, I found myself begging my husband to take the kids so I could go out with a crew of my thirty-something year old girlfriends (several of whom also roped their husbands into kid-duty) so we could indulge our inner teenagers and see how director Bill Condon concluded the movie legacy of the book series we loved so much.

And what a conclusion it was. As the credit rolled, I said to my friend next to me, “Finally! It only took them five movies to get it right!”

For those of you intellectual readers of Schaeffer’s Ghost who may be vaguely aware of some phenomenon in our culture called Twilight but have thus far been able to avoid any details about it, I’m about to ruin your reputation for being politely uninformed. Edward Cullen, a vampire, falls in love with Bella, a human. The franchise (four books and five movies) is about the complications that arise from such an unlikely romantic pairing.

If you’ve seen the posters for the final movie, you may have noticed that actress Kristen Stewart (Bella) gets creepy red eyes. That’s because Edward turns her into a vampire, but not before she and Edward get married and pregnant with a half-human/half-vampire daughter. The fifth movie finds the Volturi (Vampire Rulers: picture vampire Royals meet Mafia bosses) learning about the baby. Mistaken in their belief that it’s a vampire child (a big no-no in Vampire Land), the Vulturi set to bring “justice” to the Cullen clan.

Now, Stephenie Meyer is no Jane Austen. The Twilight series is brain candy. The first movie, under the direction of Catherine Hardwick, was painful to watch, even for a Twi-hard. The budget was small, the acting was rough, and my friend and I looked at each other repeatedly through the film, whispering “are you kidding me?” at pitiful scene after pitiful scene.

But here’s the thing. There are entry gates for the gospel in the most unlikely places, even in brain candy.

Take Edward Cullen. As a vampire, his nature dictates that his diet consists of human blood. Yet, he despises his nature. He and his family consider themselves “vegetarians” because they feed on the blood of animals instead of the blood of humans. “I don’t want to be a monster!” he expresses to Bella at the beginning of their relationship.

At the time I was reading the series, I was a middle school teacher. A posse of pre-teen girls stayed inside for lunch with me to discuss the book, and I vividly remember being able them to talk to them about a sin nature because of Edward’s character. He describes a time in his early life as a vampire when he rebelled and justified indulging his nature, but then, weighed down by his guilt over choosing to indulge his nature and compelled by the example of his father figure, Edward recommits to fighting his depraved nature. He does this with accountability from his family and is able to abstain from what is wrong with years of practice. “For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature.” (Romans 7:18)

Similarly, in the final movie, we see Bella as a “newborn” vampire on her first hunt. In the midst of hunting deer, she senses a human nearby. Her new vampire body is wired to crave what is wrong. She begins to pursue the human, overruled by her senses and desires. But, mid-hunt, she senses someone following her. She stops, intending now to attack the unknown follower who might prevent her from having the human to herself. Upon discovering it was Edward she was about to attack, she realizes her error, stops the hunt all together, blurts out, “I have to get away from here,” and flees the tempting snack.

I loved this scene because it’s such a vivid picture of a Christian’s battle with sin. Bella does not linger. She holds her breath and runs in the opposite direction. A brief moment distracts her from her pursuit, which is enough to give her clarity so that she can make a decision to reject what her nature is telling her to do.

The characters of Twilight rely on community and discipline to battle their given nature. While these are good things, the Christian has been given much more in their fight against sin. Praise God that, for the Christian who has entrusted their struggle against their sin nature to the work of Christ on the cross, the Holy Spirit is a gift from the Lord to convict us, enable personal discipline and God gives the gift of other believers for accountability.


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