"The Gospel According to Lost," by Chris Seay, art by Scott Erickson, Thomas Nelson Inc.
As I've often told my kids, it's all right to be a nerd.
We come across all different kinds of nerds as we go about our lives. I had a roommate who was a math nerd and a college buddy who was a debate nerd. My own family is full of video game nerds.
The list of all the ways I am a nerd is too long to discuss here. But with the 2004 premiere of the TV show "Lost," that list of mine suddenly grew.
I won't call Chris Seay, author of "The Gospel According to Lost," a nerd. But he did tell me he's a huge fan of the show.
He half-jokes that writing the book gave him "a legitimate reason to re-watch 'Lost' episodes while my wife put the kids to bed." Seay says it's hard for non-fans of the show to understand how spiritual teachings can be gleaned from the series.
"The teachings of Jesus are all around us," Seay said in a phone interview from Texas. "So I wanted to write this book because I wanted to be a part of that discussion."
In his book, Seay — who is the church planter, pastor and president of Ecclesia Bible Society in Houston — discusses how, by simple means, Christ got his teachings across.
"It's true I do get some odd looks and spirited resistance from the religious establishment at times when I tell them that I hear God speak to me through the popular culture," he writes. "But I am not sure that this kind of book is vastly different from the ways that Jesus taught his disciples; they simply walked through life together — eating, traveling, fishing, farming — and as they lived life, Jesus drew spiritual insights from these activities. He taught them to pursue and love people as fishers of men, and to be aware that our actions have profound effects by explaining the simple principle that we will always reap what we sow."
My favorite part of the book — which contains in-depth looks at the souls of each of the show's major characters as well as other discussions on gospel topics — is in Chapter 10, "Jesus Wrote a Best Seller."
Seay talks about how some think "religion is about celebrating the knowledge that you are right, reveling in self-satisfaction, enjoying your superiority, and looking down on the unenlightened."
He compares that us-versus-them mentality to many of the stories throughout all of the seasons of "Lost." One of those, in particular, is the division between the "Losties" (the castaways on the original crashed plane) and the "Others" (those people inhabiting a part of the island later encountered upon by the Losties).
It was always the opinion of the Losties that they were good and the Others were bad. But it was pointed out later that of all the moral wrongs the Others had committed, the Losties had done the same.
We can be reminded, Seay says, of the lesson to not judge others, but rather to "see ourselves as we truly are and leave behind the arrogance and self-righteousness we so easily embody."
He offers a personal experience to illustrate the point: While reading Luke 15 in the New Testament, Seay writes that as he "started to list out the names of judgmental people I know, somewhere deep within I was commending myself for not being as pompous, pretentious, or unapproachable as the Pharisees and the haughty people on my 'poor sinners' list. Silence. The Spirit cut through me like a knife, and my arrogance turned to tears. Jesus was speaking to me in these stories, and I believe he will speak to you if you take the time to listen."
The show's sixth and final season comes to a close on Sunday. But Seay's book — which covers the show's first five seasons — can assist "Lost" fans who are sure to go through withdrawals.
Saturday, May 22: replay of 2004 "Lost Series premiere, 7-9 p.m. MDT
Sunday, May 23: "Lost: The Final Journey" (a retrospective on the series), 6-8 p.m.
Sunday, May 23: "Lost" series finale, 8-10:30 p.m. MDT