“Anger, fear, aggression. The dark side are they. Once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny.”

35 years ago today, a film opened that I was not allowed to see because voices in Christian media were saying that it contained New Age ideas that would influence me to become a Hindu or a Buddhist.

Today, it remains in my top 10 favorite movies of all time.

I talk about it regularly when I give lectures about storytelling and the narratives that have inspired me into deeper Christian faith. It increased my distrust in flares of anger and urges to retaliate with violence.

Meanwhile, my ongoing faith in Christ has led me to overcome my irrational fears of words like “Buddhism” so that I can am free to consider ideas and discover, with Christians like Thomas Merton and Annie Dillard and others, just how much Christ is alive and well even within Buddhist writings.

Fears of what we do not understand so often prevent us from seeing what *else* Christ is busy doing in foreign territory.

Fear also disinclines us to love our neighbors, who often have very different beliefs.

So, all of that to say, “Happy Anniversary!” to The Empire Strikes Back!