The TV has replaced the family Bible on the mantlepiece. It is so much easier to stare at the moving, colorful display of the TV. One doesn’t even have to lift a finger to turn a page. Moreover, the stories we encounter in our movies and series are endless. I for one have at times been dumbfounded at the selection of movies and series available on Netflix. However, despite this variety of shows available to me – the user and consumer – nothing seems to quite quench my appetite for story. At other times, the opposite happens: A movie finds me, or a character from a show becomes my “friend”, helping me to make sense of my own situation.

This happened when I watched Avatar: The Last Airbender last year. This children’s show deals with themes such as friendship, family, loss, oppression, and forgiveness. It does that so well that this show has also become popular amongst grown-up – whatever those are. As a theology student, I couldn’t help but notice the many parallels between the stories and characters of Avatar and those of the biblical narratives. Consequently, this became the material for hours of discussion between me and Tristan (Kruger), who had recommended Avatar to me in the first place. Eventually, this turned into the crazy idea to submit a proposal to a forthcoming book on Avatar and theology. Even crazier: Our proposal – we are both still undergraduates (!) – was accepted by the editors!

With the helpful guidance of our Old Testament Prof, we wrote a chapter where we compare a character from Avatar – called Prince Zuko – with Moses from Exodus one to four. We approached both characters from the perspective of trauma. That is, how they both experience trauma, how it disrupts their life, how they learn to live with it, and how they both recover by making meaningful and unlikely friendships. What we found is that, at least from our perspective, Zuko is almost identical to Moses. Although we don’t go so far

in our paper, it would seem that Zuko is Moses in dis- guise – the same character under another name in another story.

So, when I was gripped by this show, what was it that demanded my attention and quenched my story-appetite? Was it Zuko, or Moses, or both? Could it be that the biblical stories are so fundamental to our society, that they emerge again and again in the culture around us, even in the strangest places? Let me end by encouraging you to look behind your own favorite stories and see who it is that wooed you.

Hans-Christoph Lange