It’s been nearly a decade since Jason Bourne last appeared in theaters—2012’s spinoff, The Bourne Legacy, notwithstanding—and the film’s title character has spent that time attempting to reconcile his returned memories with the gaps that continue to persist. When we first meet him in Jason Bourne, he’s simply trying to survive off the grid by taking bare-knuckle boxing fights in rural Greece. While that may seem like a clichéd way for a former assassin to make money, you also get the sense that the pain is a way to both feel alive and cope with the pain he’s caused others.
However, he regains some sense of purpose when part-time ally Nicky Parsons—who has spent the last decade attempting to reveal the CIA’s darkest mysteries a la Edward Snowden—approaches him with new revelations about his father’s role in the program that turned Bourne into an assassin. After the pair meet in Athens amid protests outside of the Greek Parliament, Bourne is set on a quest that will feel quite familiar to those who’ve seen the previous films. After all, attempts to unravel a new element of his past while stopping those bent on either bringing him back into the agency or killing him are nothing new to the franchise.
Ultimately, that feeling of déjà vu is probably the defining characteristic of this installment. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, though, and, as a fan of the series, I really enjoyed this movie. The car chases, hand-to-hand combat sequences, and the general awesomeness of Jason Bourne being Jason Bourne are great to watch. However, you’re definitely left with the feeling that you’ve seen this movie play out before, even if elements of the plot are new and more relevant to our current global climate.
Given that both Matt Damon and director Paul Greengrass have expressed an openness to continuing the franchise in the future, perhaps it was enough to simply re-introduce Bourne and remind a new generation of fans why his character was so popular. After such a lengthy break, making sure the foundation is secure for future iterations could be an important part of this film’s purpose.
As Christians, there are times when we need to go through a similar exercise. For an increasingly large segment of our culture, the church that people think they know is not necessarily who we really are. Opinions and caricatures borne from news headlines and stereotypes rather than a genuine interaction with believers can often serve as the foundation for the culture’s beliefs about Christians. As a result, perhaps we need to make a more concerted effort to focus on living in such a way that the foundation of our faith is plain to see rather than simply assuming the majority already understand it.
That foundation is simple: Christ died for our sins because God loves us too much not to provide a path by which we can be reunited with him (John 3:16). While a lot goes into unpacking that reality, when we make individual issues or sins more important than the basic truth of who God is and how much he cares for us, we can’t blame an unbelieving world for getting a little mixed up in their understanding of who we truly are. Returning to that foundation will make us far better able to address those other concerns in a way that might actually enact some real change going forward.
Every day offers us a new chance to help the lost find Jesus, but that will only happen if they can see the foundation upon which our faith is built. Will your life reveal that foundation today?