Are You the Key Master?

Ghostbusters, Gozer, and Jesus

This article is by Teer Hardy:

When I was a kid, a young kid, say five years old, my dad was approached by one of our neighbors, who wanted to know if everything was OK in our house. My dad was perplexed because, on our quiet cul-de-sac, everything was always OK. Nothing exciting ever happened and that was how the residents on the quiet cul-de-sac liked things.

Our neighbor was concerned because the lights on the lower level of our split-level home would come on several nights around 3:00 AM. Knowing my parents worked traditional 9-5 work schedules, the neighbor knew that if the lights were on at 3:00 AM, something was off. My dad, for his part, had no idea what our neighbor was talking about. He assured the neighbor that everything was indeed OK, and the quiet cul-de-sac sighed an exhale of relief as we returned to our ordinary quiet cul-de-sac lives.

The next day, around 3:00 AM, the lights on the lower level of our split-level home were on, but this time, my dad was awake and prepared to investigate. Was there an electrical anomaly? Had someone broken into the lower level of the split-level home? Or was there a more reasonable explanation?

What you need to know about me, as a five-year-old child (and as a late-thirty-something adult), is that while I may not read the books I am supposed to read or watch the movies I am supposed to watch (ET? Alice in Wonderland? Mary Poppins? Star Wars? Didn’t see them until I had children of my own.), I am a loyal fan of the books and movies I have watched.

My loyalty could not be truer than my devoted fandom to the Ghostbusters franchise. My parents recall with wonder and pride that, as a child, I would stand on the coffee table in the family room on the lower level of our split-level home and recite, word for word, the entire scripts of Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters II. Every word would roll off my tongue from beginning to end as I stood on the table wearing my Egon Halloween costume with the worn-out plastic mask attached to my head and my Hasbro Proton Pack strapped to my back.

I wasn’t afraid of no ghosts on a Saturday afternoon when my parents allowed me to watch our tube television — or at 3:00 AM, when I would sneak out of my bedroom, carefully pour myself a bowl of Cheerios, and put in the worn out VHS and watch either movie before my parents woke for the day.

Are you the Gate Keeper? Are you the Key Master?

If you have never watched Ghostbusters, do not worry because grace abounds and there is still time for you to watch this cinematic marvel of the 1980s. The Gate Keeper (played by Sigourney Weaver) and the Key Master (played by Rick Moranis) must get to know each other in a “biblical way” so that Gozer the Gozarian can return and conquer the world.

Two scenes highlight this relationship.

First, Peter Venkman (played by Bill Murray) arrives at Dana Barrett’s apartment for their scheduled date to find her possessed by one of Gozer’s minions. She asks him, “Are you the Key Master?” Later, Louis Tully runs around New York City looking for the Gate Keeper. Long story short, these two eventually find one another, Gozer returns with plans to destroy the world, and the Ghostbusters must cross the streams to save the day.

As a five-year-old child, I did not understand the “adult” undertones of the Gate Keeper and Key Master getting together, but you can believe that now as I watch this film with my children, I am squirming inside of my head.

Are you the Gate Keeper? Are you the Key Master? The Gate Keeper leads to Gozer, who will run amuck on the Big Apple and destroy humanity.

The Gospel of John (10:1-10) portrays Jesus as the Gate Keeper before he is the Good Shepherd. There is an entire day devoted to celebrating Jesus as the Good Shepherd, but the Gate Keeper passage comes and goes with little fanfare. Why isn’t there a Gate Keeper Sunday? The temptation with John’s words is that we imagine Jesus as a stern gate keeper, standing behind the gate into heaven and checking the credentials for all who attempt to enter. The gate is closed, locked, and it’s clear the lock has not been unlocked for quite some time. And there’s Jesus, Proton Pack strapped to his back, prepared to trap anyone who tries to get past Him, sending them off to eternal torment for their lack of credentials.

But this gate is less of a bank vault and more of a passageway. Jesus isn’t the bouncer outside the exclusive heavenly club, but the Eschaton Made Flesh, the Word Made Verb, the host who greets his guests at the door. The gate beside which he stands isn’t locked and we are free to enter the heavenly gated community. The Gate Keeper has blown the gate wide open and is now inviting all of us to enter. No key or mastery of doing any task is needed.

Though Gozer needed works done by possessed mortals for the gate to be open, it is through Jesus that we are invited through the gates to the heavenly banquet that Christ has prepared for us.

The Gate Keeper and Key Master were lackies for Gozer who wanted to draw the world to itself for the sake of destroying humanity. Christ the Gate Keeper is drawing us to him for the sake of our salvation. Because Jesus is the one drawing us to him, we are invited to the party right now — just as we are.

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5 responses to “Are You the Key Master?”

  1. Shirley Beck says:

    I’m glad the gate is wide open, because I’m always forgetting my passwords. Grace can’t be complicated. You were a naughty boy getting up at 3:00 am!

  2. Holly Berkley Fletcher says:

    Oh me too with the passwords shirley!

  3. Jason says:

    “…carefully pour myself a bowl of Cheerios…”
    What? No Ghostbusters cereal? With the flavored marshmallows…

    I love how the attempt to think of only innocent things results in the manifest Stay Puft marshmallow monster…It’s like the law producing the opposite of the good it demands.
    The other thing I have noticed since rewatching as an adult is how at the decisive moment of victory, the Ghostbusters violated their most sacred ‘law’: “don’t cross the streams…” As in, “what the law could not do, God did…”
    Good writeup…

  4. Josh Retterer says:

    Great job from a great person!

  5. […] Hardy published a great follow-up to his recent Mbird post about Ghostbusters over on his […]

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