Thursday, August 27, 2009


I hope that i will sieze these fleeting moments. my world is so rich... and it's bizarre to think that all of that nothing amounts to something. reality is mostly empty space, nothing that is pose'n as something. and yet all of us exist.

these symbols you are reading aren't the images that are conjured in your head.

one day my daughter will speak in complete sentences, drive a car, find love and heartbreak and love again...

all we have is now and metaphors to try and capture it. even our best technology, video camera's that record in HD, digital camera's that can freeze and instant, are nothing compared to the present moment, and our memories of it. and by the time you recognize this moment, this moment will be gone, but you'll bend the light pretending that it some how lingered on.

rawk in these mountains and now diamonds will remain. we're live'n in this life together and we'll wait to find if it lasts forever...

forever and ever amen.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Heaven or Why I am a Universalist

I had a great conversation this summer with my friend and seminary colleage Sally... and then now with Jason posting about heaven and hell and Julia's inquiry as to what i think about the here-after, i figured i'd post a kinda-comprehensive view of the afterlife. This of course is going off the assumption that there is an afterlife and also through the Christian-lens. So here it goes.

largely, we have no idea what happens on the other side. i see the scriptures as mainly pretaining to the here and now and the work of bring about God's kin-dom to earth. but this leads to the idea that there is a kin-dom already in existence and it must be brought here.

there is an intense dualism here, as Jay pointed out, that if there is a kin-dom of heaven, there must also be an opposite. some believe that there is a hell and satan who is fighting to bring that to earth, while others think that we're already in hell. i don't think so. i think we're in creation, we have a great deal of free will and we screw up a lot yet learn from it. for me the world is getting better, not worse. as we learn, we do better. but what about those who don't? what if you die and get there and see God face to face and are forgiven? prodical son remember? it's not about book keeping it's about forgiveness and uncomprehensible grace. like the parable of the workers in Matt 20:1-16. those who have been working longer are paid the same as those who showed up in the last five minutes. grace isn't fair. and if we are free to choose God in this life, it stands to reason that we're free to choose or deny in the next.

John 3:16-21 talks about how Jesus doesn't condemn the world but save it... so if you have to be a Christian to do this then mathmatically, Jesus condemned the world because there are more nonChristians in the world than Christians, and more dead nonChristians than Christians (sometimes at the hands of Christians, but that's another story). unless "those who love the light" can be ppl who follow God under a different name.. because since Jesus is God and if one would worship God, then you believe in Christ byproxy because of the Three-in-one deal we have going on. so everyone gets in... but not everyone will choose it. Hell for me, would be those who can't accept, even after meeting God face-to-face, that they are loved.

it was by reading the scriptures that i got to this point... it was what made me break from my Catholic upbringing. because if it's all about "Believing" then what? which way is right, protestant or catholic? and then which one of those? what if the Unitarians are right and there is just one God and Jesus ain't it like we think (i.e. no Trinity?). i was told my mom was going to hell by my priest during mass.. i walked out. later, i was told that all protestants were going to hell because they aren't "right". and when you visit the catholic church, you have to not only be a Catholic, but a PRACTICING one to take communion. this is anti-inclusion to the extreme. the liturgy of the RC church is the most unwelcoming to visitors precisely because they think they have it and don't need to be of service. however, they miss something.... all of this "right and wrong" has everything to do with RELIGION and NOTHING to do with Christ. who is Christ's brothers and sisters? those who do the will of his Father! (Matt 12:50). and that is to love their neighbor and God with heart mind and strength. plus Jesus never asked the sinners, prostitutes, adulterers, or lepers to first believe in him before he healed them. he just did.

as Robert Capon states: "Christianity is not a religion. Christianity is the proclamation of the end of religion, not of a new religion, or even of the best of all religions. ...If the cross is the sign of anything, it's the sign that God has gone out of the religion business and solved all of the world's problems without requiring a single human being to do a single religious thing. What the cross is actually a sign of is the fact that religion can't do a thing about the world's problems - that it never did work and it never will."

2 Corinthians 5:21. "He made him who knew no sin to become sin for our sakes. . . ." The job is done. The church doesn't preach that, though. It's always saying the job is done; but then it insists you have to cooperate with that job before it will be done for you. Wrong! It is done for you. It has been done for you. It's all done for you. Trust it. i seems to me that we're too hung up on trying to get ppl to fear hell to become Christian. this is the wrong step! it is the joy of being Christian that inspires conversion, not the fear of hell yet every preacher i hear seems to be SOOOO hung up on hell and salvation, describing the levels of hell in great detail "as if they spent several years in that commonwealth" (Erasmus). Jesus gave no systematic or geographical map of hell. so forget what you know about this as this is not the Good News. i was too hung up on this issue of damnation and think i drove too many from the faith when i was younger.. now i understand the WAY.. namely Christ. How did Jesus act? what did he do? did he run around saying "you're all gonna burn?" NO! There are some harsh words, but they are directed at those who think they have a handle on who is in and who is out.

When Jesus told his parables to the people, his disciples asked, why do you talk to them in riddles? And his answer was: "So they won't catch on. Because anything they could catch on to would be the wrong thing. As Isaiah said, seeing they don't see and hearing they don't hear, neither do they understand [Matthew 13:10-17]. That's why I talk to them like this: because I don't want them to have little lights go on in their heads. I want to put out all the lights they've got, so that in the darkness they can listen to me"

the parables basically give us is stuff we can't stand to hear. Take the Lost Sheep. What we want to hear is that the lost have to find themselves first and then come back to God. Wrong. All you've got to be is lost. Not fancily lost. Not ethically lost. Just plain lost. Likewise, all you've got to do to be raised from the dead is to be dead. Not uprightly dead or piously dead. Just dead.

so does this make me a pluralist? kinda. i see God at work in others.. like my brothers and sisters that are agnostic, atheist, Buddhist, Muslim, and Jewish. these ppl live the gospel whether they know it or not. i think Christ would have a lot to talk about with these people as well saying "i totally get that.. did you happen to read this passage? that's what i was talking about and you embody that!" to some extent it is "Christ by any other name..." but it's not an empty pluralism. there are unique things to each tradition, each philosophy has something i can affirm. however, i firmly believe that God as revealed through Christ (note: NOT Paul) loves and calls all ppl to Godself and heaven will simply be a matter of "i can't believe you love me God, but i tried to follow as best i knew how and what made sense in my context.... i accept your grace and forgiveness, please accept and forgive my disbelief and sins."

when you read the teachings of Buddha or Mohammed, you'll see how different their ethics and goals are. there are similarities, like Buddha's nonattachment is similar to Jesus' and Mohammed is all about submission to God's will, much like Jesus too. however, the end results aren't the same. Jesus wants to create heaven on earth and justice for all (esp. the poor, outcast, widowed, orphaned, etc) where as Mohammed seems more like a centralized Theocratic dictatorship (with him at the head as VOICE of Allah) and Buddha's ethic of service seems selfish as it's only about self-enlightenment. nirvana is nice, but i prefer heaven. Buddha is atheist, i believe that all of existence came from the Source, i.e. God. Jesus was Jewish, but we are a branch grafted onto that tree (Romans), but not entirely the same, plus the resulting years of oppression and persecution hasn't helped Judeo-Christian relations... but i firmly believe that there is a ton we can learn from our brothers and sisters... we do not supercede them, we have a different take on the TaNaK plus an appendix they don't have. we also don't have the midrash, Talmud, and many other traditions and cultures so vital to the Jewish faith. we Christians can learn a ton! anywho, i feel that all religious that are honestly followed and that are generous hearted are on the right track and are a great good to the world. the wrong-hearted religions have ppl blowing themselves up, starting wars, and calling others names, and that's not the type of religion, regardless of the name, that i'll support. intolerance will not be tolerated.

so what does this mean for Christians here and now? namely to serve some more! we are called to make disciples out of all nations, and we've done that. if you count up the scriptures though, we are to serve and forgive, and to serve.. not for conversion's sake... if we preach the Good News and it's not accepted, "we knock the dust from our sandles and move on" (Luke 9:5) without promising condemnation or judgment. i'm not friends with ppl from other religions to convert them, that is a dishonest friendship, a house built on sand.

Grace is grace, it has happened, all are forgiven. all things are being made new! this is cause for celebration! not war, injustice, and damnation (as those wouldn't be Good News). i hope the church can awaken to this idea, repent of their sins against other religions and against the Gospel, and bring a new era of "Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven."

blah blah blah! ;-) there is more to say... but i'm interested in what you think. let me know!

Thursday, August 20, 2009


English royalty behaving badly! starring Keira Knightley and James McAvoy, about a love story that spans decades. something goes wrong and lovers are separated.

this movie is all about the idea that objectivity is a myth and all history is revisionist. there is the question of culpability as well as the ambiguity of guilt.

the most interesting thing is how Atonement doesn't happen through religion, or even in the real world. it happens through art. art is the new medium of forgiveness... the new priests are the artists and the creative imagination being the tool that can heal a fragmented world.

always look to see why the story is being told.. is it out of guilt, kindness, or "hey this is funny/cool/sad!" i loved this movie because i'm all about art! finally a movie that puts poetry back to what it was! the teacher of humanity and the balm for our souls... that's in Gilead? i dunno.. check out this film.. and i heart Keira

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


Defiance was a movie we got from the Lancaster Public Library and I expected it to be a “shoot-‘em-up.” What I found was a film with deep meaning. movie directed by Edward Zwick and starring Daniel Craig and Liev Schreiber. The movie is based on the true story of the Bielski brothers who fought the Nazis in World War II on the Belarusian front. There are four Bielski brothers, Tuvia the oldest, Zus the husky fighter, Asael the sensitive one, and Aron the youngest.

The initial scenes show displacement, death, and chaos. Asael finds Zus in the woods and they head to their home only to find all of their family dead save for Aron. Zus grabs the mezuzah. When they find Tuvia in the woods later, Zus gives the mezuzah to Tuvia to acknowledge his leadership as well as to show the birthright. My friend and Jewish scholar, Yael, interprets this scene as “When a Jew moves from the house they remove their mezuzah from their doorways unless the next occupant is also Jewish. I saw the act of giving this mezuzah to the oldest brother as an affirmation of the family's survival. One day it would again be hung on the doorpost of his home, even if right now he has no home” (Lange).

The opening scene calls to mind the Diaspora Jews; the Jews of the Exodus, the Exile, and the various occupations. Like in the Bible, the setting is a character and must be considered and fought with every step of the way. The scarcity and menace of the forest is shown and felt in the characters. There are many shots of figures moving through the forest and very few shots of civilization. They are outgunned, out-numbered, and they are living in a forest with people used to the city life. When Tuvia meets Isaac Malbin, he askes what Isaac does. He states that he’s an intellectual that publishes a socialist pamphlet. Tuvia is surprised “That is a job?”

There are all sorts of problems here! Namely how do we live as community in a hostile world with shortages of food, resources, and with ppl you can't get along with... one of those being your fiesty brother.

The resolution to all of these problems is to form a resistant community removed from the rest of the world. There is a rejection of laying down and dying and “waiting for God.” In a sense, there is a rejection of traditional religion in the movie. “All too often traditional religion wants to take us back to ‘what was’ rather than help to root us in ‘what is’” (Taylor 122). Tuvia stated that the “best revenge is to live” and to live as humans with dignity.

There is however, a look back to traditional religion and ancestors to get the core identity of the group. Asael says, when training women how to shoot rifles, “this is not a gun, this is Bar Kochba’s spear. Samson’s jawbone. Elhud’s sword. The slingshot David used to bring down Goliath. We will become warriors like the Maccabees and the Tsiccerai.” This recalls the history of Jews being underdogs who resisted the invading power. The salvation comes from within the group, it is traded among the individuals of the group, one picking up the other when they fall. This is tested at every turn and there are exceptions to the law that Tuvia laid out.
A woman was raped by a German soldier and has a baby. Tuvia is at a crossroads because pregnancies are forbidden and he is considering shooting the mother and child. Lilka, Tuvia’s love interest, saves him and his humanity in this moment stating that the best thing to do is to bring life into the world of suffering and death; letting the child and mother live would be the ultimate act of defiance. Tuvia breaks down and cries here as he realizes that he loves Lilka. He finds love despite himself and affirms it. This is saving for Tuvia but there are two other times where others save him.

The Germans bomb the camp set up by Tuvia and his group and they are forced to flee from the invading infantry. They run through the forest but reach a wetland. Tuvia sits at the river bank and weeps. This calls to mind Psalm 137, “By the rivers of Babylon, There we sat down and wept...” Tuvia has completely given up and mourns. Asael saves him saying, “God will not part these waters, we will do it ourselves and not by miracles but together, through our strength. Strong will help the weak.” Asael provides the vision that is counter to what the world is doing, namely the strong killing the weak, the many oppressing the few. In this community, the lion lays down with the lamb.

The community reaches the other side only to be attacked by a panzer. Zus comes in and saves the community he has been running away from. He had overheard that the Russians were going to let the Germans kill Tuvia’s group. They were using the community as cover as the Red Army escaped and set up camp elsewhere. Zus realized that he was not fighting for the same things as his fellow soldiers were. This realization called him back to his true community.

What does this movie say about God?

God is mentioned frequently here. The movie revolves around questions of Theodicy.
First, there is a hope of a messiah, as evidenced by the conversation between the teacher and the intellectual, Isaac Malbin:
Teacher: “All I know about politics is that there is a monster in the East with the big mustache and the monster in the West with the little mustache; this is all I need to know about politics.”
Isaac: “Your messiah will have a mustache too… and a full beard!”
Teacher: “The messiahs are all in politics and they are killing us.”
Zus: “What is killing me is all your talking!”
Isaac: “Roosevelt! He has no mustache!”

There is still a hope in a savior in the line of thought of Isaac. Isaac represents the tradition in Judaism that believed that God determined the time of the Messiah's coming by erecting a great set of scales. On one side, God placed the captive Messiah with the souls of dead laymen. On the other side, God placed sorrow, tears, and the souls of righteous martyrs. God then declared that the Messiah would appear on earth when the scale was balanced. According to this tradition, then, evil is necessary in the bringing of the world's redemption, as sufferings reside on the scale. This is a big feature in post-Holocaust theology (Braiterman 55,62). The teacher, on the other hand doesn’t believe in this tradition.

The teacher prays “Merciful God, we commit our friends - Ben Zion and Krensky - to You. We have no more prayers, no more tears; we have run out of blood. Choose another people. We have paid for each of your commandments; we have covered every stone and field with ashes. Sanctify another land. Choose another people. Teach them the deeds and the prophesies. Grant us but one more blessing: take back the gift of our holiness. Amen.” He would give up being “God’s chosen” because this has only brought oppression and death to his people. When the teacher is first introduced he states that he viewed this as a trial, “as God’s way… it isn’t. Recent events have somewhat shaken my resolve.” He represents the view of agnosticism. The teacher doesn’t fully present these thoughts, but lets them hang as to emphasize his doubt and his inability to make sense of the violence and slaughter around him. By the end of the film, he says to Tuvia in his dying words that “I had almost lost faith. But you were sent by God to save us.” Tuvia states that this is ridiculous but the teacher states “Just in case, I thank God and you. You are an angel.” This represents the tradition in Judaism that angels can be mortal and are “messengers” from God. This view is closer to an Open theism as found in the writings of Harold Kushner. This position that argues, as does Process Theology, that God prefers to persuade rather coerce, and/or that omnipotence has been willingly relinquished so that humanity might have absolute free will. For example, the scientist-theologian

John Polkinghorne suggests that, in addition to free will, God has created the universe in such a way that it is, to a significant extent, allowed to make itself, and that such a world "is better than the puppet theatre of a Cosmic Tyrant” (Polkinghorne 14).

For many, the Holocaust is evidence that there is no God and that life is unfair and the world is chaos. “Others see the same unfairness and ask themselves ‘Where do I get this sense of what is fair and what is unfair?” (Kushner 142). Tuvia and his brothers really don’t ask questions of God’s existence. They were on the margins in the community anyway, but their rebellious lifestyle gave them the tools to survive and lead in the new context. Some would call this providence. Process theologians would praise Tuvia and his brothers for listening to God’s urges and being self-aware enough to put what they have learned into practice in service of others.

Asael is the one Bielski brother that seems aware of his theology. It is one of community and one that does not ask for God to do the impossible or unnatural, nor does he operate out of a sense of revenge as Zus does. Asael is the theological voice of the movie. His view reflects that of the prayer “Likrat Shabbat” by Jack Riemer:

“We cannot merely pray to you O God to end war;
For the World is made in such a way
That we must find our own path of peace
Within ourselves and with our neighbors.
We cannot merely pray to you O God to root out Prejudice:
for we already have eyes
With which to see the good in all people
If we would only use them rightly.
We cannot merely pray to you O God to end starvation:
For we already have the resources
With which to feed the entire World
If we would only use them wisely.
We cannot merely pray to you O God to end despair:
For we already have the power To clear away slums and to give hope
If we would only use our power justly.
We cannot merely pray to you O God to end disease:
For we already have great minds
With which to search out cures and healings
If we would only use them constructively.
Therefore we pray instead
For strength, determination, and will power,
To do instead of merely to pray
To become instead of merely to wish:
So that our World may be safe,
And so that our lives may be blessed” (Kushner 118).

great film with a ton in it! WATCH IT! here's another great line:

Koscik: “Why is it so fucking hard to be friends with a Jew?”
Tuvia: “Try being one.”

wonderful! and thanks to Yael for help here!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Robbie the Rookie Zombie

but first a recap: a dear reader friend sent me this link from Torah: Rain for the Soul. SEE! I knew i wasn't original in this thought. Turns out Rambam had this interp of Genesis from the 1100s, and it's not unique to him!!! turns out we can learn a lot from other faiths if we shut up, listen, and stop trying to convert or damn them to hell.

Genesis Chapter 2: Well i guess this is growing up!

another awesome quote from that site: Those who learn for the sake of learning find the Torah sweet; those who learn for ulterior purposes find it bitter. (Zohar, iv, 229b)
so Dear TV Preachers,

stop putting the Bible through YOUR rubric of supporting conservative, capitalist, and sexist (among other -ist) values. learn for the sake of learning. struggle with it, learn from it, and be transformed by it. don't transform it to suit your needs and context. maybe why you're angry at your fellow humans (i.e. the gays, unbelievers, nonbelievers, nonChristian, Liberal Christian, Emerging Christian and secular-types, etc. etc. etc.) is because you're bitter. just a thought, could be wrong.


now for FUN!

Robbie the Rookie Zombie

once upon a time there was a boy named Robbie who was bitten on his pinkie by a zombie. turns out that he turned into a zombie, but still had full use of his cognitive capabilities. so he decided to get up and go out and do what zombies were supposed to do.

but he couldn't remember what zombies were supposed to do all day. he then remembered reading somewhere that zombies were always looking for guys named Brian. so that's what he did. each day he'd go out and say "Brrrrrrriiiiiaaaaannnn.... BrrrrrrrriiiiiiiiIIIIIaaaaannn.... BBBBRRRRRiiiiiAAAANNNN..." until someone would say, "I'm Brian, how can I help you?" and Robbie would shake his hand and go home.

This left Robbie very unsatisfied and not to mention very hungry. But Robbie kept doing it, but asked if the Brian he met that day would buy him dinner. Most would (Brians are nice like that) but the food just didn't taste right to Robbie's zombified taste-buds.

One day, after months and months of being a zombie, Robbie ran into another zombie. He asked the zombie, "Hey, what's up with this Brian thing?" and the zombie was stunned!

"Brian?!" the zombie scoffed. "It's BRAINS! BRAINS, YOU IDIOT!"

It was then that Robbie realized that he had misinterpreted the text, and that he was also dyslexic.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

A Fallen Letter

Dear Fellow Christians,

okay... once and for all! there was never an GARDEN OF EDEN! there were never just two ppl, an adam or an eve. scientifically the earth is billions of years old. God is very old. so quit acting like we'll return to a perfect state.

if you want a fall, it'd be when the first multi-celled organism ate another multi-cellular organism. it may have been when the single-celled organism ate another one to become a multi-cellular organism! hell! i dunno! what i do know is we can't keep believing in a fall or original sin or baptism washing away.

i heard a devout Christian say that they really don't like how their baby is filled with original sin because it cries all the time. WTF?! why not just get it baptised? then the original sin would wash off and you'd have no more crying.. that didn't work?! baby is still crying? prolly cause it's not a sin! it's the only way the baby can tell you what it needs. this type of moronic thought is what is driving ppl away from Christianity.

also... let's rearrange our thought on the fall.. cause apparently ppl like this idea. so how about we start out as a little baby, we're selfish because we have no concept of other ppl... much like Adam and Eve. only thinking of themselves, unaware that their actions could have consquences. we make mistakes, we do what is forbidden, and sure.. we sin.. but we LEARN! we GO AND SIN NO MORE!

we fall UPWARDS. we go from a place of selfish innocence to a place of spiritual maturity. in our spiritual maturity we see the bigger picture (albeit not the whole one) and we trust that we are guided, loved, and sustained by God. so much so that we are able to forgive and love our enemies.

what do we think about that? is that something we can do with?



Tuesday, August 11, 2009

How Low is the Bar Set?

hey you hetero-males out there! wanna know what makes the ladies crazy?! men with babies!

i was sitting in Longs Park, just minding my own business, trying to be still and know that God is God. I was just feeding Eve a bottle and reading Kushner's "When Bad Things Happen to Good People" and i was hit on by two different women.

the first woman, around my age, came up to me as her own kids were running around and throwing stuff in the lake and having fun. she stated how beautiful Eve was and we talked about how it is being a parent. as she was leaving she stated how i make beautiful babies. i stated how "i didn't really make her, my wife did, i just contribute a little at the beginning." to which she said "well, i'm sure you make the process as pleasurable as possible." i smiled at this and then she collected her kids and walked off. it only hit me later to which "process" she was talking about. sex? the pregnancy process (i.e. getting Kate ice cream and sunkist?)? the delivery or the parenting part? or the whole thing? was i being hit on?!

i brushed it off and continued with the bottle, Eve happily sucking the bottle down and staring at the willow branches swaying in the breeze. a 60-ish woman and her friend come up. they too fawn over Eve and state how great it is to see a dad out with his daughter. i asked why and they said "i had to about break my husband's arm... unless it was about sports..." as they were leaving, after a short convo, one of the women turned and said "it was great talking to you! take care! and you are just a vision in that hat!" (i was wearing my OU hat).

this of course is just two examples of a slew of things i overhear while spending my day with Eve. while on a walk i heard "I think it's so hot when dads push the stroller." from a group of moms... are dad's really that absent? i know my own was but for different reasons.. like he wasn't around! but are "present" dads this big of lumps?

the whole row here of seminary dads are all active and watching their kids during the day while the moms are out bring'n home the bacon. all i see, everywhere i look, are dads my age taking an active interest in their kids... both of my brother in laws do their own thing as well! they are active. so is this a stereotype left over from the previous generation? or are we the exceptions? or is the expectation bar set extremely low for men? how deep does our gender-ideals go?

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Gran Torino

Clint Eastwood's last film is set in Detroit in the current times. It looks like a normal, run-of-the-mill Eastwood film with a gravel-voiced loner "take'n it to 'em AMERICAN STYLE!" but that's not it at all.

The mood is one of loss.. there is a loss of repect in the disrepectful youth, cultural expectations, respect for authority, tradition, and elders. Eastwood is in a classic role of his, namely an isolated and self-reliant person that is under siege and hostile to those around him. with good reason, dude has seen war in Korea, only survivor from his squad.

life for this character is not good as his wife just died, he doesn't like his kids or grandkids, the new priest is too young, and his neighborhood has gone to hell. Eastwood is a giant racist at the start of the film, calling his neighbors Swamp Rats, gooks, and all sorts of other fun things.

however, after saving a kid the Asian Hmong community rallies around their reluctant hero. they invite him over and he doesn't want to try the food, but at the urging of the young lady and the line "it's better than eating jerky" he tries it and falls in love with the food, the family, and the culture. the culture is one of respect for elders and traditions that Eastwood was mourning the loss of in his own family.

this movie is a secular transpotion of an Christian theme, namely a commentary on John 15:13 "No one has greater love than this, that one should lay down his life for his friends." the package of problems is also traditionally Christian, namely isolation, guilt, separation from God and others. Through Eastwood's friendship with the two youth next door, he opens up and chages. this movie shows the power of confession and relational living.

God in this film is persistent. grace and love is not through the traditional channels, such as the church or family. here we also see a new family emerge, like that Jesus talked in Mark 3:35: "For whoever does the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother." Jesus erases the biological bonds of family and replaces them with theological ones.

the mediators of healing in the film are flawed human beings, esp. evident in the transformation of Eastwood. there is mutuality and reciprocity with these relationships and everyone comes out better for it... well.. save one, but even then, who knows?

i hope you will watch this film and give me feedback. it was one of the most moving movies i have seen this year.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Movies as Theological Sacred Stories

I took a theology and film class taught by Lee Barrett this summer and loved it. here's the intro to what we learned based loosely on my notes:

Everybody loves a good story. The old medium was to sit around a flickering fire and listen to the story be told. Now people pile into theatres to what the flickering screen and the story is told in 5.1 surround sound and high definition.

this is an avenue to the sacred, but you won't see it if you aren't looking for it.. movies morph biblical as well as other culture's sacred stories into scriptes. but each movie as theological implications as it states "Life is like..."

a box of chocolates? war? dragons at your doorstep? rule following adults not seeing an evil that doesn't play by the rules? these are movies what movies do! forest gump, saving private ryan (or pick a war movie...) reign of fire and harry potter all have a problem and a resolution to that problem. each critiques in it's own way what is wrong with the world and how best to navigate it.

Lee gave us 5 questions to ask while watching films: These questions are: 1. What is the image of the Human Condition? 2. What is the mood of the movie? 3. What is the problem that propels the plot? 4. What are the resolutions to the problem if they are any? 5. What does all of this say about God or ultimate reality?

to critique movies, i'll primarily be using #3, 4, and 5.