Friday, February 6, 2009

Film Imitates Life

A pastor friend of mine told me that the 1952 movie High Noon, was the story of one of his pastorates. A few years ago I saw the movie Babe and told my sister in law it was a movie about social justice. The movie takes place in Australia, so I said, "Australians are very political." She and her husband have never let me live that statement down.

The other day I watched the old Dr. Seuss story, now made into a movie, Horton Hears a Who! This is a story about maintaining the status quo in groups. It is a tale about a band of souls united for a common purpose, but somewhere along the way they lose their vision, become apathetic, and the movement becomes stagnant. What's worse is that they get comfortable there. Incredibly, some actually thwart efforts to get things back on track. In this movie, the ones trying to help (Horton and the Mayor) are labeled as "boobs" and pursued like early church heretics burned at the stake. I was moved to tears in this animated story of an elephant because it imitates life too well.

I saw this process first hand at a legislative law making session at the state capitol today. These rabble rousers showed up out of nowhere and started making accusations, and demanding things that threw the proverbial monkey wrench into the works. Our elected representatives surprisingly gave them more power than they deserve and slowed down an already slow process.

The same friend from High Noon showed me the well known bell shaped curve, the life cycle of too many churches. I'm not sure whether to laugh or cry when I see it. What you miss when you see the facts of the graph is the stories of power brokers, and party line politics, and heartache.

Today I listened to an interview with Phillis Tickle about her book, The Great Emergence. She contends we are at a hinge in history, much like the Reformation, the Great Schism, etc. Times in history where our entire culture (and thus, faith) was (and is now being) rewritten. This seems to happen about every 500 years, give or take. Listening to this podcast affirmed that I'm not a boob. We all need that once in awhile. I'm looking for a few like minded souls out there. Any takers?