“If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” Mark 8:34
“Every lived moment can be lived in the inconceivable closeness of God in the Spirit.” Jürgen Moltmann (from THE SPIRIT OF LIFE)
“It’s a complicated case, Maude. Lotta ins. Lotta outs. And a lotta strands to keep in my head, man.” Jeff Lebowski (in THE BIG LEBOWSKI)
When I re-read what I wrote about CHILDREN OF MEN, I was suddenly reminded of something imparted to me by Stanley Hauerwas, my professor of theological ethics during my seminary years. When addressing the issue of abortion in his lectures, Hauerwas would frequently give expression to words such as these:
“The church has framed the abortion debate in entirely the wrong way. A Christian can’t believe in ‘right to life,’ since, for the Christian, life is a gracious gift and not a right. And a Christian can’t believe in ‘right to choose,’ since, in the Christian worldview, our bodies do not ultimately belong to us. The real question is one that not enough Christians are asking: What does the church have to do to become a community that welcomes children into the world? When we start asking that question, we might just teeter on the brink of being the kind of church in which children always have a place and in which things like abortion are no longer looked upon as necessary or viable options.” (quote taken from my 1990 seminary notebook!)
Good stuff, I think. I’m always impressed when a major motion picture (such as CHILDREN OF MEN) inspires me to think back to my seminary experience.
Which reminds me of ANCHORMAN: THE LEGEND OF RON BURGUNDY…
Uh….er……ummm…I think I’ll save that one for another post.
My wife Tara and I recently saw a compelling film entitled CHILDREN OF MEN. Based upon the 1992 novel by P.D. James, the film features wonderfully understated performances by Clive Owen and Julianne Moore, and a delightfully overstated performance by Michael Caine.
Set in the year 2027, CHILDREN OF MEN paints a cinematic portrait of an unsettlingly bleak future in which human beings can no longer procreate. The film never really explains the scientific reason for this biological crisis. In my opinion, the absence of a scientific explanation simply heightens the sense of desperation generated by the characters and their plight.
Imagine it for a moment: a world without children, devoid of their laughter, their playfulness, their inquisitiveness, and their trust. Such is the world into which one steps when watching this well-made film. Not surprisingly, it is a horribly violent, oppressive, and broken world, which, strange as it might sound, is part of what I really liked about the film. It dared to make a point that very few films are willing to make: The vitality and vibrancy of the world is dependent, not upon the capitalistic movers and shakers, but upon the most vulnerable souls among us—the children. Come to think of it, Jesus had something to say about the centrality of children, didn’t he?
Without spoiling the film for those of you who have not yet seen it, I will make brief reference to a powerful scene in which the presence of one infant causes two warring factions to cease their gunfire for a few minutes. It was a great moment, a cinematic juxtaposition of military might and an infant’s vulnerability. And guess what? It turns out that the infant is ultimately more powerful!
Funny. The film made me think of Christmas. What do we celebrate at Christmas, after all, but the incarnational proclivities of a God who dares to arrive, not in military garb, but in swaddling clothes?
At any rate, you might want to check out the film.
Recently, I had the privilege and honor of traveling to
The morning sunshine illumines the African land.
A dark-eyed boy saying “bruni, please I take your hand.”
Some women sweep out their houses while some kneel to pray.
The sights and the sounds and the smells usher in a new day.
What’s my reason for coming to such a strange place?
Am I a tourist or am I a servant of grace?
I trusted myself to interpret all of the things that I’d see.
I never dreamed that the things here would interpret me.
There’s no cause for percussion, but the drumbeat is strong.
No cause for music, but they’re quick with a song.
No cause for dancing, yet they do it with ease.
Could it be that the privileged are poorer than these?
In simple cathedrals they bring forth their bold offering.
They’ve nothing to give, yet they manage to give everything.
Like two-hundred widows bestowing their small copper coins.
They dance to the altar where the sweet song of praise is
A culture of poverty saps human dignity.
Brotherhood suffers when a brother is poor.
But I too am needy.There’s a glutton’s graffiti
inscribed on the privileged side of the door.
The evening sunset brings respite from the day’s grueling heat.
Right down the road are some families with nothing to eat.
I weep for their brokenness and weep even harder for mine.
We are joined in our poverty, a union that’s hard to define.
Thanks for allowing me to “unpack” in your presence.
The pewboy is none other than Eric Park. Eric is the husband of an amazing woman. He is the son of a mother and father who are still the people he wants to be when he grows up. He is a passionate reader, movie-goer, songwriter, comic book collector, and surveyor of both popular and unpopular culture. He also happens to be a Christian pastor.