Sunday, January 6, 2008

The Menorah

The Menorah (1993) by Roger Wagner, British, b. 1957

Happy Epiphany!

Today is Twelfth Night or the twelfth day of the Christmas season. It marks the liturgical celebration of the magi's arrival at Christ's side with their three gifts. It is also the feast of Christmas for our friends in the Eastern Church. For more info about epiphany, please click here.
You can also catch the Archbishop of Canterbury's new year's message on YouTube but here is an excerpt, which is good for reflection:
In a society where we think of so many things as disposable, where we expect to be constantly discarding last year’s gadget and replacing it with this year’s model - do we end up tempted to think of people and relationships as disposable?
You gotta love an archbishop who goes on YouTube! Well, that's the Church being sensible about how to reach the people. I like to think of Thomas Becket's mind being boggled by all this! Anyway, good food for thought. I heard him speak this past year, and I am much impressed with Rowan Williams.

Inflationary Language

If you want a bit of a giggle, go to this site to read Victor Borge's Inflationary Language sketch. Read it through before going to watch it on YouTube; you'll get more out of the AV version if you are familiar with the text. Great fun!

Film Recoms

The first film I would like to discuss is Jesus Camp (2006 Ewing and Grady), a documentary about evangelical children in the U.S.. There is much that is difficult to swallow in this movie. If it were just little kids saying "I love Jesus", that would be one thing. But consider the following quote from a conversation between a 12 year old and a children's pastor: Levi: At five I got saved... Becky Fisher: Yeah? Levi: ...because I just wanted more of life. Now, I'm sorry, but at 5 you don't have cognitive development that enables such thought; even if you did, this is clearly parroting adult talk. The views expressed by the participants are racist (see the quotes on IMDb if you don't believe me), narrow-minded and threatening. The film also gives Christian homeschoolers a bad name--they are not all fundamentalist. I found Jesus Camp completely frightening and yet it is absolutely required viewing for any Christian.
On the other end of the spectrum is a movie called Into Great Silence (Die Grosse Stille, 2005, Philip Groning), about a French monastery that is considered to be the most ascetic in the world. The Carthusians apparently took 16 years to consider even allowing the film! At times I thought the art direction was superb, at others boring--how unoriginal to be filming dew-covered flowers!!! In any event, the film is almost 3 hours long and almost completely silent--a hyperacutic's dream come true! Amazing how you get drawn into these men's lives, then. And it contained some wonderful surprises. Overall, I would recommend this film with the proviso that you must set aside the 3 hours to watch it uninterrupted, or you won't be able to enter into the spirit of it. If you do this, I promise you your blood pressure will be lower and your spirit calmer by the end of it. Great chilling!