Saturday, January 26, 2008

The Bucket List - Go See This Movie!

What things would you do....if you knew you only had months to live? And, would your station in life dictate what you could or would do? Would you wonder about yourself, your journey through life, and about what it is all about? Would you wonder about God? Would you make things right with those whom you may have hurt? Would you leave earth with "your eyes closed, and your heart open"?

Nancy and I went to the movies today, and had the wonderful opportunity to think about all these things. Given the loss of my Mom and Dad during the past two years, this was an emotional film for me, and a wonderful opportunity to reflect yet again on what makes this life such an amazing ride.

Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson combine to pull off this movie with grace and charm, complimenting each other all the way along. My favorite moment comes as Jack and Morgan are flying to Italy on he polar route at night. Its a full moon out, and Morgan comments on the wonder of Creation. This leads to a remarkable conversation between someone who believes and someone who does not that I loved. Its honest and real. In the end, Morgan's summary comment is, "Yes, but I believe". Simple, yet wonderful.

Go see this movie..... immediately.

From "Say" by John Mayer......theme to the movie, "Bucket List"

Have no fear for giving in
Have no fear for getting older
You better know that in the end its better to say too much
Than to never to say what you need to say again
Even if your hands are shaking
And your faith is broken
Even as the eyes are closing
Do it with a heart wide open
Why? Say what you need to say

Shallow Christians & The New Monastics

Today's LA Times has an interesting, fair, and thoughtful article on The New Monastics.

I found this article interesting and refreshing, having known this form of faith expression for a number of years, both through my church and the urban ministries it has birthed, and in the larger community of Los Angeles.

Thankfully, the writer was careful to describe the real journey, and not detour into yet another patronistic view of well-meaning Christian folk. Thank you, Stephanie Simon.

Two things struck me from my reading. First, it seems this well-meaning bad of believers in Montana formed their new Christian community out of a sense of deep disconnection and disaffection with the Christian Church. Well then, lets chalk another one up for the great accomplishments of modern organized religion. Well meaning, serious people, those seeking after God, who feel isolated and disconnnected from the church. Does this theme feel familiar?

Had the local church been doing more to meet the needs of these young families and singles, perhaps the desire to form a monastic community would have taken an entirely different form. Maybe a community of Believers formed organically from out of the church body, young and old, married and single, rich and poor. Or a different way to live together, perhaps not in the same home, but with shared and intentional lives. Idealistic maybe, but interesting to ponder.

Secondly, I was impressed by the need for rules and order, and the struggle to complete daily tasks, even in this little community. It felt like being single and just out of college all over again. The annoying roommate who never cleans up, the undone dishes, the empty fridge. Add to this the complication of little kids, single and married people living together, and you have the ingredients for a relational mess. Tough stuff, this living out the Kingdom of God on earth!

But again, lurking subtly in the background is the failing of the organized church to provided meaningful relationship, authentic community, and a new way of living. I have also experienced Christian community that leaves me feeling sad, wanting more, unsatisfied. Friendships and relationships that once seemed so important so crucial, yet over time turn out to be not much better than what the rest of the world has to offer. Yet, I have also enjoyed deep and abiding friendships in the church that are of greater meaning than I could have imagined. Where are the real answers to these big questions of community, I wonder?

It makes me sad. The Bride of Christ, looking poorly dressed, yet again.

Is there a better way, a way to connect our lives in a more meaningful way? What does real Christian community look like? I wonder, and I hope.
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