Monday, May 19, 2008

Princes, Kings and Queens

Our Order of Worship from Sunday just passed had a profound quote, worth sharing:
“Be not angry that you cannot make others as you wish them to be, since you cannot make yourself as you wish to be.”
Thomas A’Kempis
And, yesterday afternoon, as C. S. Lewis (esp. Narnia) fans, we had to go see Prince Caspian. Very enjoyable, though from recollection it doesn't follow the book as well as the first. I'm rereading it to confirm those thoughts. Reviews called it "darker" in tone and more violent than the The Lion, Witch & Wardrobe. Didn't see that. There was, however, severe underlighting at the very first part of the movie that made the beginning hard to visualize; and some of the dialogue, overridden by the sound track, seemed a bit difficult to follow.

But, all this was made up for in the scene where Caspian was urged by Nikabrik to bring back the White Witch. Without revealing a lot of what happens, the immagery following Edmund's rescue of Peter and Caspian, while keeping the White Witch at bay, is majestic beyond description. That moment, for followers of Narnia, is worth the price of admission unto itself.

So, where do I stand on the film? If you're a Narnian at heart you'll love it. Great filmmaking? Probably not. A good afternoon's entertainment for the family? Absolutely!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

A question

Exerpted from todays news:

Myanmar's military regime distributed international aid Saturday but plastered the boxes with the names of top generals in an apparent effort to turn the relief effort for last week's devastating cyclone into a propaganda exercise.

"We have already seen regional commanders putting their names on the side of aid shipments from Asia, saying this was a gift from them and then distributing it in their region," said Mark Farmaner, director of Burma Campaign UK, which campaigns for human rights and democracy in the country. "It is not going to areas where it is most in need," he said in London.

The junta has refused to grant access to foreign experts, saying it will only accept donations from foreign charities and governments, and then will deliver the aid on its own.
So rather than an observation today, I offer earnest questions:

What is the Christian response to this tragedy?

Should we provide means for the "Herodians" to further their power and position, knowing that almost all aid and comfort sent will not be provided to those most needy or rather withhold aid because of the same knowledge; or even work counter to the current administration and their directives in an effort to provide sustenence and care for the least of these, by force if necessary, knowingly circumventing the government and furthering the civil unrest?

Truly, I don't know.

Monday, May 05, 2008

You only have to die

Went to see John, His Story at the theater last Saturday night. It was performed by Jeanette Clift George’s A D Players from Houston and was uber well done; her take on The Gospel of John in one act. Part of it really got me to thinking “outside the box”, as I am wont to do from time to time. In the 3rd chapter of John, Christ says: “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.” I understand that conventional wisdom says this speaks to Baptism and is in fact the basis for that Sacrament.

A while back I also started a post on Robert Farrar Capon's Kingdom, Grace and Judgement that I never got around to finishing. I was struck by Capon’s thoughts regarding salvation. He emphasizes, more than once, the point that: "Death is absolutely all of the Resurrection we can now know. The rest is faith."

Which put into my head the song lyric: "You only have to die." Took me a good half hour to recall where that music was from. I kept thinking of a James Bond movie, but finally realized it's in Jesus Christ, Superstar, one of my favorite musicals. I continue to be awed by the profundity of Rice and Weber's music and lyrics, as I am likewise by Fr. Capon's theology.

I think where I'm going with this is that we are frequently blind to the true teachings of grace. No one, I repeat NO ONE, is going to make it:
1.) on their own works. It doesn't matter how good we are, we are all still sinful.
2.) without dying, accepting death, our actual physical death, in this world.
Both of those statements seem to be absolute truth.

What Capon was emphasizing is not live for today because tomorrow you have as good a shot as anyone at justification; but rather, that God found His creation so wonderful that He was willing to undertake the ultimate sacrifice to redeem it. For in truth, only He was capable of meeting the requirement of a perfect sacrifice.

Which finally brings me back to “being born again.” What do you suppose was John’s thought regarding that particular passage? An injunction to practice Baptism or rather possibly that only by the acceptance of physical death as we know it are we able to be born again into new life.

Quien sabe? “You only have to die.”