Crash into the Gospel
I spent last night watching “Crash” with 15 students from Canada and Germany who are in Seattle this week to learn about what it means to be a ‘witness’ to Christ’s life in an urban setting. The discussion that followed the movie was good, and watching the movie a 2nd time was, for me, a very powerful experience. It was unfolding while the music from “Rent” was wafting down from upstairs, and somehow the convergence of the two films spoke of the single powerful theme that characterizes our culture: We’re cut-off from intimacy. There are other themes, especially in Crash: pluralism, materialism, racism, and how expedient our integrity is when money is more important than relationships. But all of it, I’m convinced, is ultimately rooted in loss of intimacy.
What Crash does so marvelously is remind us that we’re all held captive in some way. Our captors wear many masks: fear, racism, greed, materialism, addiction, busyness. Each of these captivities wound us and create a propensity to label others, reducing complex and unique individuals who are made in the image of God, to inhuman categories: homeless, gay, Arab, etc. on the one hand, or corporate, wealthy, white-male, workaholic, conservative on the other. Either way, when the label becomes the person, we’ve become complicit in the problem of our time: we've furthered alienation and loss of intimacy.
This loss of intimacy is, for many of us, precisely where the gospel meets us. (that's powerful stuff - the part about recognizing no man according the flesh) Boris Kornfield a Russian Jew of met Christ in the 50's, spoke of finding more freedom in the captivity of the Gulag than he’d ever had ‘outside’ because his deepest longings had been met in Christ – he’d encountered a lover. And his story is told over and over again, through countless captivities down through the ages. It’s ironic that we, in our freedom, often have a hard time with God because of the suffering peoples in the world, while the suffering are the ones who often meet Christ, find healing and intimacy in His love and became agents of healing for others around them.
The plague of isolation is getting worse, with all its attendant fears and hatred. We need, like Kornfield, and encounter with Christ so that the deepest longings for intimacy in each of our hearts can be addressed. Then, out from that place, we receive an invitations to become reconcilers in a world of enemies, beacons of hope and courage in a tired, fearful world. That’s a calling worth my time and, I hope, yours.