Pastoral Musings from Rain City

it's about 'what is church?' it's about whether 'emergent' is the latest Christian trend or something more substantial. it's musing on what it means to live the city, in America, in community, intergenerationally, at this time in history...

Monday, March 06, 2006

Crash Wins... but where are the answers?

This theme of connection and intimacy keeps cropping up in my life. Sunday night, while I was sitting at the Compline service in Seattle, the cast and directors of Crash were celebrating their underdog victory at the Oscars. Apparently it is the season of the question, for Crash, and every other movie nominated for best picture, were all movies that brought the important questions of our time to the table: racism, intolerance, and homosexuality, along with loss of intimacy (see previous entry). All of these are addressed, caressed, and exposed, in these artistic, brilliantly produced films.

My fear is that we love the question, and that we are proud of ourselves for naming the question, and that we spend a great deal of time fondling the question, dialoguing over the question, dancing with the question, and embracing the question. But the answer? Now that's another story.

Take loss of intimacy for example. Crash addresses isolation, and our propensity to stereotype and bring our anger and hurt from one relationship into another relationship. Yes. We do that. And more... we disengage even from people we love in order to protect ourselves from further pain. We become survivalists, refusing to risk authenticiy and love because of potential pain that might be added to an already painful life. So, in our attempt to live on and preserve ourselves, something in us dies. I think Jesus mentioned this somewhere.

But death isn't a pleasant option either, so we medicate with substitutions for intimacy. Maybe it's mind numbing TV, or eating, or exercise, or meaningless sex. In so doing we settle for a shallow version of life and our fear, intolerance, stereotyping, and disengagement remain. And yet we pour a glass of wine and feel enlightened because we watched Crash and Brokeback Mountain.

We like to ask the question. But I think we don't like the answer - because the answer is Jesus. The reality is that in this fallen world EVERY relationship will be tainted to some extent, even with our spouses and closest friends. And when we feel betrayed, or hurt, or isolated by those we love, THE REAL QUESTION IS THIS: What do I do? To disengage and crawl into my shrunken world of addiction seem to be popular options. Perhaps we medicate by buying more stuff. But the question remains.

The scriptures indicate that the question will remain forever, until we are willing to take up our mantle, which is the ministry of reconcilliation. It begins with my own reconciliation with God, and moves our from there... reconciliation with my family, with my friends, my neighbors, my enemies. We will need to work hard at this. We'll need to put ourselves 'out there' in the vulnerable place. We'll get hurt. And when we do, we'll be tempted to hide behind some numbing escape. But if we'll go to our Shepherd with that pain, we'll find the strength to love, and serve, and enter in once again.

Enough preaching for a Monday evening... but I must say, these truths are deeply real to me right now, not only as a pastor, but as a person. Do I love the question more than the answer? Or am I willing to enter in to the hard work, and great adventure of reconciliation, honesty, and all the rest of it. I wish the answer would CRASH into me, but so far... it's quiet.


At 7/3/06 14:20, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Talk about hitting the nail on the head man. In our increasingly postmodern culture we're all about the story, the issue, but not a solution.

Christ is the only solution. Thanks for the call to begin the work or reconciliation.

At 8/3/06 19:49, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very thoughtful and timely. Thanks for sharing!!!

At 9/3/06 12:00, Blogger Very Berry Daiquiri said...

It's as if you're talking directly to me. problem is that I'm so far from Christ, I don't even have the strength to turn around and see him standing there with arms outstretched.

I'm locked in what I think is self-preservation and isolation. I don't know how to just let go of it all and let Christ come near.


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