Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Beginning Of Community

There's a new movie out, called The Way. Directed by Emilio Estevez, starring Martin Sheen.

I read this quote regarding the genesis and meaning behind the film:

I think this story taps into something that’s clearly out there in the culture right now, but can be difficult to put into words without sounding dumb. We’re all stressed out and surrounded by electronic gizmos, we’re all facing economic hardship, and however we choose to articulate it, we’re looking for something more.  

Martin Sheen: Everything’s being ripped away. You’re losing the house, you’re losing your job, and yeah, you’re right, people are beginning to focus on what’s really important. As Americans, we’ve been told, “You can do it.” We’re told to be macho and take responsibility and conquer the world and all this. We don’t give any support to community. Community is an afterthought, but when we get in touch with our loneliness and our guilt and all of these things that are so human, we begin to realize that until you start relating to other people’s brokenness, you can’t heal your own. That’s the beginning of community, I think.

I read things like this and am reminded of the thin veil that truly separates those who pursue spirituality on either side of the walls of our churches. From the smallest, pew-lined traditional Methodist church to the robust icons of the Catholic sanctuary and everything in between - which would include our very non-traditional, "let's-play-a-song-by-Pink" church - we're all broken. We all need to relate to one another. Religion is no respecter of this very human need. Spiritual or not, we are broken, one by one, and we need healing.

We cannot simply heal ourselves. But we can inch closer to healing when somebody's holding our hand or lifting our head, or when we are doing the same for someone else.

The crisis of faith that put me on my knees - truly broken, for the first time in my hard-hearted, independent life - ripped open something in me. When I tasted the dirt of sin in my mouth, when I realized - no, admitted - just how capable I was of doing Awful, Terrible, No-Good Things - I began to heal. Redemption is not cheap, but the painful cost is worth every moment of a life lived in grace. I had to admit to the darkness in my soul.

And then turn my face upward.

You cannot wallow in your circumstance or your despair. When you recognize who you are and of what you are capable, you must take some action. No one is stuck.

No one is beyond grace.

But you must look up.

Sometimes I wonder if, in the midst of all the turmoil in our country, we might find ourselves in the most unlikely sort of revival of spirit and reconnection of all that is "so human". I wonder if, more and more, we might be willing to look around, to relate to others' brokenness.

To look up.

I am going to see this movie.

Read the complete interview here.

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