Randy Greenwald

Concerning Life as It Is Supposed to Be

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There is the story of the baseball umpire who would not stay in place, but wandered all over the field during a game. Before his superiors could correct this behavior, he was struck by a line drive, knocked out cold, and removed from the field on a stretcher. And that marked the Fall of the Roamin’ Umpire.

I’m not an umpire, but I’ve been roamin’ widely through the holiday period. I’m not yet ‘fallen’ but I’ve had to grow silent until such time as a normal rhythm returns.

In the meantime, over the weekend a few posts crossed in front of me capturing two of my passions, movies and the church, which I felt merit passing on.

The first comes from Scot McNight, responding to the all too common “I love Jesus; I have no room for the church” sentiment. He suggests that those espousing such ideas need to hear Bonhoeffer reminding us

that we must, must, must surrender our ideals of the church and learn to live with its brokenness and the brokenness of all those connected to it. The fundamental problem is that the person who thinks this way thinks more highly of himself or herself than of others, sets himself or herself apart, and acts if he or she is superior. There is a communion table at the front of the church for a reason — because that’s what brings us together, not our competence in Christian living.

Well put.

Also concerning the church, or at least Christian culture, is the helpful attempt by Mike Osborne of University Presbyterian Church to correct the strange vocabulary of contemporary Christians.

I continue to believe that one of the strangest things about us Christians is our specialized vocabulary. Surely it accounts for at least some of the disconnect between us and our non-believing neighbors.

He takes on a number of phrases, some of which may be your favorites. Curious what you think.

And finally, on a different note, there is this well written review of the movie Her. I found the trailer for this movie creepy, and its premise disturbing. But the review leads me to want to see it. The reviewer, Lauren Wilford, says the central question the movie confronts is not the technological question, but rather, “What is it like to share your life with someone?”

What unfolds as we realize this is a poignant exploration of the questions that come in the middle of any thoughtful relationship. How do you grow without growing apart? Which differences between people are workable, and which are too fundamental to ignore? How do you reveal yourself to someone without scaring that person? And how do you offer grace in the midst of a love you’re losing, a love you’ve lost?

These seem to be the kinds of questions that are good to talk about.

And, as a side piece of the movie, Scarlett Johansson is making quite an impression as a star in a movie in which you never see her. As the reviewer notes:

Yes, my favorite Scarlett Johansson performance occurs in a film where you never see her body. The implication is not lost on me.

This one will have to go on my list.

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2 Comments

  1. Always enjoy the “grist” you pick up and pass along. Already want to talk about the “relationship” questions. Surely it is a mistake to think that the person we are seeking to share our lives with is any more stable or mature or together than we are. To ask, “what will she think?” is to make a god of her. For some strange reason, we project God’s privilege to judge onto those we hope will love us. Why do we do this? Does all love in the final analysis strum the deepest chord of our being – people created to know the love of God and realizing we don’t deserve it?

  2. Suzanne

    Three altogether different, but interesting topics.
    1) I enjoyed the blog by Scot McKnight, although I somewhat disagree with the statement implying “communion” is what brings us together. Coming together and taking communion certainly stirs the heart with remembrance and gratitude for the sacrifice that was made for us, and reminds us to uphold each other in prayer, but once it’s over, I feel many go about the next 6 days with little to no communication with each other. Do we really know, or put effort into getting to know, those we take communion with? Do we really care about those we take communion with? I think churches would be very different if this were the case.
    Stephen feels that people haven’t given up on God but as he stated
    “They’re sick of the hypocrisy, judgment, infighting, fear, and shame associated with institutionalized “Christianity.” What does the statement that we must surrender our ideals of the church and learn to live with its brokenness really mean? Are we accepting the brokenness by ignoring it and claiming communion will bring us together?

    2) I read Mike’s blog. Interesting, and I agree that sometimes we lose people with our cliche’ phrases and our formality. Perhaps it’s better to pattern ourselves after Jesus with how he reached out to the non-believers. Communication is key.

    3) I am probably the worst person to weigh in on the topic of relationships. I am not sure I believe that love is renewed once it is lost, being one that walked away as a result. I have heard many stories from those who claim that it has been restored, however; I often wonder, did real love and commitment take place, or did one just settle? I would think there is hope, when the love is not lost completely. I do know from experience that relationships require MUCH effort, sometimes to the point of exhaustion, which leave little room to “feel” the love, or whatever we imagine that love should be.
    I also know from experience that the grass is not necessarily greener on the other side of the fence. Most couples don’t want to admit to each other, let alone to others, that their love is wavering, let alone lost. I do think that if we are honest, most of us know enough about our partner to know if the relationship is not working, so why not discuss it? Most people hide their true thoughts and are not willing to be brutally honest. Some people like to hold on to the hurts/differences that divide them, so it’s hard to ever move forward. Even if you are completely open and honest, not all people are willing to change. If there is any hope of rekindling a flickering flame, there must be complete honesty, and a willingness to make an effort, by both persons. One person cannot save the relationship.
    Anyway, anxious to see the movie “Her” as I’m always intrigued by others view on life, and love.
    As always, and the reason I don’t respond much, this is very lengthy for which I apologize.

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