June 20, 2009


Garrison Keillor once remarked: "If you can't go to church and, for at least a moment, be given transcendence; if you can't go to church and pass briefly from this life into the next; then I can't see why anyone should go. Just a brief moment of transcendence causes you to come out of church a changed person." Commenting on this observation, Ken Gire writes, "I have experienced what Garrison Keillor described more in movie theaters than I have in churches. Why? I can't say for sure . . . movies don't always tell the truth, don't always enlighten, don't always inspire. What they do on a fairly consistent basis is give you an experience of transcendence. They let you lose yourself in somebody else's story." What many churches have forgotten and preachers ignore, the movie theater recognizes: "story reigns supreme."

-Robert K. Johnston, Reel Spirituality: Theology and Film in Dialogue

I think there's a lot of truth packed into this paragraph, although there is also a great deal left unsaid that would need to be unpacked. I guess the reason it resonates with me is that I'm just not sure what the Church is peddling sometimes. I don't think the Church is very aware, either. Whatever it is, though, it's something I'm often not interested in.

Not only does the Church not have the market cornered on truth, all too frequently I find that it's not even one of the best sources of truth. The Church has been hijacked by people who are far less interested in truth or faith or even love than they are in rigidly defining a very dubious worldview, manufacturing an enemy that opposes that worldview, and then destroying that enemy. Well, I'm not interested in a war. I'm interested in hearing other people's stories and telling them mine, and in having a conversation about what our stories have to do with Story and what that has to say about how we should live.

Posted by Jared at June 20, 2009 02:42 PM | TrackBack