Thursday, March 6, 2014
Saw "Son of God" tonight. Despite the negative review I read prior to seeing it, I thought it was very good. It is a simple, straight forward retelling of the Jesus story. Sure, we could nitpick about the chronology of events, the paraphrasing of scripture, what was left out (e.g., his Baptism and the Transfiguration), and how some stories are condensed or combined. However, all that is part of the necessary poetic/dramatic license one uses to move a narrative along in the cinema. This production's sins were much less than other movie biography of Jesus attempts. "Son of God" did not try to be a cinematic spectacle like the "The Passion of the Christ" or be controversial like "The Last Temptation of Christ." There was no demythologizing or re-imagining going on here. Nothing in the movie would lead one away from Christianity, and it might help someone with a developing faith to better visualize the life of Christ. The Resurrection was presented, unlike Jesus Christ Superstar, and we even got a taste of the Revelation. The flogging/crucifixion were sufficiently gory, but not nearly as much as "The Passion..." With a largely unknown cast, the viewer doesn't get distracted by thinking, "Hey, isn't Pilate being played by Telly Savalas?" And speaking of Pilate, his character here is probably closer to reality, and less romanticized, than other film versions. So see the movie while you can; the audience was less than ten people at the showing I attended. Or, better yet, read the book. I cannot help but also mention that an ELCA website criticized the movie's title, Son of God, because it might offend other religions. I guess some folks are afraid they will accidentally evangelize somebody.
Posted by Pastor Eric at 10:42 PM
Wednesday, March 5, 2014
One of the things that strikes many passengers as strange is the servile attitude of so many of the cruise ship staff, i.e., waiters, bartenders, maids, etc. That is not something we in America are accustomed to. For many of us it is awkward to be so fawned upon. While undoubtedly there is some socio-economic stratification in the USA, we are not nearly as class-oriented some other societies, and being waited on "head-to-toe" on the ship certainly hearkened one back to another era something like "Upstairs Downstairs" or "Downton Abbey". The topic of servanthood seemed to dovetail nicely with Ash Wednesday and the liturgical reading I was doing on the cruise. The meaning of worship is a settled question in Lutheran theology, but not so settled among Lutherans today. The Divine Service is God serving us, blessing us with the benefits of Word and sacrament. Worship is not so much about our offerings and certainly not about entertainment. God gathers us and feeds us. Even our response to His grace is only possible because He enables it. Worship is all about God and not about fundraising, moral education or evangelism. Because God first so loved and served us, we can go out and love and serve others.
Posted by Pastor Eric at 4:30 PM
Tuesday, March 4, 2014
How did a curmudgeon and misanthrope like me ever get to be a pastor? These tips work not only on the ship, but on land too.
- When walking alone down a corridor wide enough for two people, stay to the right side, or at least move to the right when someone approaches from the other direction, so that another person can pass by.
- When walking with another person down a corridor wide enough for two people, and someone approaches from the other direction, do not walk abreast but go single file until the other person has past.
- When getting food from a buffet or beverages from a dispenser, take your meal or drink and then leave the area. Do not stand in front of the serving place holding a conversation and preventing others from receiving their meals and drinks.
- When in an auditorium or dining hall, you may not reserve seats for people who have not arrived when others are present and have no place to sit.
- When entering an elevator, allow the people who are getting off the elevator to exit before you get on.
- Always go to the back of the line, even if you are in a hurry.
- No talking during the safety presentation.
- The announcement about turning off cell phones applies to you too.
Posted by Pastor Eric at 2:38 PM