Posts Tagged ‘Identity’


Ah, Maundy Thursday cinema at the Chateau Ragan Cinema last night was busy, after Overcomer, we enjoyed a new Tom Hanks movie, A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood (2019) which touches on an interview from 1998 that Mr. Rogers granted to an investigative journalist from Esquire, Lloyd Vogel. The premise does sound a bit pedestrian I admit, but it is a story of service, authenticity and reconciliation. Seeing some connections between the themes of Holy Week and Maundy Thursday? In the idea that at the Last Supper, each disciple spent time intimately being served by Jesus, in full presence as he washed their feet, confirmed who they were, and that they were loved just as they are… even Judas, who Jesus confirmed had to do what he was destined to do.

So we meet Mr. Fred Rogers, a man humbly called into service in a medium to reach out to families and the children of the world. Who his wife admits struggles sometimes with anger, but it is how he chooses to respond. That lays out some daily spiritual practice, of walks, alone time, presence, prayer (praying for each person by name he knows), when he meets new people and is blessed to spend moments of life with him so he can share the full story with his beloved wife. A neat aside is that during the making of extras, Mrs. Rogers would share that Tom Hanks was her husband’s favourite actor (and really, who else could we see playing Mr. Rogers)…Full disclaimer time, as a Canadian lad, I was more fond of Mr. Dressup (and hey CBC–how about a documentary and t.v. movie????), but whose life has not been touched or shaped in some way by Mr. Rogers’ and his simple living of kindness and presence?

See the source imageThe idea that each child has value as a child, not for what they will become, but who they simply are. Read that again, value for being.  The simple notion of the Imageo Dei, brought to the screen for every child. He is America’s family and child pastor.

Vogel is assigned a feature for Esquire on Mr. Rogers. He is used to digging under the surface, exposing hypocrisy, and the evil under the surface. Vogel is actually the main character of the movie, with Mr. Rogers as the spiritual guide in the journey of truth, love, forgiveness, and reconciliation that awaits his new friend, Mr. Vogel. For Vogel the first step is beginning to understand that kindness and love, can exist in another for others, with no strings attached. True friendship, an echo of the time when Jesus took a towel and water, and said they were not master-student, but friends…

It is a story of true identity. Knowing your identity. Living your identity. In simplicity of life. (Mr. Rogers’ theme as subway sing a long here).

It is a beautiful day in the neighbourhood, despite our current circumstances. You have value for being. You are beloved, and belong.

The final closing thought is a beautiful spiritual practice from the film to share,

Take a minute, and just be with

the memories of all those that have and are loving you into being.

 

For some fun, watch the blooper reel, watch here.

Overcomer: Who are you?

Posted: April 10, 2020 by Ty in Spirituality
Tags: , ,

During this time of social/physical distancing we have probably been watching more movies than normal (or maybe not), maybe with the closure of the public library we are spending more time buying movies during our weekly grocery excursions is more to the point. This brings us to a movie my daughter has been wanting to see for quite a while, and each time a church offered a movie night for it- it just did not work out. Last night, on Maundy Thursday though it fit.

Maundy Thursday is the day in Holy Week, where we discover Communion/Eucharist, where we read as a family in 1 John last night about living out what we believe authentically. Where Brother Jesus, as the early Johannine community would write, washed the disciples feet and instituted the Sacrament of Service, and renewed the commandment to Love as he loved us. That is having what you say, do, and believe work together in a complete holistic self. That is, who are you really? What defines you?

See the source imageThis is the underlying premise of the Christian Movie, The Overcomer (2019), where a small town basketball coach, John Harrison, whose whole identity is defined by what he does, loses his identity and to keep working becomes a cross-country coach for a team of one, a girl with asthma, Hannah. The story is one of discovery of true self, of being able to speak one’s own truth, of learning truth, forgiveness and reconciliation (and for the frugal it was in the $10 bin at Wal-Mart). It is a decently written movie, not Shakespeare, but familiar in the style of a Kendrick Brothers’ movie, the type of movie one picks up for popcorn for the brain but can also have discussion with family and friends about it or even self reflection themselves.

The key turning point is centered on some writings of pseudo-Paul from the Christian Testament. Ephesians 1 & 2:

Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God,

To the saints who are in Ephesus, and faithful in Christ Jesus:

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Redemption in Christ

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He [a]made us accepted in the Beloved.

In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and [b]prudence, having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, 10 that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, [c]both which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him. 11 In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, 12 that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.

13 In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who[d] is the [e]guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.

Prayer for Spiritual Wisdom

15 Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, 16 do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, 18 the eyes of your [f]understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power 20 which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all principality[g] and [h]power and [i]might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.

22 And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, 23 which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.

By Grace Through Faith

And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the [j]course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.

But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

Brought Near by His Blood

11 Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh—who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands— 12 that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.

Christ Our Peace

14 For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, 15 having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, 16 and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. 17 And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near. 18 For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.

Christ Our Cornerstone

19 Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, 22 in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.

(New King James Version)

So, the question lives dangling is what defines you, or more aptly:

Who are you?

 


Image result for death of supergirl crisis coverFor comic fans 1984 was a big year. It was the year of the 12 part Crisis on Infinite Earths mini-series from DC Comics, the first ever cross over in a comic universe that shook the foundations and brought the deaths of Supergirl and The Flash (Barry Allen). Flash forward to the CW Arrow-verse and it has been a recurring theme in the Flash t.v. show, Crisis and the Flash’s vanishing, it has shaped his character and actions knowing that it is about preparing his family, friends and team for the time in history when he is no longer there. That’s right, Barry’s identity has been shaped by this momentous martyrdom.

Image may contain: 4 people, people standing and suitHit 2019 and the Crisis on Infinite Earths cross over hits the airwaves, and the Flash episode is the 3rd part (and since we have Netflix and not cable in my house, sadly the only part we get).

But it was fun. What kind of fun? Two of my favourite dark universe creations, John Constantine Hellblazer goes searching for the soul of Green Arrow in purgatory and on Earth 666, Luci (yes I love Luci as a great foil, and he was in pure splendid Vertigo form).

Aside from these types of team ups…the core story was the time for Barry Allen to Martyr himself. It is like vocation for all of us, we have a career path, what we do in life, whether or not we want it to, it is what defines us  because it is what society asks us to define who we are in our societal caste system. Employment/career/vocation you are what you do.

This is what Flash is in this moment, a hero, a soon to be martyr. Yet to stop the anti-matter wave of destruction he is not the only Flash, there is the Earth-90 Flash (yes the 1 season fun show on CBS) is there as well…and…well a Flash perishes to stop the crisis, and our Flash of Earth-1 is left stripped of the identity that had defined his herodom.

It was glanced over rapidly in the episode obviously his move through the emotional spectrum, but it is something to remind us when friends are unemployed, or something has shifted health wise so that they may not be doing what they used to do. It is a trauma to them. May sound like a powerful word, but it is a word that builds an image I hope, as it is something that cuts to the core of identity that society has shaped us with–it is about our purpose in community. As such, it takes us through the stages of change and grieving whether you use Kubler-Ross, Stages of Change or U-Theory (or a plethora of others) there is the event- the struggle (anger/denial/bartering) acceptance- healing– moving forward…

Too often though we trap ourselves within the microcosm of pain…and lose ourselves in the anger and denial over our current spot in life. What is lost when that happens is that we cannot see through the current darkness to follow the constant light to what awaits. For with each challenge, loss, grief, that we continue to walk through the valley of– a new and better us emerges. Wiser, and more able to be the authentic us, and define who we are through our true core values not a faux litmus test of society. This was what was glanced over in mere minutes of the episode for Barry (Flash), that if it had not been a cross over would’ve made an exceptional story arc of re-establishing who he was as a hero without the identity of self-sacrifice.

As we move through change whether chosen or forced, it is about re-focusing, and re-establishing who we are, stronger in the here and now.

BUT

We must make the journey through the valley, and not freeze at the lowest point, but rise into the light of the new.