It's been busy - hence the lack of blogging this month. Christmas is jammed full of stuff - planning services, visiting people, sorting out things that'll have to happen early in the New Year, shopping, writing Christmas cards, etc
In the middle of all that we've been doing a short Advent series on Jesus @ the movies. We reflected on grace and vocation through Babette's Feast and we looked at whether there were tips on movie watching from Paul's visit to Athens (Acts 17:16-34), while taking in material from Pay it Forward and X Men 2. It's been fascinating.
One thing it's confirmed is that this way of doing theology has a lot to do with age, temperament and upbringing. There are people in my church who think we've nothing to learn from the movies and indeed never visit cinemas, while there are others who try to watch a film a week and who reflect on what those films are saying about God, us and the meaning of life.
A number of things have struck me from all this. One is the number of Hollywood people who are committed Christians. I was particularly struck by the fact that Scott Derrickson, writer and director of the Exorcism of Emily Rose - a film I haven't seen - is a committed Christian, a graduate of Biola University and he has some fascinating things to say about Christians and horror movies.
I guess the main thing that doing this brief series has reinforced to me is that God is concerned about what's happening in the world beyond the Christian ghetto and that he wants his people out there mixing it with people who hold all kinds of views about life. That's what Paul did in Athens - he walked the streets, read the history, got into the poets and philosophers and engaged in debate and discussion.
There's a such a contrast between Paul and so many of us. We're not interested in dialoguing with the world. We seek a monologue - where we speak and the world listens. We don't know enough about what our neighbours are thinking and saying to be able to engage in a conversation with them about things that concern them.
Hollywood composer Barry Taylor reminds us that there's a great debate happening across America - and I guess across the UK too - concerning God. But the church isn't involved because it's happening in movies theatres and by and large we don't go there. That's a pity because Paul would.