Thursday, 16 March 2006

Sorry but I have to leave to meet my man (and his name is Tony Soprano)

I was at dinner with business friends last night. It is a new adventure and we are getting to know each other. What a great time — personal stories — industry stories — personal industry stories — what a fun night.

About 8 pm somebody mentions that they have to be home by 9, and, secretly, I wonder if they need to be home by 9 for the same reason I need to be home by 9.

Someone else (who is not me because I’m trying to be discreet) asks, “Why 9?”

Sopranos.

Yes! I am not the only one (oh, how that question drives so many of our internal conversations and decisions) — someone else is having the same affair that I am.

There is a nod of unspoken understanding by half the table as it dawns on us there are quite a few of us having the same affair.

Half the table was traveling when last Sunday’s series premier aired and have been anticipating the rerun like INSERT_FAVORITE_LONGING_METAPHOR_HERE.

The other half has seen it and is itching to talk about it. (They agree to keep mum until the AM — minimal extortion is involved).

In the course of the conversation I mention that I lead film forums on the Sopranos and have a handout that I’ve used in the past. I promise to make it available and so here it is — my Sopranos Film and Culture Handout — haven’t updated it in a couple of years (kids you know), but still use it regularly.

Enjoy.

Saturday, 4 March 2006

Jesus? Yeah, big fan

So many cool words have been trashed by idiots.

As someone who has followed Jesus for 25+ years, I hardly have anything to call myself that doesn’t evoke warranted cringes from colleagues and peers or sound like a politically correct lame duck phrase (‘Christ follower’ ?? whatever).

Yes, I am a Christian, but not in the vein of Jerry Falwell or Pat Robertson — not at all — those guys drive me nuts (so much so that I wish I could cut them out of my spiritual family entirely, but I can’t – which is another post for another day).

The Christianity I identify with has a different set of heroes from the last century — folks like G.K. Chesterton, C.S. Lewis, Tolkien, Mother Teresa, MLK.

And yet, saying to people outside of my spiritual community that I am a ‘Christian’ evokes more of the former and less of the latter — so much so that I’ve been looking for a better way to describe myself in the various communities I inhabit.

(I suppose you could say I’m looking for a more authentic brand, if you’d rather get facetious about it).

I came across an interview with Bono a while ago that began to hit the nail on the head for me. In it he says —

The most powerful idea that’s entered the world in the last few thousand years — the idea of grace — is the reason I would like to be a Christian.

Though, as I said to The Edge one day, I sometimes feel more like a fan, rather than actually in the band. I can’t live up to it. But the reason I would like to is the idea of grace. It’s really powerful.

I like that idea — ‘fan of Jesus’ as Bono describes it there — it’s got a large helping of humility in it, something that seems to be lost in many of our cross tribal conversations of late.

So, I think I’ll use that phrase for a while — and when I do, know that by it I mean I follow Jesus in a robust inkling Mere Christianity sort of way.