Archive for March, 2006

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

Thursday, March 16th, 2006

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.

Jesus? Yeah, big fan

Saturday, March 4th, 2006

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.