Tuesday, July 17, 2012

I love old movies

I love old movies.  I especially love old musicals.  When my boys were little, they would scour television guides and find films they thought I would love.  Their criteria was if the movie was so old that it was in black and white, mum would really enjoy it.  One day, my eldest came to me and said "Mum, you would love this movie.  Its so old all the actors are dead now!" 

The other day I was watching "Singing In The Rain" on television.  I have seen this film so many times I could almost quote the lines.  I knew all the songs off by heart and was singing along.  About two thirds the way through the film, there was a scene where Gene Kelly sang "Gotta Dance" and he tapped danced until Cyd Charisse came along and they dance together in grace filled ballet where she was supposed to be a bride with a long train.  I was mesmerised, not just because of the beauty of the dance but because I had forgotten all about this scene.  

How could I forget about a scene in a film I had watched more than a dozen times?  I was a little shocked about it and wondered why.  The ballet was at odds with the rest of the film with singing and tap dancing, so it should have stood out in my memory.  

I spent some time thinking about it and I came to this conclusion: Sometimes, we get so caught up in things that we are used to and when a situation arises which is at odds with what we expect or know, we can dismiss it or reject it outright.

In particular, Christians like and accept things that sit well with us but if we hear teachings that challenge us, we reject them as wrong and maybe even heresy.  

I spoke with my minister about this as I was struggling with a message I had heard.  He simply said sermons or homilies as he called them, are not meant to make us comfortable but to make us think.  I didn't go away happy because I wanted him to tell me I was right in my opinions. 

He didn't say as much but meant when we hear a message we should think about it, research, read the bible, pray, talk to each other and see whether our thinking should be challenged or confirmed.

You wouldn't go to a cafeteria and expect everything to be pre-chewed by the chef, so why should we expect the same from our ministers and pastors?  As church goers, do we spend that time in prayer and listening to the spirit within us or do we want everything spelt out for us and told how to think?   Does that mean we shouldn't trust our teachers?  No!  God has placed those teachers before us  to lead us and feed us.  However, we shouldn't rely on them to  pre-chew our food.

This week, if someone says something that we feel is wrong doesn't sit right with us, we should take what they say and really decide whether we agree or disagree instead of parroting words we have heard from the pulpit.  There is nothing wrong in saying,"I'm not sure if I agree with you on this.  You've challenged me and I'd like to think about it and then come back and talk to you about it."  Yes, its scary but we are allowed to think for ourselves.  We should never give up the right to think for ourselves.

The dance we perform might not be as graceful as Cyd Charisse and Gene Kelly with long flowing trains, and we may wobble and fall over but it will be memorable and authentic and our dance, the one God has choreographed for us.

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