10Q10Q -- faith, life, rethinking church, following Jesus...stuff

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Saturday, January 11, 2014

Saving Mr. Banks & Why I Have Hope for the Church

    Today my wife & I enjoyed Saving Mr. Banks (Movie Trailer) together at our favorite local theater, the Allen.  I enjoyed the Disney story, the human dynamics, and what struck me most deeply was the story of salvation.

     The title hints at "saving" and takes us to the wounds of families and life journeys. We see these wounds healed, redeemed, restored with a play-filled new vision of old pain.  This is the first layer.  The second, is the saving of a promise and vision, for Walt Disney himself. He honors a 20 year old promise to his daughters even when the challenges are monumental.  Still, what struck even more deeply for me was the metaphorical intersection of this movie and my life of faith, at the intersection of salvation.

     P.L. Travers, author of Mary Poppins, touched me early on with the spirit of fearful propriety.  She held rigidly to a view of her book as it is, not fully aware of the sources of pain she hugged tight by her tenacious guardedness.  Likewise in her entrenched safety could she see the possibility of wholeness and hope.  The church I love, too often has those who don't dare embrace creativity, imagination, and newness.  I can only speculate at the roots and fears, but I feel palpably the persistent survival mentality.

    Walt Disney's spirit of play and possibility spoke hope to me and connected me to life-changing power almost immediately.  And set against Traver's reticence, it  felt remarkably like the tension between those who want to freeze-frame the church in a time recently past and those who dare to dream of a fuller future.

    I understand both fear and imagination.  I hold both within me.  In all fairness, I also have a predilection for creativity and play.  Owning that, what I saw in the movie became, in my experience, a metaphor of new wholeness for the church.  It may be difficult.  Certainly it will take relationship and effort.  Most importantly it can happen when imaginative, creative faith, like that of the God who imagined and created this world to begin with, is embraced.  What a celebration.

    Perhaps a new heaven & a new earth is not a magic kingdom, but it is a place of new happiness, new healing, new wholeness and new possibility.  That's what I'm looking for in my life.  It is my hope for the church.  (Can you imagine a place called church that is fun, freeing, and draws people?)  I believe that playful, creative, learning along with spiritual companions is what makes for a great church as we follow in the steps of Jesus.  What about you? What do you see?