Faith is forested with metaphorical trees. What was in the middle of Eden that tempted Adam and Eve? Don’t some of the gospel hymns mournfully (and tunefully) declare that Jesus was hung on a tree? Isaiah 55 imagines “the trees of the field shall clap their hands.”
My olde and moldy hardbound Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance (still used enough not to be too dusty), lists more references in the Bible for trees than treasure.
Biblically speaking, when I think of trees, I prefer them literal. They are good for me to read about. Most healthy trees will outlive me. They have deeper roots. I envy their branches. Secretly, I watch them dance. Trees have much to teach. Stop and pay attention. Trees are a treasure.
THE FIGHTER follows Micky Ward (Mark Wahlberg), who became a pro boxing champ in 2000. It’s about tragedy to triumph, boy meets girl, and everyone speaking with funny accents (but there’s no need to use the DVD’s subtitle option).
It’s a film that’s been there (like RAGING BULL, a “true” story) and done that (like ROCKY, the ignored bum). No real surprises.
Except for a huge Oscar-winning surprise. Christian Bale created a character (Ward’s brother Dicky) that clings to old dreams and always babbles about new plans. You know people like Dicky. Mostly, you wish they’d leave, but then they do something graceful and generous and you can’t imagine life without them. Whether Bale’s Dicky hunkered in the background or silently reacted to another character, I couldn’t stop watching him. He deserved his Best Supporting Actor award. Melissa Leo, playing Micky and Dicky’s mother, also won her supporting category. (I would’ve voted for Amy Adams as Micky’s worn down, but fiercely independent girlfriend.)
If you don’t care for fight films, get in “the ring” anyway. The Wards will drive you nuts, but the film provides 115 minutes of flawed people struggling to realize dreams along an honest, entertaining path.
Questions you are invited to use or ignore:
A question I’d ask you over a cup of coffee: Who has been a Dicky in your life . . . where did he or she really make a positive difference for you?
A question I’d ask to get a church group talking: what dream have you had where your persistence/faith did pay off?
It simultaneously feels believable, magical, realistic, eerie, down-to-earth, and spirit-filled. As Snapple ads promote, the twenty-two verses contain some of the “best stuff.”
The 3rd Sunday after Easter – for May 8, 2011
“Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road…” (Luke 24:32)
The story feels gritty, possessing a you-are-there realism. Two guys, Cleopas and an unnamed fellow, tramp toward a village seven miles from Jerusalem. It’s been an awful and awesome weekend. Jesus was killed. Jesus’ resurrection was reported. Did the two need to “get out of Dodge” because of turmoil over the events? Or were they clearing their heads and their zip code to discern feelings? Thus, they scurried for Emmaus, a well-known and safe spot on the map. Then again, perhaps they’re Emmaus-bound because it’s an unfamiliar village, and its newness will help them build a future. Regardless of why they departed Jerusalem or chose Emmaus, I easily picture them.
Cleopas and Unnamed Fellow are so dull-witted. I relate to their stunning ignorance about who joined their Emmaus sojourn. They walk and talk . . . and don’t recognize Jesus. They share “today’s” news and engage in scriptural discussion . . . and don’t recognize Jesus. How often do I search for my cell phone or the book I’m currently reading and not find it? Too often! And how often will my wife calmly point to the table where the “lost” object brazenly rests? It can be worse with friends and family, as I overlook another’s expressed fears or hopes. Cleopas, Unknown Fellow, and I should register for a “Be Here Now” workshop. Continue reading →