Sunday, March 11, 2007

Trying something else...

So, if you've been here before, you know that I use movies to inform my life. Not to tell me what to do or how to live my life, but to inform me. Apparently, it's a very right brained way of looking at life.

Yesterday's talk from Tim Keel of Jacob's Well was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G.

I can't do it justice so soon afterwards, so I'll try something else.

Jerry Maguire. Yes. Jerry Maguire. I saw this movie on a first movie date* (which I do not recommend--it's too deep for a first movie date, but the guy I was dating was big into "the gift giving holidays" so he was always giving me stuff. Ergo, I have Twister, one of the best movies ever, and Jerry Maguire. I wonder if he still has any of the stuff I gave him...the only other thing I think I've kept from that relationship is a beautifully illustrated book of Psalms. But that's another story, for another day.

I love this movie, because he's on top of the world, he crashes his own world, his world crashes, and then slowly, his life rebuilds.

Act 1: Jerry Maguire, top sports agent
Act 2: Writes a mission statement. Thinks everyone loves it.
Act 3: Everyone hates it, he gets fired and loses all his clients except two.
Act 4: He loses his other client--now he has one, and that one has an attitude problem
Act 5: He gets married to his business partner Dorothy because he likes her kid.
Act 6: The marriage fails.
Act 7: Jerry starts spending all his time with his one client, the one with the attitude problem.
(Hmm--the mission statement talks about this: more time with clients...)
The 4 am miracle: His client has a concussion, realizes that he is Beloved (at least by his fans) and he is transformed into this guy that loves everyone.
Act 8: Jerry realizes that he wants to share all this with Dorothy, who is in the room with all the divorced women.
Act 9: Jerry runs through the airport
Act 10: Jerry professes love to his wife and she accepts his love and...CURTAIN.

So, yesterday's talk needs a reading list. First stop: Henri Nouwen's article on Solitude to Ministry in 3 easy steps. (Um, that's a little's not easy at all.)

This article is essential. Here's a quote:

"So often in ministry, I have wanted to do it by myself. If it didn't work, I went to others and said, 'Please!' searching for a community to help me. If that didn't work, maybe I'd start praying."

I did not go to Sunday School. I got halfway down Euclid and realized I couldn't find the spoon I'd washed and thrown in my bag so that I could eat the yogurt on the way...does this sound familiar? I sat at a stop sign long enough to think, I need to rethink this. I found two more dirty spoons on the floor of the passenger side of my car. So I drove home. Because I needed to find that Henri Nouwen article.

Here's where Jerry Maguire comes in: There's the point in the movie where Dorothy says to Jerry, "Read what you wrote." Here's how Henri Nouwen puts it:

"Once in a while [my friends] say 'I have good advice: Why don't you read some of your own books?'"

And you know what, I'm not ready to read the last part of the article. I skimmed it. Because I'm not ready. I read the Solitude part and the Community part. I'm not ready to read the Ministry part. And I think Henri (and Tim) would be down with that. Because the concept of the article (though you really should read it) is that until you realize who you are in solitude (Beloved) you can't be in community. You will just be grabbing at people and saying, I'm lonely, you're lonely, let's get together and...well, what is that phrase, "Misery loves company?"

It's true: in my lonliness, I have become "violent and demanding and manipulative" (Henri's words).

So I'm willing to experiment for a while. I'm willing to see what God is doing in my life. And then maybe I can see what he's doing in the lives of people at the Open Door. And then maybe, someday, I can reach out to my world. Stumbling, every single step, but dancing, because I am Beloved.

Community is the place where you say, "I forgive you for only loving me a little bit. Can you forgive me for only loving you a little bit?"

This is something I have found true in my life but I've never seen it in print before this: "In the spiritual life, discipline means to create that space in which something can happen that you haven't planned or counted on."

Oh, and here's the other article Tim referenced: "Revenge of the Right Brain"

Thinking ahead: a post called, "If you build it they will come: Attractional or Attractive? What baseball movies have to say about building community."

Where you'll find me: on the sofa re-watching Jerry Maguire, and later at the movies, re-watching Amazing Grace (another movie about a failure that suceeded.)

*first movie date=not the first date, but the first movie you see as a couple.


Amy A. said...

I love that you use the movies to explain your thoughts in your blog, too.

That community definition makes me sad. I want to be loved a lot and I want to love a lot, but I know I'm selfish with my love toward people who are not easily loveable. We all need to get over ourselves, huh?

Sarah Louise said...

Amy, yes.

I'm still feeling quite violent and manipulative in my solitude (not yet at the Beloved, or maybe it just comes in fits and spurts) and so at church Sunday it helped me to just say (see next post about Tim Keel) in my head to the people around me "I forgive you for only loving me a little."

It is so hard to be human!!

And I don't think I could live without movies. Or books. Tim Keel said that when he was in seminary he had to read twice as much fiction to counteract the theology. I love that! He hadn't read Gilead yet and I strongly recommended it to him. More on that later.