Thursday, October 25, 2007

biting!

Clare came home from daycare today with a very symmetrical distinct round of teethmarks on her shoulder. Yep, she got bit today.

I know that this is fairly normal but I feel almost ready to bite someone myself...that maternal protective instinct is fierce!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

for the Bible tells me so

On Saturday night Brent and I went and saw For the Bible Tells Me So.

I was the only woman in the theatre.

Apart from that, my main observation about the film is that I was pleasantly surprised that the inevitable negativity toward Christianity was not the whole message, but was rather well-balanced by the stories of Jake Reitan (Lutheran), Bishop Robinson (who grew up Disciples of Christ in KY but now, obviously, Episcopalian), and others. Rather than simply dismissing Christianity as a religion too hateful and xenophobic to accept gay people, the film makes the case that hatred is not the center of the Christian gospel.

from the Sundance review article:
Karslake mostly avoids demonizing the religious right, instead simply
holding up the families at the heart of his story and saying: Here they are.
These are the gay people you so fear, and they are your sons and daughters, your
brothers and sisters, the neighbors you've known for years. Karslake has made a
powerful film, one that I hope will be widely seen, because it addresses the
fulcrum of the religious right's objection to homosexuality without attacking
those who hold those beliefs. Rather than smacking down with a righteous hammer,
Karslake instead simply takes those who would believe that there is no common
ground between faith and homosexuality and gently, relentlessly chisels away at
every argument that bolsters those beliefs.

One of the more striking things about the film is the difference in the quality of religious speech made so obvious by the film. Karslake "mostly avoids demonizing the religious right" because the religious right's own words--from the mouths of Jimmy Swaggart, Dr. James Dobson and others--so self-evidently angry and fearful and hateful, do the job without any outside help. The vitriol is paired against the quiet, ultra-reasonable, peaceful replies of people like retired Bishop Desmond Tutu, and the difference is never directly commented upon but allowed to remain implicit and yet unmistakeable.

My one disappointment: that I was the only woman in the theatre, and Brent and I probably the only two straight people. This isn't, in the end, a film for gay people or for welcoming and affirming Christians. It's a plea directed toward those people, like the families featured in the film, who find themselves caught in the middle between intolerant beliefs and the moral imperative to change. But those people weren't there. And they weren't likely to be, at the Quad Cinema in Greenwich Village. Will the film reach the people for whom it is an offering? I don't know. But if it does not, in fact, make it to a theatre near you (in Abilene or Oklahoma or Tennessee or wherever you are)...Netflix.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Monday, October 08, 2007

Theotokos

Someday, I'm going to have to write this book. A book on theology and childbirth. A chapter on Christmas and Advent and the important but often ignored fact of birth in the Christian narrative. A point in there somewhere about women's experience and why it's still discounted as theological resource. I'm going to have to look into Mariology and see what that's all about. I'm going to give a shot at figuring out why the hell anyone would write "women will be saved through childbirth."



Any other suggestions? What have I missed in my musing? Or has someone already written this book, and I should just go check it out and read it?

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

a modest request

I don't have any money to spare these days, no matter how much I would love to give fistfuls of it away to anyone with the heart and intelligence to use it wisely in solving the world's pressing problems of hunger and oppression and violence.

But I do have a blog (thank goodness blogger is free) and GKB's modest request is to link back to his website to let as many people as possible know about the work he'll be doing through the organization Invisible Children. I haven't checked statcounter.com in forever and for all I know, only 2 people ever even read this blog anymore, but hey, you two, if you can spare some $$ to help get GKB over to Africa and do some good work there...God bless you, and GKB, and the children that no one sees that Greg will be photographing on this trip.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

The Brave One

Brent and I went to a movie Saturday night, thanks to Maria's offer to hang out with a not-yet-sleeping Clare. It's been a while since Brent and I went to a movie--the last was a doubledate to Harry Potter with Sarah & Andrew. I'd forgotten how much nicer it is to see a movie in your pj's on your own couch. The snacks are better, the bathroom's cleaner, the seat's comfier, and the comments from the peanut gallery are generally much more intelligent.

Since the point was just to get out while the gettin' was good, there wasn't anything in particular we wanted to see. It ended up a toss-up between The Brave One and The Kingdom. I like a good no-brainer action movie as much as anyone, but I can't say I was real excited about either. Jodie Foster's pretty good, but brutalized-woman-seeks-revenge-then-realizes-she-has-become-her-own-worst-enemy just sounded ho-hum. But, who cares...we're out and we're Clare-free!

So off we went. I must say that going to a movie in NYC was different from going to a movie anywhere else I've ever been. I now understand so much better why Law & Order is so packed with those god-awful cheesy one-liners. New Yorkers eat it up. Nicky Katt's whole function in the movie was to deliver Law & Order style dialogue (which, I have to say, he did with enough comedic flourish that it was on occasion funny). But the movie as a whole was disturbing, and even more so because we saw in a theatre in NYC. Jodie Foster's character, Erica Bain (despite the alternative orthography, certainly a symbolic nomenclature at work there), understandably traumatized, begins carrying a gun--and repeatedly experiencing situations in which she uses it fatally to protect herself and/or others from violent harm. There's an issue of plausibility throughout the movie, but passing over the need to suspend one's disbelief beyond the level ever required by an SF tale, the real issue I have with this movie is the frank and unnuanced sanction of Erica's action. Erica's counterpart, the good cop who befriends her, the steady symbol of respect for the law and restrained ("moral") use of force, at the crucial moment departs inexplicably from his convictions, hands her his gun (with the inevitably unfunny one-liner) and not only makes it possible for Erica to execute one of the men who had assaulted her, but also devises her escape. Erica is ready to be arrested, even after his complicity in the execution, but he tells her to run. The most disturbing thing of all: when she shoots the guy in the face, the audience whooped and hollered and applauded.

The movie ends with Erica climbing the steps in Central Park, the site of her assault, with a voiceover that makes clear that she has been irrevocably changed and damaged by the incident and its aftermath, and that there is no going back to the person she had been and wished she still was. In the last, say, ten seconds of the movie, it seems that the violence has been futile and pointless and has not changed anything--except Erica, who is less than she was. But the possible message of total lack of redemption in the violence she's perpetrated was probably lost on the audience that cheered her on as she blew the dude's head off.