Creation Song

Life is mysterious, it presents great challenges and incredible moments of wonder, but ultimately life is to be lived as gift. The unfolding of each new day presents for us opportunity to be a part of something so much greater than ourselves. There is wonderful music being threaded together all around us and our opportunity is to be still and quiet and see if our spirit can get caught up in the spirit of the music that is the sacred song meant for all of God’s creation. There is a song that is beautiful enough for the inclusion of us all.

During my travels, I sat with a man who taught me so much about the Spirit of God at work in the world, Rev. Keith Tonkel. He is celebrating his 80th birthday this year and his 48th year ministering at Wells Memorial United Methodist in Jackson, Mississippi. It is unheard of for a United Methodist Minister to serve so many years in one place. Keith believed his ministry was to grow a community lived love. Love is the ultimate creation song.

During the Civil Rights years, Keith was one of 28 ministers who signed a statement called the “Born of Conviction” statement. They were naming their commitment to spend their lives working to end segregation in the church. Keith was sent to Wells Memorial UMC as punishment for signing the document. The church was understood to be a dying congregation. He shares there were 13 people there when he arrived. His sermon was prepared and ready and when he touched the handle of the front door of the church something in his spirit made him think there was another sermon he was to preach.

Keith began to preach a sermon on the valley of the dry bones. After he was done, a member of the church came up to him and slapped him on the back and said, “We had decided if you didn’t have the courage to preach to us from that very text we were going to close the doors of this place.” Over the years, Wells has grown in number and the congregation is described to be the most inclusive congregation in the state of Mississippi.

Keith is one who truly drinks life. Outside of his house sits a cooler that says, “Drinks here are for postal workers.” When I shared I loved the cooler, he said, “Baby, you can’t have their drinks, but I have your favorite coffee right here, just for you!” I smiled and drank my coffee and drank the joy of being with one who reminds you to drink life and who knows how to live love!

Sitting with Keith, one might think his full spirit comes from an easy life, but that would not be true. His spirit song has lived through cancer, the death of his wife, the illness of children, and the harsh reality of being thought odd in a state like Mississippi for singing a song his whole career long that is a song that has rhythm and harmony for—ALL!

We live in a world where people need to hear music rising above the chaos, music that rises above anxiety filled hearts, and music that is a witness that stands against any doubt that there is a God with love great enough for all. This is our story. This is our song.

With you on the journey,
Michelle

Authentic Community

Grace and Peace to you …

Today is Pentecost. The forming of authentic community was one of the miracles that took place that first Pentecost. The author of the Pentecostal story writes that every nation under heaven was present. The author’s exaggerated point is clear. No one was excluded. In fact the author does something even more imaginative. Out of the 16 nations that the author lists, some of them no longer existed at the time. They were literally extinct. Pentecost is therefore the forming of what is deemed ‘impossible community’. Yet this type of community where no one is excluded is the only community worth striving for because it is the only community that will save us in the end.

As deep and as difficult as the race issue is in South Africa I think class is our biggest challenge when it comes to forming truly diverse community. Having worked in many non-racial church communities, I am yet to find much evidence that the rich and poor can come together to form any sort of authentic community. It seems impossible.

In short, the rich fear the poor and therefore avoid the poor. Who am I talking about when I refer to the rich? I am speaking about myself and others like me. According to www.globalrichlist.com when I plug in my +R15 000 p.m. (R180 000 p.a.) net salary into their smart little app, I end up in the top 0.95% of the world, making me the 56,932,476th richest person on earth by income. It further tells me that I earn R93.75 per hour while the average labourer in Zimbabwe makes just R2.89 in the same time and that it will take the average labourer in Indonesia 44 years to earn what I do in a year. This means the next time I protest about the world’s wealthy 1% I should bring a mirror. [www.globalrichlist.com uses 2008 figures for their calculation so they may be a little out of date yet the point still stands.]

These sobering stats should give us a clue why the rich fear and avoid the poor. I fear and avoid the poor because I know that for authentic community to exist the inequality must end. And for the inequality to end means that I must change my lifestyle, which feels too much like loss, until of course my eyes are opened to the richness of a truly diverse community where no one is excluded.

Rich and poor forming authentic community may seem impossible but what really is impossible is the continued sustainability of the divide. If this divide is not addressed voluntarily then in the end it will be addressed violently. A nation that has bricks to build high walls to insulate the wealthy but not houses to shelter the poor will collapse because God will not be mocked.

Grace, Alan

God’s goodness is everywhere

Grace and Peace to you

This past week we earthlings managed to catch a ride on the back of a comet. Since blasting off in March 2004, Rosetta and its lander Philae have traveled more than 6 billion kilometres to catch up with the comet, which orbits the sun at speeds up to 135 000 km/h. Touchdown for the lander played out 510 million kilometres from Earth, between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter, on a comet hurtling through space at more than 18 km/s. At so vast a distance, even radio signals travelling at the speed of light take nearly half an hour to travel from Earth to the spacecraft, making real-time control of the landing impossible. Instead, the entire descent was pre-calculated, uploaded and run automatically.

The safe, if precarious, touchdown of the lander gives scientists a unique chance to ride on-board a comet and study from the surface what happens as its activity ramps up as it gets closer to the sun.

The £1 bn ($1.58 bn) Rosetta mission aims to unlock the mysteries of comets, made from ancient material that predates the birth of the solar system. In the data Rosetta and Philae collect, researchers hope to learn more of how the solar system formed and how comets carried water and complex organics to the planets, preparing the stage for life on Earth.

This sort of stuff just astounds me. I am filled with wonder and awe at the logistics and mathematics involved in such a mission. It is also profoundly humbling to be reminded how crazily huge the universe is, and how miniscule we are.

The stuff of creation is not only a gift from the Creator but a reflection of the Creator — like a painting is a reflection of the artist. Jesus tells us that God alone is good. And in Genesis God calls all of creation “good”. In creation then we are invited to see God’s goodness.

Rabbi Abraham Heschel warned us: “Forfeit your sense of awe and the universe becomes a market place for you.” This is why scientific exploration is so important, namely to expand our vision into the mystery of matter.

Did you know that rye plants have roots that are 11 000 km long and that they grow 5 km per day? Did you know that it would take one million earths to fill our single sun? Did you know that it took 15 billion years of birthing, dying and resurrecting the universe before we humans arrived? Yes, homo sapiens has only been around for a tiny fragment of time.

As Mathew Fox asks: “How aware are we of the wonders of our own bodies? Consider how, for example, every person has enough blood vessels in them to go around the earth two times (96 000 km worth when extended end-to-end). If we were to extend just one person’s DNA end-to-end it would travel from the earth to the moon and back 100,000 times! Our hearts do the daily work equivalent of lifting a ton five stories high and our bones are literally stronger than steel or reinforced concrete — yet when they break they grow back on their own.”

All this should move us to wonder and praise for the Creator and reverence for the creation. Humility should be our default position towards the planet.

Sadly, “we tear down forests, despoil the soil and the fisheries… and other species — we are destroying ourselves. We are living in the greatest period of destruction of the last 60 million years and the truth must be told: anthropocentric religion contributes to this devastation” says Matthew Fox.

We have been taught not to “worship creation” as divine (pantheism) but in the process we have lost all reverence for God’s handiwork. The pendulum has swung to the opposite end. We unthinkingly cut, exploit, mine and chisel away for profit and apparent progress without counting the actual cost.

 I confess that I think God would be more pleased if we worshiped the tree (that cleans the air we breathe) than not. In fact, many of us practice something far worse than pantheism — let’s call it bricktheism — which is the worship of buildings. This is especially true of places of worship. Too often they become places to worship.

 May our eyes be opened to the mystery of matter and wonder of creation. Grace, Alan


Pastor Xolo Skosanna was elected as the chairperson of the Western Cape Religious Leaders’ Forum this past week.

Faithful struggle

Senzo Meyiwa
1987 – 2014


Grace and Peace to you

One of the privileges of our pain-filled oppressive past is that we have experienced first-hand a very similar context to that of the Gospels and early church. An experience, or in the very least, an understanding of Apartheid oppression should give us insight into the Scriptures. Sadly too often we forget to read the scriptures through the privileged lens of our past (and present!).

For example, think of Steve Biko for a moment. There is nothing one can read of or from Biko that is not profoundly political and subversive towards the dominant racist regime. That is a given. Yet when we read the writings of St. Paul for example we may be inclined to forget that Paul was the Biko of his time — or if not the Biko — then at least the Beyers Naudè. There was nothing Paul could say or write that was not political and subversively threatening to the dominant powers. Yet when we forget this, we begin to interpret Paul’s mission as trying to get people “saved” into a “heavenly” realm with little relevance or consequence on earth.

Remember Paul’s “struggle credentials”? Imprisonment; floggings to near death — with both whips and rods and to top it off, stoning. Let’s be clear one is not subjected to these “tribulations” for leading spiritual retreats, but rather for being a threat to the status quo of oppressive power!

When Paul writes: “…if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Rom 10:9) he was doing so in a context where salvation was promised by confessing Caesar as Lord. In other words it was a political act of treason to confess Jesus. It was like claiming Mandela as president while P.W. Botha was still sitting in the Union Buildings.

Let us also not forget that almost every word — we have come to associate with “spiritual” matters was in fact a political term of the day. Words like: “Lord”, “Shepherd”, “Salvation” and “Redemption” were all social-political words which have since been privatised and individualised — in other words they have been tamed.

Further examples include the concepts of: “Eternal Life”; “Soul”; and “Heaven”.

  1. Eternal life is mostly understood today as life Jesus awards us when we die. This interpretation delays the promise of new life until after death. Its original meaning was the gift of new life NOW that death cannot take away. In other words it is the transformation of the present.
  2. Heaven is mostly understood today as a spatial place where we go when we die, yet for the Hebrews Heaven is the illustrative embodiment of the real, real world. Heaven is the clear picture of what we struggle to see on earth — namely that Jesus the Lamb actually is on the throne and not the Caesar-like-powers. Heaven is the truth that we are called to live into being. All we need to do is keep faithful to the end. Heaven is also the prototype of how we should be living on earth. “Your Kingdom come, your will be done ON EARTH as in heaven.”
  3. Soul is mostly understood today as that part of our being that is immortal. In other words the part of us that “goes to heaven” when our body dies and disintegrates. This segmented view of the human person is more Greek than Hebrew and it has subsequently encouraged a “saving souls” approach to evangelism which ignores the full context and condition of the human being. The Hebrew word we have translated into soul literally means one’s entire being. The person’s entire being is to be our concern.

Sadly the powerful world-changing words of the subversive Gospel story have had their meanings domesticated by being pushed to another time (eternal life), another place (Heaven) all the while reducing the human person (soul).

Back in Jesus’ and Paul’s day, salvation would have been celebrated if the previously segregated beaches and buses were open to all. Salvation was the victory ushered in by the winning combination of God’s grace and people’s faithful struggle.

Grace and struggle, Alan


Dare to have your life re-storied by the Gospel

The stories we tell ourselves and each other are how we make sense of the world and our place in it. Some stories become so sticky, so pervasive that we internalize them to a point where we no longer see their storiness — they become not one of many lenses on reality, but reality itself. Stories we’ve heard and repeated so many times they’ve become the invisible underpinning of our entire lived experience”. ~ Maria Popova

Live life lovingly

All Saints Day

Signs of protest and hope:
All Saints candles set on the gravestones in a Polish Cemetery.


All Saints Day

God our com-fort-er,
you are our refuge and strength,
a helper close at hand in times of trouble.
Help us so to hear your word
that our fear may be dispelled,
our loneliness eased,
and our hope reawakened.
May your Holy Spirit lift us above our sorrow,
to the peace and light of your constant love;
through Jesus our Lord.
Amen.

For whose life do you give thanks today?

“Hear the good news: We do not live to ourselves, and we do not die to ourselves. If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord; so then, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and lived again, so that he might be Lord of both the living and the dead.

When we were baptised in Christ Jesus, we were baptised into his death. We were buried so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of God, so we too might walk in newness of life.”                                                                               Romans 14:7-9, 6:4


Grace and Peace to you

Lately I have been thinking quite a bit about death. In particular my own. And I realised that if I had to die now (or pretty soon) I would carry a deep sense of sadness. In fact sadness doesn’t really sum it up. I would feel great grief. Gigantic grief.

Grief that is rooted in knowing that I have not yet lived my life as I know I was created to live it. Grief for all the unfinished stuff. I am not referring to “things” I would still like to do or places I would still enjoy seeing – as in a type of bucket-list. Rather I am referring to those aspects of my living that I have yet to hand over to the Jesus Way. Why haven’t I surrendered more of my life? There is basically only one reason: fear. Yet, if I knew for certain that I was going to die in a year’s time I think I would make the changes without fearing any of the consequences.

I have found the thoughts of author Ron Rolheiser helpfully challenging in these matters:

How do we prepare to die? How do we live so that death does not catch us unaware? What do we do so that we don’t leave this world with too much unfinished business?

The first thing that needs to be said is that anything we do to prepare for death should not be morbid or be something that distances or separates us from life. The opposite is true. What prepares us for death, …is a deeper, more intimate, fuller entry into life. We get ready for death by beginning to live our lives as we should have been living them all along. How do we do that?

We prepare to die by pushing ourselves to love less narrowly. In that sense, readying ourselves for death is really an ever-widening entry into life. We prepare ourselves for death by loving deeply and by expressing love, appreciation, and gratitude to each other.

It’s easier to die when one has been, even for a moment, fully alive. What makes it difficult for us to die, beyond all the congenital instincts inside of us that want us to live, is not so much fear of the afterlife or even fear that their might not be an afterlife. What makes it hard to die is that we have so much life yet to finish and we finish it by loving more deeply and expressing our love more freely.

Grace to you in your living and in your dying, Alan


Dare to have your life re-storied by the Gospel

The stories we tell ourselves and each other are how we make sense of the world and our place in it. Some stories become so sticky, so pervasive that we internalize them to a point where we no longer see their storiness — they become not one of many lenses on reality, but reality itself. Stories we’ve heard and repeated so many times they’ve become the invisible underpinning of our entire lived experience”. ~ Maria Popova

Holy Friendship

Grace and peace to you

If we are going to grow in faithfulness in the ways of Jesus – in other words in the ways of truth, gentleness, generosity, forgiveness, justice, purity of heart, humility, mercy and love, we will need help. We will need friends on the journey who will challenge and comfort and convict us at the appropriate times.

Below is an article written by Gregory Jones, the past Dean of Duke Divinity School, on this. He calls it, Holy Friendship. For the full article you can find it at www.faithandleadership.com by clicking on this link: Holy Friendship.

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“Holy friends challenge the sins we have come to love, affirm the gifts we are afraid to claim and help us dream dreams we otherwise would not dream.

It is nice to have friends and acquaintances who challenge sins we already hate; … but it doesn’t make a difference. What we really need are people around us who know us well enough to challenge the sins we have come to love. This is especially important because we often describe those sins we love in ways that make them sound understandable, even virtuous.

We need people who can help challenge the sins we have come to love, but if that is all they do, we most likely won’t enjoy having them around. Who needs a killjoy?

Holy friends also affirm the gifts we are afraid to claim. It is nice to have people affirm gifts we already recognize; such affirmation is flattering – but it is not news … Something transformative happens when someone helps us see potential in ourselves we cannot yet see …

This can be as unnerving as having sins we love pointed out to us. Who wants to lean into gifts we are afraid to claim? After all, isn’t there a reason we are afraid to claim them? Change is hard, but when others illumine hidden potential in our lives, and offer ongoing support as we lean into that potential, we discover hope, and are empowered to embody it.

These friends also help us dream dreams we otherwise would not dream. Sin and brokenness cause our lives and our imaginations to constrict. We don’t aim for much because we are haunted by the past or stuck in the comfortable mediocrity of the present.

Holy friends serve as vehicles of God’s reign to help us set our imaginations free for the future. Who knows what God might have in store for us – as individuals, for our communities, and for initiatives we may not yet have even conceived, much less embodied?

Holy friends help us envision and articulate the significance of Ephesians 3:20: “Now to [God] who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine …” How often do we believe that God’s power is at work within us, not only to accomplish all we can ask or imagine – which itself would be beyond what most of us dream of – but to accomplish “abundantly far more” than all we can ask or imagine?

Yet whether we are thinking of personal dreams – where youth in crisis discover that gangs and prison don’t have to define their lives, that they can become part of a flourishing community and have meaningful education, jobs and families – or institutional dreams – where networks of new institutions re-imagine life together for a city – holy friends help us dream dreams we otherwise would never dream.

In “Change or Die,” Alan Deutschman notes that people rarely change on the basis of the “three F’s”: facts, fear or force. He says it is the “three R’s” that enable people to change: relate, repeat and reframe.

Holy friends offer us ways to reframe our lives through challenging sins, affirming gifts and dreaming dreams. They help us repeat new activities as we lean into a new way of living our daily life, because it takes time to unlearn sin, to learn to claim gifts and to cultivate big dreams. And they offer paradigmatic new forms of relating that enable us to discover the hope to which we have been called.”

May each of us find a Holy Friend. May each of us be a Holy Friend.

Grace, Alan

Live generously

Going backwards when we think we are going forwards.

Grace and peace to you …

The first thing that gets “touched” when we fall in love is our heart. The second is our wallet! This is true in all love relationships. Giving and sharing are the first signs of “being in love” with another person. To give and to share are the most natural things to do when we are in love.

The same applies to our relationship with Jesus. As we grow to love Jesus, we naturally grow in generosity towards that which Jesus was passionate about in the world, especially enabling good news for the poor. Our giving and sharing are signs of our sincerity and commitment to Jesus. In short, to love Jesus is to live generously. This is probably the easiest way we can see how much we love Jesus …

It begins with us looking at our hearts and not our pay slips (if we are fortunate enough to have a job). We do not have to be wealthy to be generous, but we do have to be loving. This means all of us, rich and poor alike can be generous. A generous life is rooted in the soil of gratitude. We love because God first loved us and we give because God first gave to us — and continues to give to us!

God is a generously giving God and because we have been born in God’s image we too are born to be generous. Generosity is part of our deepest identity — it is who we are designed to be.

This is a reminder of the gospel-call on each of our lives. We are first and foremost called to become the generous people Jesus longs for us to be. This may include supporting the work and ministry of this community and it may not — but it will certainly involve supporting the work of others somewhere, somehow, in strengthening the vulnerable, healing the sick, including the outcast and feeding the hungry, etc. If you believe that CMM contributes towards what Jesus is passionate about then I encourage you to include CMM as one of the many avenues in which your generosity may find expression.

Grace, Alan

The poverty of wealth

Grace and peace to you …

During the early hours of Tuesday morning a terrible thing happened in this city. A driver — allegedly drunk — lost control of his vehicle and crashed into the Viglietti sports car showroom on Roeland Street. What makes this story so tragic is that a homeless person who was sleeping in front of the showroom was crushed to death in the process.

This sad event is a tragic parable for our times. And as with all parables there are layers upon layers of meaning and, in this case, layers of tragedy.

The first layer is that we live in a world where cars get to sleep inside while some human beings sleep outside. We live in a world where motor vehicles are of more value than human beings — and I am not just referring to Ferraris and Maseratis. We live in a world where the combination of metal, glass, rubber and leather are treated as more sacred than flesh and blood stamped with the image of God.

The second is that we live in a world where obscene wealth and desperate poverty lie down together side-by-side. Every time I drive past this particular showroom at night I see this glaring truth glow guiltily before my eyes. Sports car and homeless separated by a see-through pane of glass. We dare not plead ignorance.

The third is that we live in a world where the poor are the victims of our way of life that has gotten out of control. We are drunk (although we deny it) consuming way too much and the poor pay for our reckless living with their lives.

The fourth is that we live in a world where the poor are seen but not acknowledged or known. They remain anonymous. In the article I read about this event it was so sad to read that nobody knew the deceased’s name. We are trying to see if we can host a memorial service for him.

Grace Alan

________________________________________________

We believe in the Merciful One

who calls us to reject all idols and who seeks a deep communion with us.

We believe in the Merciful One

who is not remote but who is immersed in the life of this world sharing its hope and feeling its pain.

We believe in the Merciful One

who identifies with the poor and the oppressed and those who long for faith and who calls us to stand with them.

We believe in the Merciful One

whose love is vulnerable, whose heart is aching and whose covenant with all people
is unshakeable.

Christian Conference of Asia News1

Dancing Jubilee

Grace and peace to you …
At Artscape last Sunday afternoon I had the privilege of attending a function to celebrate Cecil Jacobs’ life of dance. Cecil has taught dance (and a host of school subjects) in the garage and lounge of his and Brenda’s home for the past 50 years. Amazing! Not for money or for show, but for the love of the art of human movement, rhythm and discipline. All the while trusting it would be a means of grace within the lives of his young students. Cecil wouldn’t only teach his students to balance perfectly on their toes, but also to work out how to balance their living surrounded by much imbalance in their homes and communities. In a world that sometimes seems to be spinning out of control Cecil would help his students to pirouette with finesse, reminding them that they themselves can be the beauty among the chaos.

I was reminded again that Resurrection happens in many different ways. The pushing back of death by new life sometimes takes three days but sometimes it takes a generation. Cecil himself was never allowed to perform on the stage of the then Nico Malan Theatre Centre (renamed Artscape in 2001) but many of his students have done so – dancing to the new drum beat of democracy.

We gathered to honour Cecil on reaching this jubilee milestone, but in fact the real jubilee (biblically speaking) is how through his teaching he has liberated so many to reach a deeper and more meaningful life over the years. Jubilee is all about liberation. We are called to be a Jubilee people and a Jubilee Church.

Thank you Cecil and Brenda for your ministry. You have reminded me of Frederich Beuchner’s glorious definition of vocation: “The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”

Grace, Alan

________________________________________________

We believe in the Merciful One

who calls us to reject all idols and who seeks a deep communion with us.

We believe in the Merciful One

who is not remote but who is immersed in the life of this world sharing its hope and feeling its pain.

We believe in the Merciful One

who identifies with the poor and the oppressed and those who long for faith and who calls us to stand with them.

We believe in the Merciful One

whose love is vulnerable, whose heart is aching and whose covenant with all people
is unshakeable.

Christian Conference of Asia News1

 

 

Robin Williams & The Gospel

GRACE AND PEACE TO YOU…

On hearing of Robin Williams’ death this past week I was catapulted back in time to many a movie which had brought me to tears. Tears of laughter yes, but mostly tears resulting from being touched in the most tender of places — where dreams and fears mingle unguarded. Williams’ humour was more about redemption than about being funny. With every turn of phrase he sought to redeem our pain, tragedy and loss.

There are five movies that stand out for me: Dead Poets’ Society; Good Will Hunting; Good Morning Vietnam; Patch Adams and the Fisher King. In each Williams plays the part of a wounded healer or redeemer. He was a vulnerable-clownish-rulebreaking-crackpot-Christ figure.

In Dead Poets’ Society he teaches students to think for themselves and to pursue their deepest passions outside the narrow scripts of their pushy parents or the stuck-up establishment. “We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for.” He got them to stand on their desks to view the world from a different perspective and to seize the day because “believe it or not, each and every one of us in this room is one day going to stop breathing, turn cold and die.”

In Good Will Hunting he mentored Will through his fears to face himself: “You think I know the first thing about how hard your life has been, how you feel, who you are, because I read Oliver Twist? Does that encapsulate you? Personally… I don’t give a [expletive] about all that, because you know what, I can’t learn anything from you, I can’t read in some [expletive] book. Unless you want to talk about you, who you are. Then I’m fascinated. I’m in. But you don’t want to do that do you sport? You’re terrified of what you might say. Your move, chief.” And he helped Will risk the delight of love: “You’ll never have that kind of relationship in a world where you’re afraid to take the first step because all you see is every negative thing 10 miles down the road.” … “You don’t know about real loss because it only occurs when you’ve loved something more than you love yourself. I doubt you’ve ever dared to love anybody that much … “

In Patch Adams he spoke boldly to the medical profession: “You treat a disease, you win, you lose. You treat a person, I guarantee you, you’ll win, no matter what the outcome.” And he challenged our views on death. “What’s wrong with death sir? What are we so mortally afraid of? Why can’t we treat death with a certain amount of humanity and dignity, and decency, and God forbid, maybe even humor. Death is not the enemy gentlemen. If we’re going to fight a disease, let’s fight one of the most terrible diseases of all, indifference.”

In Good Morning Vietnam we were reminded that the first casualty in war is always the truth:
Censor #1:[Adrian sees the story about the bombing that he witnessed and he starts taking it to the control room, going past the two censors.] What do you think you’re doing? You know you’re forbidden to read anything not checked by this office.
Adrian Cronauer: What was there to check? I was there.
Censor #1: You know the rules, airman. If this is a legitimate news story, it must go through proper channels.
Adrian Cronauer: Look, tweedledee, it’s an actual event. [Referring to the blood on his shirt.]
Adrian Cronauer: What do you think this came from? Shaving? It’s the truth. I just want to report the truth. It’ll be a nice change of pace.
Sgt. Major Dickerson: What’s going on here?
Adrian Cronauer: Sir, will you listen to me?
Sgt. Major Dickerson: [Reads the story.] This is not official news, airman. As far as I’m concerned, it didn’t happen.
Adrian Cronauer: It did happen.
Sgt. Major Dickerson: You shut your mouth!
Adrian Cronauer: What are you afraid of Dickerson? People might find out there’s a war going on?
Sgt. Major Dickerson: This news is not official.
Adrian Cronauer: RIGHT! In… in Saigon today, according to official sources, nothing actually happened. One thing that didn’t officially happen was a bomb didn’t officially explode at 1430 hours, unofficially destroying Jimmy Wah’s cafe.

In the profoundly brilliant Fisher King, guilt ridden radio DJ (Jeff Bridges) and grief stricken homeless person (Robin Williams) meet each other within the surprising embrace of friendship and forgiveness. In the end both are healed to risk loving and being loved again.

I give thank for Robin Williams modern portrayals of the gospel.

Grace, Alan