A few things have been on my mind this week.
1) “Rubber”. A film about a group of viewers ‘watching’ a film about a killer tyre in ‘real life’ right in front of their eyes. They watch the film unfold in front of their eyes, comment on it but never enter into the story itself.
3) With our young people on a Sunday night, we’ve been working through the “Soul” DVD series by Christianity Explored. Last night, we looked at the cross and a couple of the young people described how hard they find it, entering into the story as it’s one they’ve heard so often.
4) A boring, lifeless communion I attended yesterday.
So, what’s the connection? I’ll look at each of them in a little more depth.
1)”Rubber”. There are lots of things going on in this movie but let me pick out one of them. The audience watches the proceedings. They comment on it but choose not to get involved. They are spectators and when there are faced with the choice of being part of ‘it’, they panic.
2)”Treme”. I love how, despite everything that they have been through, they don’t lose their spirit. They still have their marches. Music. Dance. Music is what defines them. It’s what they share together. It’s who they are, where they’ve came from and where they’re going. They want to be part of something. They don’t sit and spectate. They get involved.
3)Too often, the young people have simply been told about the Easter story. About what happened. They’ve never been given the chance to enter into it. to experience it. For it to be more than words on a page. More than something that happened two thousand years ago.
4)The communion I attended was a ritual. Now, I don’t have a problem with rituals when you can enter into them. I didn’t feel I could enter into this. It was something I wanted to enter into. There didn’t seem to be any life in it.
5)Dr Brian Cox describes with passion how we are all part of the story of the universe. We all have our part to play in the grand metanarrative.
So, there’s the connection. They are all about the choice of choosing to enter in or out of something.
More and more, I think christian youth workers (and I include myself here) are guilty of not allowing young people to enter into the story. We fill them up with facts, and rules, and theology and forget about helping them live out the story itself.
When I watch the people parading in “Treme” it makes me think, “that’s what communion should be like. that’s what the christian faith should be like”.
Beliefs are important. But beliefs are not the same things as knowledge.
So why is the church so guilty of making their service an intellectual lesson? And how can things change?
I want to help young people embrace the story. A story that transforms how they see the world and their place in it.
Dr Cox gets excited about how we are part of the universal story of the stars. he’s passionate. He’s convincing.
He wants people to step into this reality and I want the same for the young people I work with.
At Easter time, more than ever, I need to help the young people I encounter find space to forget what they know about the story and instead enter into it.
That’s what the Christian faith is about.
- ‘Treme: The Complete First Season’: When Tragedy and Adversity Meet with Resilience and Hope (Review) (popmatters.com)