I’m always on a quest to find God in places that are outside the church. Spirituality can happen anywhere, I feel– in conversations over coffee, while listening to music or even at the theater. We just have to have our eyes open!
I love watching and going to the movies. Even besides the excuse to eat more popcorn (my favorite), particularly good films especially the artsy kind have the ability I feel to shape my conscience and expand my worldview like nothing else can.
In light of this, recently, I’ve found myself making a mental list of the top five films I’ve seen in the last few years that have the possibilities for great faith discussions. Here’s my top picks and a bit on how they got me thinking–
1. The Soloist (2009) When we believe in transformational community and doing life together, it is easy to fall into the trap wanting to “fix” people. We believe a person’s life could improve if they could just do x, y, and z. But, The Soloist provides a unique message not only on how friendship can be one of the most important acts within the kingdom of God, but how complicated mental illness, homelessness and systems of social services can be. There are no easy answers but faithful friendship is a start. (Topic: Faith and Friendship)
2. Chocolat (2000) Life together is messy. Those who we think are “the religious ones” are often the most sick. Those who we think are the most lost are often the most found. Staying in one place, planting roots and being in relationships with others for the long haul is counterintuitive to our transit society. But, as we stick around and begin to learn from one another, what we find is that the pleasure of community life is sweeter than we could have ever imagined! (Topic: Faith and Community Life)
3. Moneyball (2011) There is the old way of doing things. There is the new way of doing things. How easy is it to think that they old way has nothing to speak to the new way. Leadership is doing the tricky balance of helping bring people along and create a new vision with respect for what has always been. Transformational leadership can be costly, especially to your family life. But, when tough choices are made and the right people are put in place, old institutions can be more amazing than we ever imagined. (Topic: Faith and Leadership)
4. Philomena (2013) Our paths to wholeness are often so broken that we feel beyond repair. The twists and turns of our lives lead us to wide open spaces of regrets, grief and shame. But, this is the mystery: grace is present even still. And it is grace– as we lean into it– that enables us to become the unthinkable: a forgiving people. And when forgiveness happens, it is like a dance that brings beauty to our lives even in our most rough edges. (Topic: Faith and Forgiveness)
5. The Way (2010) Healing is often about making the first step out of bed and then the next. And when we make such steps, guideposts of all sorts will often show up to help. Guideposts can look a lot like the gift of conversation over a good bottle of wine, the company of strangers, and strength for the next day. We all have deep pain, though some of our pain is more visible than others. And it is in facing our pain and the journey it takes us on, we find rest for our souls. Healing work is intense work, though so should not be entered into lightly. Who knows who we will become as we move? (Topic: Faith and Grief)
What others might you add to this list?