Tuesday, October 11, 2016

My Tuesday spiritual practice

Going to the movies.

I discovered $5 Tuesday movies at the crosswoods theatre with free popcorn and have made it a weekly practice to go to the movies.  Usually with my friend Melanie.  Following this, of course we go to lunch and talk about the movie.

Going to the movies is one of my favorite outings.  There is nothing I like better than sitting in the comfortable seats, watching the previews and waiting for the story to unfold on the screen.  We tend to pick movies that are "about people" with a minimal amount of explosions and violence.  And when it is a good movie it stay with me and continues to resonate in my mind and heart.

The last few weeks we have seen: Florence Foster Jenkins, Sully, Bridget Jones Baby, The Queen of Katwe, Hell or High Water, The Magnificent Seven, Southside with You.  For me, these moves are not just escapism but really a chance to think about the human condition. Some of the questions that these movies explore are:  What is the good life?  What does it mean to pursue a "call"?  What are the boundaries of a relationship?  How do people fall in love? What are the limits of friendship? Some of these movies have made me laugh and some made me cry and all of them - on some level made me think and feel.

Today we saw "Birth of a Nation" which was a powerful film about the Nat Turner Rebellion,  Here is a synopsis of the movie:
"Set against the antebellum South, THE BIRTH OF A NATION follows Nat Turner (Nate Parker), a literate slave and preacher, whose financially strained owner, Samuel Turner (Armie Hammer), accepts an offer to use Nat's preaching to subdue unruly slaves. As he witnesses countless atrocities - against himself and his fellow slaves - Nat orchestrates an uprising in the hopes of leading his people to freedom."

This was  a hard movie to watch as we saw the horrors of slavery depicted.  Nat Turner was allowed to read one book - the Bible - and we saw how the slave masters wanted to use him to spout Bible verses that told slaves to remain peaceful in their condition.  However, it was his reading more of the Bible, that led him to hear a call to action to help lead people out of bondage.  The end result was not freedom but  murders, violence and the eventual death of many many people and the hanging of Nat Turner himself.

This is a disturbing movie in so many ways but it made me think about how I love the idea of "equality" for all people as an American.  But the truth is that  there is this fundamental stain in our country that is the legacy of this evil dehumanizing system of slavery.  I remember going to a Holocaust Museum and being told we need to "Remember."  Elie Wiesel said: For the dead and the living, we must remember." 

And movies like this help me to remember.


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