Sunday, January 21, 2007

Hanging with Spielberg and McLaren

This weekend, I watched Schindler’s List for the first time. I also finished reading More Ready Than You Realize. Honestly, the combination of the two probably moved and inspired me more than church typically does. Which is no big feat. Most of you know that I struggle with finding a real church home here. Probably because Jesus doesn’t show up at many of them.

I’ll start with the book, which is centered on emails from Alice to the author, Brian McLaren. Near the end, Alice writes:

You know, all the logic and reasoning that people always say about Jesus, that he “MUST” have been the son of God, that if he wasn’t, he was a lunatic or a liar, that they’ve found proof, blah, blah blah,….. it is just so lame, in my eyes, [compared] to feeling like your heart is going to explode when you start to see just how wonderful Jesus is… when you start to understand Jesus ISNT dead. I never understood that. I think a major part of my little epiphany was realizing that God is so far beyond all that petty logic and knowledge. At least, that’s how it is for me. I’m sure for other people, the logic is great. But when proof stops at logic for me, it is pretty lame.

For three years of my life, I was a hardcore Campus Crusader. I am still super-supportive of the organization and am so proud of the friends who’ve gone on to join staff with them. I did, however, find myself uncomfortable at times, and I don’t think it was just because I was being stretched. I was frustrated with the approaches to evangelism. I am not an intellectual. I’m not into debates and proof and trying to argue someone into heaven. Surveys with results that are never tallied drive me crazy. I don’t really care if someone saw The Passion or if Oprah is helping or hurting the kingdom. I care about people. Real people. People who may never make a decision to follow Christ but need a friend just the same. God is beyond “all that petty logic and knowledge.” Experiencing God is so much greater than figuring out if this is a life of predestination or free will.

I was moved by McLaren’s friendship with Alice. He didn’t assume anything, nor did he tell her what to believe. He answered her questions carefully, often with other questions. He allowed her to serve in ways she felt comfortable, without ever requiring a statement of faith or sitting her down with some committee. She was loved and she was heard. And God did the rest. In no way did his book suggest that I have the right to be lazy in my relationships or to remain silent when my voice is called for. But it did give me permission to live like Jesus instead of trying to convince others why they should. He described evangelism as a dance. I've always wanted to be a dancer...

Then I watched Schindler’s List.

“Whoever saves one life, saves the world entire.”

It may have been perfect.

I may have been the last film buff on the planet to seen this film. I read the book in high school, but managed to miss every opportunity to view it. Then I rented it months ago, and the DVD skipped all over the place. Now, all is well.

I love that Schindler was a criminal. A sinner. He operated from selfish motives; he was riddled with character flaws. And he helped save a generation. His own personal redemption was almost as touching as the gratitude the thousands had for his fight for their lives.

There’s a song by Ray Boltz (late ‘80s CCM, for the unaware) that speculates how awesome it will be in heaven to see the lives we’ve touched. Schindler was given a slice of that on earth, only to be humbled to tears and broken that he didn’t save one more. Not many movies are both chilling and inspirational.

I almost made it through without crying. And then the epilogue happened.

If you haven’t seen it, you must. If you have, go watch it again.

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