Saturday, September 11, 2010


For some time now, I've felt inexplicably caught up in a longing to know God in the flesh. After years of having insitutional versions of "correct" drilled into me until I was ready to throw up, I'm tired. I don't even care about people's doctrines at this point, except to worry about how they're going to hurt someone else with them.

While I'm on my 80's movie kick, I'll probably revisit a lot of bad perms, leg warmers, music by Bob Seger and Kenny Loggins, and marijuana smoking movie scenes. I'm looking past the silliness to search for essence. So far, the most outstanding movie of "essence" that I've watched has been "Mask."

Eric Stolz plays Rocky Dennis, a teen whose face is disfigured by a rare disease called craniodiaphyseal dysplasia. Cher plays his drug addict, rock and roll, motorcycle-gang mom Rusty Dennis. Although I've always found Cher to be an overdone caricature as a singer and entertainer, she was truly outstanding as Rocky's mom in "Mask."

Modern day Pharisees, of course, would be horrified that anyone calling themselves a Christian would watch such a movie. Drugs! Sex! Dirty language! Rough elements! A prostitute! Oh my God, call the doctrine police! But for those mature enough to look past the exterior and see the essence, this movie is truly a gem. The essence of love is raw, simple and powerful throughout the movie.

Rusty's love for Rocky is evident in many touching scenes, in between her bouts with drugs and a revolving door of boyfriends. The love that her motorcycle gang friends have for each other is a lot simpler and stronger than I've ever felt loved at 'the church.' They drink beer, smoke, sing, brawl, and stick together through life, death, breakups, pain, and heartache. Rusty's on-again, off-again boyfriend Gar is far more of a nurturing father figure to Rocky than I ever had myself.

But the most touching scenes are between Rocky and Diana, the blind girl he meets while he's away working as a counselor's aide at a summer camp for the blind. They fall in love; the boy who 'couldn't get a girl' wins the heart of this beautiful young woman because though she is blind, she can see, far better than most people with 20/20 vision.

While riding horseback in the mountains, Rocky tries to describe colors and clouds to Diana. She doesn't get it; she's been blind since birth. Rocky loves her and wants her to understand, to share in the world of sight and color that he knows. Yet he knows she needs a way to be able to 'see' such beauty; the ordinary way that most people can rely on is not going to register with her.

Below is a scene from the movie; near the end is, in my opinion, the most outstanding scene in the movie, where Rocky has thought of a way to connect the concept of sight to a girl who was born blind. This scene is so overpowering to me now, as one searching for God in the rawest, purest form, that I'll remember it always. Diana can't 'see' the 'correct' truth, but she grasps the essence of truth. It doesn't matter now that she can't see 'red' or 'green' with her eyes; she understands their essence. There are some people who see these colors all the time, but their essence is meaningless.

I've felt stuck in being unable to understand the correct truth of what a father looks like. The concept of a brother seems safer, and I've gotten some help with that, but still have not been able to dive in and totally get the essence of either concept. I want to understand a totally safe and loving place in a father, a brother, but it just doesn't register. I'm hoping that someday this side of heaven, it finally will.

The idea of Jesus roaring down a highway on a Harley, with me resting my face on his back behind him, is the kind of God experience I'm yearning for now. I don't care if I ever do another cheeze-ball fill-in-the-blank Bible study as long as I live. I just want the real deal. God in the flesh. This movie gives me hope that one day, I'll really, truly get it; the essence of God's love.

Friday, September 10, 2010

More Division

The term "divide and conquer" is obviously well grounded in reality. Division makes any group of people, of any size, much easier to conquer, even destroy.

Each Sept. 10 now marks the anniversary of another remembrance of the last day that we experienced the feelings of safety and unity we once had, however falsely based that some of those feelings were. This year, I am especially sad at the the planned building of a mosque near the site of 9/11. I am even more distressed at the plans of the "pastor" Terry Jones to hold a public burning of the Koran in his church group. Really? Just what does he think this will accomplish?

I am going to quote a quote from Jim Palmer's "Wide Open Spaces" that is heavy on my heart today:

I Hate You.
You Hate Me.
We Hate Them.
They Hate Us.
What does it take to change this?

- Connie on MySpace, as quoted in "Wide Open Spaces"

These words planted a seed within me that has continued to germinate. Religion teaches that God is synonymous with a specific belief system. Each system claims to have "right" beliefs about God, which are passionately held by its adherants - so much so that hate, bitter resentment, bloodshed, and even war can result from disagreement about God. A brief overview of world history shows that bad things happen when religious belief systems clash. That is what Connie was feeling. She had experienced religious hate in her own world, was fed up, and voiced it in nineteen sobering words.

- Jim Palmer, "Wide Open Spaces"

I am also posting this video clip which immediately came to mind.