The life of evangelical churches and their spiritual leaders has been portrayed in some recent films and series. Can they help us start conversations?
Conflict is a form of communication of last resort, which, contrary to appearances, does not have to finish badly, but provides the opportunity to draw closer to the other person.
Da-aad, dunno what to do-oo...!
It’s with great acting talent in tragic melodrama that my son plays the role of a character in a state of despair (awesome a show!). He drags his feet slowly and puts on a suitably peeved expression. This is the strategy he adopts when his parents tell him:
‘That’s long enough on the computer for today!’
To every suggestion of an activity (not involving a computer or console) that I make to him, his reply begins:
‘Nah, that sucks...!’
In the end, I think for a minute and throw out:
Why don’t you invent an anti-gravitational machine?’
‘Nah, that su... What? ! What’s that?’
(Great, the record’s not stuck any more)
‘Well, it’s a method enabling us to walk on the ceiling.’
‘Come on, Dad, that’s impossible!’
‘That’s always what people say before inventing something. In the past, people used to say: “A vehicle that moves without a horse, that’s impossible!”’
‘But, Dad, I’m just a kid!’
‘Nah, that sucks – that excuse! What if we had a go together?’
The discussion that follows is fascinating, punctuated by bursts of laughter and crazy ideas; this ‘Why not?’ has opened up our minds and freed us from a discussionational (this word does exist – I’ve just invented it!) impasse.
When all’s said and done, if our exchange of ideas didn’t lead to any great invention, it at least had the merit of turning us... upside down! We really love talking together, my little lad and I... and, even if I am the adult, I need it as much as he does.
We are still in a state of total madness, when our neighbours from the second floor turn up, with an expression of impish mischief on their faces (our front doors are only used to hold back the cold from outside). Great. They invite us to see a film in their home cinema... What a surprise to discover that the film they have already chosen to watch that evening is: ‘Upside down’, the story of two worlds with inverted forces of gravity whose heroes…
...walk on the ceiling!
Benjamin and I are gobsmacked and, instantaneously, we exchange knowing glances. I say:
‘Wow, you see, God was listening to us...’
‘Er... But we weren’t doing anything spiritual!’
‘So? You know He’s never that far away...’
And at that moment, I am sure that God winked at me!
When we ‘hang up’ a prayer, by marking the end of it with a solemn ‘Amen’, it’s an illusion: because, in reality, the ‘line’ set up with Him remains open permanently!
Entrust your life to Him (not just when it’s the Sunday morning service or midnight mass or when you have an exam, a test, etc.) and Dad will also, just as entirely as discreetly, lovingly indwell… even your crazy moments!!
To meditate on...
Conflict is a form of communication of last resort, which, contrary to appearances, does not have to finish badly, but provides the opportunity to draw closer to the other person. On the other hand, keeping our sense of injustice to ourselves, beneath its peaceful appearance, is nothing but an insidious poison (which stinks of yucky vomited-up pooh!)…