Filmmakers gain access to the community of Rockland Ranch in the middle of the Utah desert where 14 polygamous Mormon families have created unique homes for themselves carved out of a rock-face.
There is a common theme in some “cults” (I am not saying this is a cult): individuality gives way to the community. For the greater good (however, that is defined) individuals stop being individuals and become a cog in the machine. The individual’s task is to be a step for another to reach a “higher level of holiness”.
I watched the mini-series Chernobyl. I know there are issues with it – especially about what did and did not actually happen. As always the characters made it real for me. And, I admit, I still mourn Lane Pryce!
Surrender to the universal or stand by yourself. Advancement vs authenticity. What makes this more impactful is that these are real people with real choices. I was really struck by the end when pictures of the actual people are shown with their stories. And the personal cost of their choices.
Life is about choices. I think it is human nature to escape into the faceless crowd and push responsibility to an abstract. “I was just doing my duty”! The essence of faith is that I stand alone before God. I answer for me. That is really lonely in an existential sense. In the end, no one knows my pain or hurt, no one but me. There are things that go on in my head that only God knows. And He still loves me!!! Maybe the start of authenticity is accepting that I am alone before God?And the end is accepting that I am loved anyway!
As of last Friday, I am again in lockdown. Actually not only me but the whole of the state of Victoria. We had online church yesterday. We have now done it so often it has a feeling of normality. Nothing stops the people of God from worshipping – even from watching The Chosen.
During lockdown, I have been watching more TV than normal. So I thought I would share some of the shows that I have been marathoning:
Heaven’s Gate: The Cult of Cults – I think Heaven’s Gate really illustrates that a cult is the opposite of the single individual. This is really good because it includes people who were part of the cult and continue to believe.
Westworld – season 3 as I have seen the first two
Versailles – only because I am amazed people dressed like that
Batman Begins – I have been listening to the soundtrack while working
There might be some I have forgotten. I might do another post for books which is much more interesting.
I have been thinking of rewatching Christopher Nolan‘s Batman series. I have enjoyed them in the past and, since we are back in lockdown, I have a little spare time. And Existentialist Comics has a great comic on the connection between Kierkegaard and Batman.
A movie is an experience. I think we sometimes over look the depth of some movies. I like the no-brainer movies too. But there are movies that make people think and, I think, the church should acknowledge that and work with it rather than against it. I think Jesus (and most certainly Kierkegaard) would use examples from modern movies to illustrate His points.
I have always thought that the three Nolan Batman movies had much philosophical depth. And I really like Batman as a superhero. So I did a quick Google and found this: The Dark Knight: Why So Existential? The post draws some very good connections with Fear and Trembling. It is well worth a read!
I might write more about Batman as I make my way through the movies.
After writing the last post I was thinking about life and this quote from The Sopranos came to mind. Tony is maybe not the greatest moral example. Yet the series does show a person trying to be “real” in an extraordinary context. And it is seriously funny in parts! Yes, there is no cure for life.
All of that reminded me of another quote that is often ascribed to Kierkegaard but more likely to be a slightly reworded version of a quote by Jacobus Johannes Leeuw:
Life is not a problem to be solved, but a reality to be experienced.
To live in the moment with Jesus – that is as much as I can hope for now. Maybe that sounds a little defeatist? Allow life to unfold, allow God to love, and simply to experience that reality. Allow myself to experience Jesus in the present. Surrender control, surrender myself, and “abide” in Jesus.
I was slow to jump on The Chosen bandwagon. But now I am leading the parade. We are planning to watch it as a parish and I am looking forward being together. And I am looking forward to Season 2.
But this picture for me is not about Season 2. It is about the caption: “Get used to different“. That should be my motto. Things are changing and my life is looking different. But there is one constant: Jesus. So focus on Him. Live with Jesus now and stop holding on to the past! Let life flow and let Jesus be Jesus.