Wednesday, May 30, 2007

What do we do now?

So last night I watched Garden State and for some reason the last couple of scenes really stuck out. Zach Braff and Natalie Portman are sitting in the airport waiting on Braff’s character’s flight. Portman is trying to convince him not to go.

Andrew: “This isn’t…This isn’t a conversation about this being over. It’s…It’s… I’m not like putting a period at the end of this you know. I’m puttin’ like an ellipsis on it…”

So he finally gets on the plane. Cut to Portman crying in a telephone booth in the airport.

Samantha, incredulously: “What are you doing here?”
Andrew, out of breath: “Look. You remember that idea I had about working stuff out on my own and then finding you once I figured stuff out?”
Samantha: “The ellipsis?”
Andrew: “Yeah. The ellipsis. It’s Dumb. It’s dumb. It’s an awful idea. And I’m not gonna do it, okay? Cause like you said, this is it. This is life…and I’m in love with you Samantha. I think that’s the only thing I’ve ever been really sure of in my life. I’m really messed up now, and I got a whole lot of stuff I gotta work out. But I don’t wanna waste any more of my life without you in it, okay?”
Samantha: “Yeah.”
Andrew, with growing excitement: “And I think I can do this! I mean, I want to. We have to, right?”
Samantha, very happy: “Yeah!” (She starts laughing nervously.)
Andrew: “Right?” (He starts laughing too, though a little more relieved.)
Samantha: “Yes!”

They hug.

Andrew: “So what do we do?”

She starts to shake her head.

Andrew, with a bit of desperation: “What do we do?”

They kiss, the camera pulls back and then fade to black.

There are few couples we know who have slowly extricated themselves from the mainstream church. We used to get together pretty regularly, but we all had either crazy schedules or events going on in our lives and so we only get together sporadically, and rarely all at one time. So earlier in the evening we had one of the couples over for dinner and Ryan helped me put in a ceiling fan. We were sitting around talking after working and dinner and I felt the need to steer the conversation toward God. I always feel like there should be some sort of momentous dialog or prayer or something every time we get together.

I get various pieces of mail addressed to me from my time in the church. I got a glossy flyer for some sort of upcoming conference for teen girls and we started talking about it. I mentioned Steve Sensenig’s post about the music industry and some of the comments about intertwining money and business with things of God. It was obvious who the target demographic was and I said I understood what they were trying to accomplish, but it seemed so far removed from real life. Conferences like this create this false impression of living life only on the mountain tops. Once these kids get back into the real world all they start looking for is the 'peaks', thinking the 'valleys' mean they are doing something wrong.

Ryan mentioned how church was like that and he was tired of trying to seek the next 'high' in his walk with God. Annie said she has never been this guilt-free since she has stopped attending the I.C. (Institutional Church). They talked about learning about real life and maturing and growing up.

The last lines of the movie really resonated with me concerning church and seeking God. When all of the busy work of the I.C. is taken away, we start to ask, "So what do we do? What do we do?"
We start to see how immature our faith and walk really are and we start to grow up and trust in God. Or we don't.

Any thoughts?


ded said...

So what I think is...that putting in a ceiling fan and praying together is much the same thing.
Each activity can bond people together or divide them. It boils down to what the participants hold in their hearts.

Don't misunderstand me, I am not saying prayer is on the level of working on one's house. Yet what people share is not necessarily the content of an activity. I went to prayer at 6:00AM on Wednesdays for five years. I was very faithful, too. Usually I was the one with the key opening the door to the church building. Not many of the faces who participated in that activity are part of my life now.

I regret none of those times, nor the level of relationship this seems to have not built. 8^)

My point is that the mundane is just as much a part of Kingdom life as many "good church activities". The issue isn't whether or not something is spiritual, but what level of connection are the folks involved sharing. Our level of connection is the spiritual. Either the lack thereof or the depth thereof.

Did your friends leave the ceiling fan activity knowing you loved them unconditionally?

You pose great questions, Mike. It helps me know you "after the spirit".

Mike Ross said...

No doubt they know I love them. They are some of our closest friends, but definately it comes from a spiritual level.

Wow. Celing fans and prayer...who woulda thought. LOL!