Sunday, 9 June 2013

Cunning doves, innocent snakes and no satisfaction

Sometimes I get the feeling that in terms of New Evangelization we end up being "cunning as doves and innocent as snakes", thought, it is supposed to be the other way around. It is not as simple as coming down the streets and trying to "offer" the Christian answer. Is much more complex than that. People might be indifferent to this type approach because they believe that the Christian answer could never correspond to their concerns.

But an answer to what? In terms of marketing, you are supposed to study your market before selling your "product". Before talking about a “product” we need to identify a specific need.

Before talking about the Christian answer, we need to talk about the question, the big questions, the big quests and desires, deep in our hearts, deep in contemporary man's heart. Then, the question should be:

Does God fulfill our expectations?

When I'm drivin' in my car
And the man come on the radio
He's tellin' me more and more
About some useless information
Tryin' mess my imagination.

When I'm watchin' my TV
And a man comes on to tell me
How white my shirts can be
But, he can't be a man 'cause he doesn't smoke
The same cigarettes as me.

When I'm ridin' around the globe
And I'm doin' this and I'm signin' that
And I'm tryin' to make some boy
Baby, baby, baby, come back
'Cause you see I'm on a losing streak.

When I'm ridin' a round the globe
And I'm doin' this and I'm signin' that
And I'm tryin'
And I'm tryin' 

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

"Asking the right questions" : American History X

American history X (1998) is the first film directed by the English producer Tony Kaye. He has mostly produced music videos and American tv commercials since he was sure that was a "surefire route into movies". Call him eccentric, engaged in social struggles - i.e. abortion (Lake of fire, 2006), education (Detachment, 2011) - his films are not the classic Hollywood productions.

His first movie explores the Nazi drift of two brothers, Derek (Edward Norton) and Danny Vinyard (Edward Furlong). After a traumatic experience in jail Derek restarts a new life and tries to get his younger brother away from Nazi ideology.

The following short extract shows the moment Derek receives the visit of his old school teacher Robert Sweeney (Avery Brooks) while he is in prison, and during the conversation experiences the non-sense of his life:

"S: I need to know the truth about how you feel. 
D: You think I want him in here? I mean...I don't know. I don't know what I feel. I'm all... I feel a little inside out. I'm… you know - I don't know. There's some things that...that don't fit.
S: All right. That's why you have to stay open. Right now, your anger is consuming you here. Your anger is shutting down the brain God gave you.
D: God. You know, man? You've been talking about what's going on with me since I was in high school. How the f... do you know what's going on inside me?
S: No, I know about me. I know about this place. I know about the place you are in.
D: What do you know about the place I'm in?
S: There was a moment, when I used to blame everything and everyone for all the pain and suffering and vile things that happened to me, that I saw happen to my people. Used to blame everybody. Blamed white people, blamed society, blamed God. I didn’t get no answers ’cause I was asking the wrong questions. You have to ask the right questions.  
D: Like what?
S: Has anything you’ve done made your life better?"

I couldn't think of a song about the meaning of life or being in jail and having epiphanies. But instead I remembered about a country song played at one of the very first episodes of Lost (season 1, episode 6 "House of the Rising Sun"). The song by Willie Nelson, "Are you sure?" is from the album Country Willie - His own songs (1965) is a master piece : direct, simple and clear.

Oh, look around you, look down the bar from you
At the faces that you see
Are you sure that this is where you want to be?

These are your friends, but are they real friends?
Do they love you as much as me?
Are you sure that this is where you want to be?

You seem in such a hurry to live this kind of life
And you’ve caused so many pain and misery.

But look around you, take a good look
Just between you and me,
Are you sure that this is where you want to be?

Please don’t let my tears persuade you
I had hoped I wouldn’t cry
But lately, teardrops seem a part of me

Oh, look around you, take a good look
At all the locals used-to-be’s
Are you sure that this is where you want to be?