catapult magazine

catapult magazine

Vol 2, Num 7 :: 2003.03.28 — 2003.04.10



"I was thinking on my way home from work how strange it is to live in a city so crowded with people all trying hard not to look at each other."

"Self-protection, I imagine."

"I heard about a study once that said human beings require eighteen inches of personal space. Silly isn?t it?to put a number on it like that? Eighteen inches?"

"But still, you know, underneath it all maybe we want the same things. Maybe we?re more connected than we know."

"Do you think so?"

This particular conversation from the movie 13 Conversations About One Thing (see full review by Denis Haack) brought to full light a journey I've been on lately to discover the full extent of our need for connectedness. In fact, Denis' originally published review in his excellent journal Critique came at a point when we happened to have a borrowed copy of 13 Conversations lying yet unwatched next to the television.

The day after we finally popped some popcorn and popped in the video, I had a voice mail message at work. Suzanne was looking for peace activities that might be going on in our county and her pastor had suggested she call the church where I work. In relaying the message to our pastor, I mentioned that *cino might be a good resource for her. Imagine his surprise when he later referred her to *cino and she said she had just heard about our organization the day before from a flier she had received! For her, two unrelated events merged into one and for me, I discovered yet another like-minded person in the area.

But these were not the only connections made that day. It turns out that both the church I work for and Suzanne's church serve and sell fair trade coffee, and both churches thought they were the only ones in the area who did this. And the day before the phone call, I had talked to another member of Suzanne's congregation who had seen our flier and whose brother is a Costa Rican coffee farmer.

I'm almost getting lost in the details of these connections at this point, so I'm sure you are, too and isn't it wonderful? Through all of these "coincidences," I'm realizing more and more how essential the "unite" portion of *cino's motto is. In a way, *cino is providing a medium through which God can work out these so-called "chance" encounters. We are in the never-ending process of building a web and the more places the individual strands are connected, the stronger the web will be.

This web-building is extremely important in two separate contexts at this moment. The first context is this issue's topic. The film industry is one in which Christians can feel easily alienated, but Act One is proof that there is strength in numbers, that is, in gathering the people who have like skills and passions to learn from one another. Jason Vreeman and Chelsea Guest have also made discoveries within the industry that have made them feel more connected.

Spectators of film can feel alienated as well if they are not equipped to respond to films with an attitude of discernment. This is where Denis and Margie Haack's ministry, Ransom Fellowship, comes in along with *culture is not optional, Steve Lansingh's Film Forum and others. Christianity becomes irrelevant to the general public when its adherents reject or accept a portion of culture wholesale. But thoughtful analysis (see Grant's article) and thoughtful involvement can attest to what we know is true, that by the grace of God all can be redeemed.

The other current context in which unity and connectedness are important is in this time of war. On the same day Suzanne called, I noticed a sign at another local church that said, "Pray for victory" and I cringed. I felt a smug sense of pride that I attended the church that had "Pray for peace" its marquis, but almost immediately I questioned my false sense of superiority over my brothers and sisters in Christ. Hadn't the local ministerial association just last week held a vigil for peace, involving pastors and church-goers who ran the gamut from conservative to liberal? Hadn't that event impressed upon me that no one enjoys war and that we can all, regardless of political affiliations, pray for peace? Even those who are praying for victory hope that victory will consist of a lasting peace. We may not all agree on the road to peace, but we can all work together to uphold clearly affirmed biblical values.

I'm hoping that as I get to know Suzanne better, our rural county will see some constructive peace activities occurring. I also hope that, through these activities, I'll be able to stand comfortably side by side with all types of Christians, knowing that we share the same Creator and the same Savior, even if we don?t share the same political opinions.

And I hope that as *cino grows and continues to bring like-minded people together that we strengthen the community of believers, rendering us more effective in the re-formation of culture. I believe our dreams as an organization can come true, but not by our own efforts. We truly are more connected than we know. When our hearts and minds are in the right place, we have the God of the Universe pulling for us. Unity in love, unity in the Spirit, these are values we can all affirm together as we build the kingdom side by side.

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