Category Archives: Movie

The Until We Meet Again Tour – 22 July 2016 – birthday edition

The  Until We Meet Again Tour took an interesting turn on this birthday.

The plan had been to go to the office to do some more cleaning and packing for the move.

Yesterday afternoon, however, my colleagues in the organization Ecumenical Women found themselves without a facilitator for a retreat. Would I help them out, they asked. Of course I said yes. I thought I might go to Riverside Park for a bit after the retreat ended.

The retreat was held at 475 Riverside Drive, right around the corner from the Shire. It ended at 1:00 but conversation lasted until 4:30.

Walking back to the Shire, I realized how oppressive the heat was today, and may be the rest of the weekend.

I went to the gym around 6:00 as planned. After the workout, I decided I did not want to do the heat. I ordered dinner.

And then began watching The Lord of the Rings films. That’s usually a Christmas activity with Tricia and Eric, Sean passes, but we did not find time for it last Christmas.

With the city under a heat advisory most of the day tomorrow, this seemed like a moment when I might have time to watch all three. The Balrog just grabbed Gandalf. We’ll see where things end up.

And there was cake today as my colleagues celebrated my birthday, singing twice.

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See you along the Trail.

 

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Filed under Family, Food, Friends, Movie, New York, Photo

Glory, Selma, tears

On Sunday, at the First Presbyterian Church of Far Rockaway, I quoted the song “Glory” by John Legend and Common from the movie Selma.

The young people of the congregation helped lead the service. Not too long after the sermon, the dance troupe provided a liturgical dance.

As the notes to their opening song sounded over the PA system, Darnell turned to me and said, “It’s your song. It’s ‘Glory’.”

The moment led me to the conclusion I had to see Selma. When my friend Hazel proposed tea; I counter proposed we go to the movie. She agreed. We did.

I do not offer a review here, simply three observations.

  • Selma is a powerful, profound movie about the struggle to end racism in the United States. Many of the issues addressed in the movie remain with us. Some have morphed. Some stay the same. We have work to do.
  • I have been to the Edmund Pettus Bridge. I was in Greensboro, Alabama to help rebuild the Rising Star Baptist Church. It had been burned in an arson fire. The rains came. Work stopped. We went to Selma to visit the National Voting Rights Museum and Institute. After viewing the exhibits, the group went to the bridge. Some walked quickly and easily on to the bridge. I paused for prayer and reflection before I joined them on that holy ground.
  • I wept as I viewed Selma. Several times. Interestingly enough, my tears did not come during the scenes of brutality and hate, racism and violence. Those moments made me wince and broke my heart. Painful as they were, they did not elicit tears. Tears came as I watched moments of unspeakable courage, unbreakable love, and astounding grace.

I give thanks for those who lived the story told in Selma. I give thanks for those who retold the story of Selma. I give thanks for those who give of themselves today to finish the work begun so long ago.

To those who worshiped at the First Presbyterian Church of Far Rockaway, I gave homework. Listen to “Glory.”

To anyone who has read this far, I give homework. If you have not done so, listen to “Glory” and go view Selma.

See you along the Trail.

 

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Filed under Antiracism, Movie, Music

Bangarang

With thanks to Christine Hong

HookEach person who remembers Robin Williams will see scenes from his career tonight and for many nights to come. So many moments stand out. So many choices.

I carry a moment from Hook. In this film, Williams plays Peter Pan – Peter Pan who has grown up to become Peter Banning. Peter Pan who has forgotten his friends, forgotten how to play, forgotten Never-Land. He even has children now – although he is so immersed in the world of business that he no longer has time for his children or his wife. When Captain Hook kidnaps his children, Peter returns to Never-Land to rescue them. There he realizes that he cannot save his children on his own. Toobtain help, he turns to the Lost Boys.   And they have no idea who this grown-up is – particularly since he can no longer fly or use his imagination or play or crow. “I am Pan,” he insists. Finally one of the Lost Boys looks him directly in the face. He reaches out and touches Pan’s face, staring intently, manipulating it, studying it. “Peter, are you in there?” he asks.For me, it is an image of God moment.All of us, each of us, bears the image of God.No matter how life has worn on us, torn at us. No matter how we have abused and misused ourselves. No matter how our culture has denied and despised us. We bear the image of God.

When you see a mirror, look at your face. Look at the faces of those around you. Look at all the faces you meet. Look carefully, prayerfully, deeply. Look long. Look well. No matter how weathered and worn, battered and bruised, smudged and soiled . . . inside the faces . . . inside every face . . . inside your face . . . there God’s image resides. God give us grace to seek God’s image in one another and to treat one another as bearers of that image.

See you along the Trail.

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Filed under Current Events, Movie

Celluloid connections

I always enjoy recognizing places I know in movies, particularly when it surprises me. It brings back memories and makes connections with people and places. A recently viewed movie became much more enjoyable when I spotted Pedernal in the background.

This morning, I finished watching The Quare Fellow, an adaptation of Brendan Behan‘s play. It presents a critique of thedeath penalty as it focuses on two pending execution.

The character subje ct to execution is not named or seen, except with a hood over his head at the hanging. The crime remains unnamed.

As a death penalty opponent, who has not been active enough lately, I appreciate that. My opposition is to the death penalty – to the state taking a life. My opposition depends neither on the person nor the certainty of guilt nor the crime for which the person is convicted, many of which are truly horrific. I grieve for those killed and violated in the crime. But executing the criminal demeans society. Execution is the issue.

Given such a topic, the movie is bleak and somber.

I recognized a filming location as Kilmainham Gaol. Kilmainham has a painful, tragic, troubling history. It is a place of defiance and resistance. All that washed over me this morning.

541970_10150941839146063_1422754043_nBut so did the memory of visiting Kilmainham with Tricia and Bruce and Nancy when we were in Dublin for the wedding of Joel and Roja. And the connections to my family and friends warmed me. (And yes, I realize celluloid is not used much anymore.)

See you along the Trail.

 

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Filed under Capital Punishment, Death Penalty, Family, Friends, Ireland, Movie

Dakota 38

Thanks to my friend and colleague Irv Porter who pointed me to Dakota 38, a video about the Dakota Wokiksuye Memorial Ride remembering the 38 Dakota men hung in Mankato after the U.S.-Dakota War and working for healing and reconciliation. Check it out!

See you along the Trail.

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Filed under Antiracism, Movie

Tonight I wept

There are places I remember all my life

Lennon and McCartney got that right.

But there are also people I remember. And moments.

Moments I will remember as long as memory lasts. Moments that not only fill my mind as memories. Moments that fill my soul and spirit as the sights, sounds, feelings wash over me as though the moment had never ended.

The births of my sons.

The death of my father.

The murders of John F. Kennedy, Malcolm X, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Bobby Kennedy.

The fall of the Berlin Wall.

The release of Nelson Mandela.

And more.

Tonight I wept as I relieved such a moment.

I finally watched Lee Daniels’ The Butler. I had not seen it in the theater, but I added it to my Netflix list and it arrived this week.

The film provides much to ponder. Alan Rickman as Ronald Reagan? Seriously?

The scene that touched me came near the end.

Cecil Gaines, played by Forest Whitaker, has retired from his position as a butler at the White House. He has reconciled with his son, Louis, played by David Oyelowo. His wife, Gloria, played by Oprah Winfrey, has died.

Cecil and Louis are in his house on November 4, 2008. The votes in the Presidential election are being counted. As the moment nears when the media will declare a winner, Cecil calls his son to come to the living room and watch. Louis arrives in time to see history happen.

As the newscaster in the film announces  Barack Obama’s election as President of the United States of America, I found myself transported back to the night it happened. And I wept.

I wept in joy at Barack Obama’s victory. At progress made. At hopes realized. At the possibilities before us then and now.

I wept in sorrow at how much work remains to achieve racial justice. At the oppression, discrimination, and injustices my sisters and brothers endure.

I wept in frustration at shortcomings and failings of President Obama’s administration to meet the expectations of the moment. At potential unfulfilled.

Merdine T MorrisBut most of all, I wept remembering my friend Merdine T. Morris. Shortly after the media announced Barack Obama’s election, I called Merdine T. Together we laughed and cried and prayed.

The film scene transported me through space and time and as I heard again the joy and hope and pride and concern Merdine T. expressed that night.

Merdine T. recognized the historic significance of President Obama’s election. She also understood the arduous work that lay ahead for him and for our country as we continue to come to terms with the racism and other systems of oppression and discrimination dividing us. Merdine T. knew first-hand racism’s bitter sting and enduring power. She knew Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. personally as our mutual friend Carol reminded me. She knew hopes shattered and dreams, not only deferred, but devastated. She knew the tears that water and the blood that mark the road to justice.

But Merdine T. Morris never gave up. She held to faith. She held to hope. She held to love.

And so I wept tonight because Merdine T. and her husband Luke trusted me and were my friends, because Merdine T. and Luke welcomed me with grace, because Merdine T. and Luke accompany me in the Communion of Saints, because, to paraphrase Bruce Springsteen, writing about another unforgettable moment:
Her strength gives me strength
Her faith gives me faith
Her hope gives me hope
Her love gives me love

Tonight I wept in gratitude. And my tears were good.

See you along the Trail.

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Filed under Friends, Movie

A new beginning

From Batman Begins:

Alfred Pennyworth: Why do we fall sir? So we might learn to pick ourselves up
Bruce Wayne: You still haven’t given up on me?
Alfred Pennyworth: Never

In my efforts at self-care, I have fallen often.

I have learned well how to pick my self up.

Family and friends, long-time and new, have never given up on me.

Today, as the secular new year dawns, I make a new beginning. Again.

As in the recent past, I will attempt to post results on Steps along the Trail. You are welcome to follow. Or not.

See you along the Trail.

 

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Filed under Exercise, Family, Friends, Movie