When my friend and fellow columnist Dave Lieber of the Dallas Morning News gives talks about writing and story telling, he draws a large V on the flip chart. Well, it's a V with a small curly-cue at the end.
I was thinking about Dave's construct the other evening when my wife and I saw the 3-D version of "Gravity," the film by director Alfonso Cuaron that is simply stunning in its special effects and its intensity.
One of the two primary characters, Ryan Stone, played by Sandra Bullock, travels the V-shaped slide into darkness and back toward redemption by the end of the movie about astronauts. (Well, this movie is about astronauts in the same way that Catch-22 is about airplanes.)
In that sense of redemption, this film also offers what the great religions offer. They provide adherents with a reason to go on, with hope, with a way out of what we've gotten ourselves into and with a way of making sense of it while we're still in it.
In Christianity, especially, there is a recognition that we're all in dark places that we ourselves have created because, well, we're screw-ups. And we can't unscrew things without help from each other and from the divine.
In "Gravity," Ryan Stone, because she didn't follow orders, has put herself in deep trouble in space, though later her space partner tells her it wasn't all her fault. And just when she's given up, hit bottom, resigned herself to death in space, something happens to give her stamina and a determination to survive, even though before that redemption she has mourned aloud that no one on Earth would mourn her passing or pray for her and that she herself has never said a prayer in her life.
It's a compelling film. See it with redemption on your mind. And be attuned to the forces of redemption in your own life.
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PROTECTING WHAT NEEDS NO PROTECTION
Four Iranian Christians, it's reported, were sentenced to 80 lashes for consuming Communion wine. I just will never understand why some adherents of Islam think their religion needs such ridiculous measures of defense. It's not that weak. It can stand on its own.