Rogue One and the Paschal Mystery

[WARNING: Rogue One spoilers abound!]

rogueone_posterMany classic stories have a component of self-sacrifice for the greater good: Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, the original Star Wars. Heck, even Frozen has its “Paschal Mystery moment,” when Anna throws herself between her sister and the enemy’s blade. This notion of loving self-sacrifice that brings profound, new hope – which Christians call the Paschal Mystery – gets far more than a moment in Rogue One; its treatment is thorough-going, multi-faceted and reconsidered for modern audiences. The film’s ensemble cast shows there is more than one path toward a life of relinquishment, lived in deference to the greater good. Each member of the Rogue band is a pilgrim of sorts, on a distinctive path toward the same end, providing his or her own particular insight into what living the Paschal Mystery requires. For Chirrut, Cassian and Jyn, those insights can be summed up in the Christian virtues of faith, hope and love. [Read more…]

Why Read Fiction? A Perspective

So, what's this lady in a boat got to do with anything?

When was the last time you read a book for fun? For education? For spiritual enlightenment?

When was the last time it was all the same book?

If you’ve been studying here under the Hogwarts Professor, I’m guessing that might be pretty recently. But I think for many readers—including myself, in fact—the association between basking in a good story, didactic reception of knowledge, and the spiritual apotheosis of great art isn’t immediate or easy. It’s an old trope but it’s a true trope: we of the West have learned how to compartmentalise.*

The problem with implicit assumptions about the world, of course, is that they’re implicit. It takes a lot of self-scrutiny and a willingness to succumb to an outside critique from art and truth to expose them.

So what do you do when you’re too busy to read those sorts of books, watch those sorts of films, visit those sorts of galleries? What do you do when you’ve been trained to operate within rigid compartments and methods of scrutiny that ignore the silent power of Story? What do you do when you’re supposed to be the one with all the answers?

Mike Duran of deCOMPOSE, author of The Resurrection (Realms/Strang, 2011), asks similar questions in a recent blog post: ‘5 Reasons Why Your Pastor Should Read Fiction.’ [Read more…]