Showing posts from November, 2012

"Lincoln": The Films that Get Made and the Films that Should be Made

The criticism of the Spielberg/Kushner film "Lincoln" is that it continues to distort the history of the end of the Civil War, by focusing so much on Lincoln and events in Washington.  The untold historical movement of the times was the self-liberation of slaves who presented themselves to the Union army and demanded to fight.  This story is only partially told in popular film (I am thinking of "Glory"), and never from a point of view inside the slave community.  Imagine that movie, for a moment:  the disintegrating plantation life, the panic among whites, the enslaved calculating the risks of staying or going, the flight, the encounter with the resistant Union army which disdains their willingness to fight.  It is an inspiring and dramatic story and would make a great movie.

The scene at the beginning of "Lincoln" in which two African American soldiers talk to Lincoln hints at some of this drama.  One is more awed by the President, but proud to tell of …

Two Thanksgiving Prayers 2012

We prayed with these words on November 18th.

A Prayer of Individual Gratitude for the Church....

O Spirit of Life and Love,
God of many Names and Forms

We give thanks for the changes you are working in us, turning us from delusion to truth, from pride to humility, from cynicism to reverence,  from conformity to freedom, from indifference to compassion,  from disdain and judgment to openness and curiosity, from isolation to solidarity.  Each day, you call us beyond our selves,  and even if we do not answer,  we are grateful that you call.
We give thanks, this day, for this church and our fellow congregants, for all that they share:  words, stories, music,  working hands and creative minds,  and their kind witness of our changes.
We give thanks for those who came before us,  for this beautiful room, and a stable institution,  and the traditions that have sustained a beacon of the free spirit.  We are grateful that long before we were here,  here was here,  waiting for us.
And we give thanks to you, O restles…

The Always Answered Prayer -- 11/18/2012

It never seems that I have been grateful enough.  Thanksgiving rolls around and I am asked for what I am grateful, and to whom am I grateful, and the questions seem to catch me flat-footed, and by surprise.  Well, I am grateful to everybody for everything, of course.  But somehow, when you asked me, I wasn’t thinking of it right then.  I seems to me that I should have been more aware of it, more consciously thankful.  
Of course, gratitude is not always on one’s mind.  We live mostly in the present and in the future, but gratitude is a type of memory.  If one lived in the present all the time, without a thought to the past or the future, you wouldn’t feel grateful very much.  It is said to be a second pleasure.  Gratitude is the memory of a something pleasurable, a favor, a friend, a moment of grace.  And so, gratitude comes to us when are reminded, and so it can come as a surprise. 
Gratitude is a way of remembering the world, a way of remembering life. It is a way of making sense of e…