Friday, February 02, 2007

Pop Culture Roundup

I continue through Secrets in the Dark at a leisurely pace, taking one sermon a day. So far, Buechner's sermons entitled "A Room Called Remember" and "Faith" have been highlights for me. I maintain that these read well, but I'm not sure if they "hear" well. And unless Buechner's going on a preaching tour any time soon, I won't ever be sure. The other option, I guess, is simply to read one out loud. They just seem like they would work best in an educated middle- to upper-middle class setting. I think I'll go look up where he was pastor. At any rate, here's one of my favorite paragraphs:

The world and all of us in it are half in love with our own destruction and thus mad. The world and all of us in it are hungry to devour each other and ourselves and thus lost. That is not just a preacher's truth, a rhetorical truth, a Sunday school truth. Listen to the evening news. Watch television. Read the novels and histories and plays of our time. Read part of what there is to be read in every human face including my face and your faces. But every once in a while in the world, and every once in a while in ourselves, there is something else to read--there are places and times, inner ones and outer ones, where something like peace happens, love happens, light happens, as it happened for me that night I got home. And when they happen, we should hold on to them for dear life, because of course they are dear life. They are glimpses and whispers from afar: that peace, light, love are where life ultimately comes from, that deeper down than madness and lostness they are what at its heart life is. By faith we know this, and I think only by faith, because here is no other way to know it.

We've seen the new version of The Producers several times this month on HBO. I don't think it did too well in theaters, and if that's the case a lot of people missed out. Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick are Broadway producers who discover that they can get away with swindling a lot of money out of benefactors if they produce the worst musical ever, because only the successful ones get checked by the IRS. So they come up with "Springtime for Hitler," thinking that it's a sure thing to be not only panned but condemned. But things go wrong on opening night. Fun fact: the guy who plays the director was on an episode of Saved By the Bell. Remember the one where Zack is put in charge of getting a good deal for class rings? This guy played the shady salesman. Oh, how far he's come. On a personal note, I've added a new life goal to the list: to play opposite my brother in the stage version. We'd freaking kill.

This week, both a rerun of Scrubs and the new episode of House dealt with issues of faith. In Scrubs, Turk tries to reconcile his belief in a benevolent God with his experiences at the hospital. In the end, he helps a pregnant woman deliver in the middle of a park, which doesn't really provide a clear resolution but at least restores his faith that miracles can happen. House deals more with the human capacity to do good and whether everything happens for a reason...and provides even less of an answer. He is asked by a rape victim why he believes this happened to her and what he believes is true. She refuses to believe that this was a random occurrance and that people are incapable of kindness, which House cynically dismisses. He says something to the effect of, "Humans are animals that occasionally rise above their basic evil nature." By the end, he seems to learn something about how belief helps people move through tragedy.

You know how sometimes a song comes along that serves as musical junk food for you? It goes against your basic principles of what constitutes "good" and "quality," but you find it really freaking catchy, almost in an addictive way? Right now for me, that's Fergalicious.

Around the web, this essay from RealLivePreacher kicked my butt.