Redemption at the Dump

Town Hall Theater

Wilton Town Hall Theater

Some of you who follow this blog (as ever, thanks for reading!) will know that Ribeye Films’ (the movie offshoot of Religion in the Balance) first documentary short “Atwood” screened recently at the Somewhat North of Boston Film Festival, and won “Best Short Documentary Over 20 Minutes”– a modest achievement, to be sure, but a nice start.

The aim of these films is to enflesh/incarnate abstract theological concepts through visual storytelling. That sounds grand, but in practice it means being grounded in dirt and ashes. In other words, the aim is to let the particular bespeak the universal– as Emerson put it, to hold infinity in the palm of your hand, and eternity in an hour.

The concept of redemption, for example. Here’s a working definition: the transformation of things with little or no value, into things of great value. Could there be any better place to begin exploring that idea, than at the town dump?

On a slow news day in our little town, my request to do some filming at the recycling center made the paper:

WILTON – Chris Owen of Wilton Center is planning to make a documentary and would like to film part of it at the Recycling Center.

“My project is a documentary on how things that are worthless can be transformed into something useful,” he told selectmen on Monday, Oct. 27. “There would be just me. I would be at the Center three to five times for an hour or two each time.”

Selectmen said they had no problem with the plan provided Owen coordinated his visits with Center Director Steve Elliott to be sure he was not interfering with the regular work and that he had all proper releases if he talked with or filmed workers.

Owen displayed the elaborate camera he would use, said he would use a cordless microphone, and would develop a simple release form.

He said he had no title yet. “That will develop as I go on,” he said. “That’s how documentaries work.”

Elliott said it could be worked out.

Selectman Chairman Bill Condra said, “I have no problem with photographing what should be the natural progression” in the disposal of waste materials.

The film will be shown at the Town Hall Theater when completed, Owen said. “I’m excited about that.”

Owen said it would be his second film. His first was accepted by and will be shown at the state film festival in Concord on Nov. 7 and 9.

via Wilton man plans film –


More Pope Yes


In case you missed it, last week Pope Francis once again addressed a sickness within Christianity with words of truth. The sickness? The idolatry of ideology. The words of truth? That to worship our ideation of God is a corruption of religious faith. The idolatry of ideology (worshiping my idea of God, rather than worshiping the living God) promises certainty, whereas religious faith promises only a relationship with the quick and vital Holy One, whose continually-unfolding purpose is always at least one turn-around-the-next-corner further than we can see.

All moralistic, literalistic fundamentalisms lead us back to the safety of our own confirmed opinions about God, and judgment of others. Faith leads us into an openness to life as it unfolds– its griefs and joys alike– and into relationships with others.

Faith is harder and scarier than fundamentalism, and therefore rarer.

Much of the popular press turned Francis’ words (excerpt below) into an indictment of so-called “right-wing” Christianity, but that’s not what he said. More interestingly, Francis is putting into words the Christian vision of what humans are (we are limited), and the propensity we have, as humans, to think we’re NOT limited.

All ideologies, whether secular (political or economic) or religious, carry the danger that we will become convinced of their absolute truth– thereby giving us the rationalization to harm the people who disagree with us “for their own good.” Religious people– of all people– ought to know better.

I’m eager for what Francis will say next.

Speaking at daily Mass last Thursday, Pope Francis warned Christians against turning their faith into a rigid ideology. “The faith passes, so to speak, through a distiller and becomes ideology,” he said, according to Radio Vatican. “And ideology does not beckon [people]. In ideologies there is not Jesus: in his tenderness, his love, his meekness. And ideologies are rigid, always. Of every sign: rigid. “And when a Christian becomes a disciple of the ideology, he has lost the faith: he is no longer a disciple of Jesus, he is a disciple of this attitude of thought… For this reason Jesus said to them: ‘You have taken away the key of knowledge.’ The knowledge of Jesus is transformed into an ideological and also moralistic knowledge, because these close the door with many requirements.” “The faith becomes ideology and ideology frightens, ideology chases away the people, distances, distances the people and distances of the Church of the people,” Francis added. “But it is a serious illness, this of ideological Christians. It is an illness, but it is not new, eh?”

via Pope Francis describes ‘ideological Christians’ as a ‘serious illness’ within the Church | The Raw Story.

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