Saturday, January 7, 2012

What's wrong with the world and what can we do about it?

Our vestry is on retreat at the beautiful Valle Crucis Conference Center. We have been working with the Rev. Canon Jeff Batkin in an Appreciative Inquiry process. We finished that work this afternoon (or should I say we came to a stopping point in the beginning of this work), took a break and then gathered again tonight for supper. After supper we had some fun activities planned by Roberta Rhodes our Commissioner of Joy (there's a longer story behind this position but essentially it evolved out of a sermon where I pondered the need for a Committee of Joy in all churches). After the joy, we gathered to watch the documentary film I AM by Tom Shadyac.

Here's what the film's official blog has to say:

I AM is an utterly engaging and entertaining non-fiction film that poses two practical and provocative questions: what’s wrong with our world, and what can we do to make it better? The filmmaker behind the inquiry is Tom Shadyac, one of Hollywood’s leading comedy practitioners and the creative force behind such blockbusters as “Ace Ventura,” “Liar Liar,” “The Nutty Professor,” and “Bruce Almighty.” However, in I AM, Shadyac steps in front of the camera to recount what happened to him after a cycling accident left him incapacitated, possibly for good. Though he ultimately recovered, he emerged with a new sense of purpose, determined to share his own awakening to his prior life of excess and greed, and to investigate how he as an individual, and we as a race, could improve the way we live and walk in the world.

This fit right in to all we have been talking about at our retreat as we have explored what gives St. John's life and how we can make a difference in the world in a positive way. I can't recommend this film highly enough. It is not only engaging and entertaining it is challenging as well. There are some fascinating intersections between science and religion highlighted. The film includes interviews with everyone from Desmond Tutu to Coleman Barks (yes, he quotes Rumi, so you know I liked it!)to Norm Chomsky to Howard Zinn.

The bottom line is how incredibly connected we are with every living being and thing (even yogurt--you'll have to watch the film to get that one!)and how we all can make a difference. In fact we are making a difference already in every action, every word, every thought--so we want to make it count for the good.

I purchased the film on DVD (it was just released on January 3). Don't know if it is available for rental or streaming yet but it's worth owning. I would have loved to have seen it on the big screen when it was playing in theaters. But I'm happy to own it because I will probably watch it multiple times, as well as share it with others.

When all your desires are distilled
You will cast just two votes
To love more
And be happy


1 comment:

Mary said...

You are on a roll! Hurray for having a Commissioner of Joy! Go, Jeanne! Go, Roberta!

The Sunday Asheville Citizens-Times featured a man whose New Year's resolution is to be an optimist! Not having seen the film "I AM" yet, I still have a hunch that Tom Shadyac would affirm this man's resolution. I do!

Thanks for commending the film to us!