Is Faith Growing Up Again?

I don’t usually post from my devotional time, but I was particularly struck by a reading today from the prayer book some of my friends and I have started using:

In his view, the Fall was essentially a matter of wrong growing up. St. Irenaeus believed,a s did many of the early Christians, that Adam was created as a young child. The reason why he was forbidden to eat from the tree of knowledge was simply that he had to grow up first, and that takes time. Unfortunately, Adam was impatient; in trying to anticipate his adulthood, by seizing the fruit before the time was ripe, he thwarted the process of true maturing. St. Irenaeus recognizes that one aspect of this is the disorder that afflicts human sexuality, and in fact we might say that his presentation of the Fall is, essentially, as a mishandling of the crisis of puberty. The result is that man can now only grow up properly by a painful dismantling of his false grown-upness. To this end, the Son of God “came to be a child with us,” so that we could be led back to childhood and then grow up again, this time in a true way, till we come to the full stature of Christ himself (cf. Eph 4:13). — From Prayer by Simon Tugwell

BabyI’m captivated by the metaphor of growing up wrongly, that our sin is a manifestation of our immaturity. When we see CEOs taking advantage of those below them, it’s immaturity.

When we see two grown men bullying each other in election ads, and all their friends stand behind them and cheer them on, this is immaturity.

When we can’t understand someone else’s point of view, even if we disagree with it, that’s immaturity.

When we can’t control our sexual appetites, that’s immaturity.Continue reading

Film Review: Toy Story 3

Go see this.  Right now.  Why are you still here?It’s become trite to say Pixar can’t make a bad film.  So it’s probably no surprise to anybody that Toy Story 3 is great.  But words really do not do this film justice.  Pixar has demonstrated that its films are starting to mature (remember UP?), and in this regard, TS3 follows suit.  Andy is off to college, the toys haven’t been played with in years and the question is raised: what happens now?  The toys are adrift – if Andy doesn’t need them anymore, what is their purpose?  What does it mean to move on in our lives?  How do transitions change what it means to be a family or community?  Can we learn to forgive, or will we become angry and bitter?

TS3 dives head-long into these issues.  The toys end up at Sunnyside Daycare; it seems at first to be a toy’s paradise, but dark secrets smolder just beneath the surface.  Can the toys escape and make it back to Andy’s house before he leaves for college?  Do they even want to escape?

Meet the new inhabitant of my nightmares.The story in and of itself is beautiful, gripping, hilarious and tragic.   Were this all the film gave us it would still be an incredible viewing experience.  But we get to travel with the toys as they learn what it means to move on, to change and, yes, to outgrow our childhoods.  We learn how important it is to have a purpose and the incomparable power of a community working together.  We see the beauty of friendship and the promise of redemption.  We laugh till our sides hurt and shriek in horror at Big Baby.

I understand that kids will probably love this movie, but don’t kid yourself.  Pixar made this film for adults.  Not because it’s filled with innuendo (::ahem:: Shrek) but because the toys’ journey is the journey of the child growing up.  The student leaving for college.  The parent saying goodbye.  The mentor passing on a legacy.  These are adult journeys that Pixar has treated with the utmost respect and grace.  And somehow they’ve managed to do so while making you laugh so hard you’ll pee your pants if you’re not careful.

Bottom line: TS3 is enjoyable on every level. Go see it. But brush up on your Spanish first.

Trust me on that last part.