Saturday evening, Sunday morning

Yesterday’s weather (“I’m going to rain, I promise – see my dark clouds? I can do it dammit!  I’m going to rain!!”) gave me permission to go to a Jean-Luc Godard double feature.  Four hours of French.  By the end I wanted to send a box of chocolates and a note to Godard saying, “I’m sorry you feel this way, but why make us feel this way too?  Please eat this box of chocolates in one sitting.”  In My Life to Live, the star, Anna Karina, is in a movie theater watching another star, Maria Falconetti, in The Passion of Joan of Arc.  There seems to be a dialogue of gazes between them.  Suddenly, they are both weeping.  They have given one another their grief.  It is both selfless and selfish.  It is the humble majesty of movies.

The movie theater is a holy place to me.  It is this blob of blackness that you can absorb into.  It doesn’t just allow you, it accepts you.  And it doesn’t matter if you dress like a member of KISS, or breathe too loud or have never read anything by Hemingway.  It just wants to tell you a story.  No, it wants you to find yourself in a story.

Churches should be that way too.  Mine is.  It’s a church that meets inside a movie theater.  This morning we sang a song that went: “hold the door for me, because I’m right behind You, I’m following where You lead.”  When we stopped, I felt as though my cells had dissolved.  Everything was going through me, and I couldn’t, didn’t want to, hold on to any of it.  I was separate, but sensing it all.  Rejoicing in the wholeness of the moment, not held hostage by the possibilities of the future…like watching a movie.

5 thoughts on “Saturday evening, Sunday morning

  1. Your church sounds like being on drugs. I’m intrigued. My church is like that too sometimes I guess. Like Ambien. Or too many Benadryl around 8 pm.

  2. I get embarrassed by people speaking in tongues, because I never usually hear it anymore. I understand the “theology” behind it or whatever…but I can’t really explain it so I don’t like to deal with it.

    Last week Ryan was off work for once, and he came to church with me. The pastor preached like, HALF of the sermon praying in tongues.

    I know it doesn’t pertain to your post, but if I told anyone else it would seem too pompous.

  3. Beautiful.

    Also, re: sav’s comment… I hate it when that happens. The second and last time Ush came to church with me (in WI), a guest speaker gave a very narrow (ie: america is the world) sermon. It was the proverbial straw for Ush, and understandably I guess.

  4. Time to post again, Ben. I’m having serious withdrawls… withdrawals?… See?!?! I can’t even remember how to spell anymore!

  5. It’s always great to get new glimpses into the mind of the mysterious but remarkable Ben Parmen.

    You’ve inspired me to start up a non-profit organization that reaches out to needy French-New-Wave inspired filmmakers. The goal of the organization will be to send an incessant amount of cookies, colorful stickers, and hugs to these types of filmmakers, until they relent and make at a least a somewhat cheerfully heart-warming film. The board of directors will decide whether the films in question are sufficiently cheerful to be counted a success.

    It’s an important cause, and we’d really appreciate your support.

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