For an industry far removed from religion, Hollywood sure does like to include God, heaven, hell, angels, and a host of other religious imagery in its movies. Television as well. This year saw the introduction of God Friended Me on CBS, and NBC’s The Good Place has continued to receive great reviews through its third season.
Unfortunately, neither Br. Tito and I had ever watched these shows so we couldn’t comment on their success. What we could comment on, though, were the loads of examples of the entertainment industry diving into the realm of religion with some subpar theology.
And yes, there are loads of examples… including my least favorite movie of all time.
Protestants believe that we are justified by “faith alone” while Catholics believe that we are saved by a combination of faith and works. Right? At least, that was what we were taught in catechism class through apologetics. Those foolish Protestants believe that they can do anything they want as long as they have faith!
Of course, Protestants don’t believe this, but it’s easy to see how this simple formula can be whittled down to this gross oversimplification. It’s also easy to see how, from this formula, Protestants might think that Catholics believe that we can save ourselves through good works. This is hardly the case, and a faithful Catholic should be repugnant at the idea: at the Synod of Orange, Council of Carthage, and Council of Trent (the latter being the one directly responding to Protestantism) the Catholic Church categorically denounced this position.
So how did we get here? And how we do get out of there?
The answer lies in cutting through the oversimplifications and getting to the root of what we actually believe. Novel idea, right? This means that things will not be automatically apparent to us. It means that the answer is going to be a bit confusing at first. We’re going to want a simpler answer to remember, a way to boil down the difference to a single line. But that is what got us into the mess in the first place! We must resist this temptation and try to get to the precise language our Church’s have come up with after hundreds of years of thinking about these topics.
Up for the challenge? Then I present you with the latest episode of Catholicism in Focus, a look at how Lutherans and Catholics define justification.
Besides being the greatest Order in the history of the Church (obviously…) the Franciscans have quite a unique feature to their history: we are the first Order to include missionary action into our Rule of life. Going to foreign nations, preaching the Word, and building up the Kingdom is what we’ve done from our very inception.
And it is what we are doing even today.
A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to visit one of our friaries down in Jamaica where the friars serve the poorest of the area. One friar in particular, Fr. Colin, is the pastor of two churches out in the country, requiring him to drive 20-40 minutes on dirt roads just to get to his church, and then multiple hours each day visiting his parishioners. Many live in houses made of unsealed wood and sheet metal, lacking many things we would consider basic necessities. As a missionary, he serves their needs, may it be physical or spiritual, and works to make life better for them.
It was a shame to only spend two days with him, as there was a lot more to show, but I think this video offers a great glimpse into what he does on a regular basis.
So… the first episode of A Friar Life will still be releasing today, but apparently I forgot to post this video from Wednesday on the blog. Oops. If you’re interested in the A Friar Life video, you can find it on YouTube this afternoon, but I won’t be posting it here until tomorrow.
Anyway… My first assignment! This is exciting! Last week I had the opportunity to visit the Catholic Center at the University of Georgia, and let me tell you: my trip exceeding even my high expectations. Having had a very difficult semester, I find myself of late very tired and worn out. (I think that fact that we got snow in Chicago twice this April also had something to do with it.) While I am often someone who looks forward to the future and gets excited about planning what’s next, I hadn’t been able to do that for UGA because I was so overwhelmed with what was right in front of me.
Getting on campus, my whole attitude changed. I found myself with a lot more life than I’ve had this year. I felt excitement in me that had frozen away in the snow and began to imagine the possibilities of the future.
And man… are there some possibilities! These students are amped up for the year, and there is just so much that we could be doing.
With that said, I hope you enjoy this video. It’s obviously not the totality of my first assignment, but it serves as a great first impression, offering a glimpse into what I’ll be doing next year. More to come, I’m sure, and be sure to check back tomorrow for the first episode of A Friar Life!
Every day, it seems, we see a trailer for a remake of a movie or a reboot of an old franchise. In the past few years, Disney has produced Cinderella, The Jungle Book, Alice Through the Looking Glass, Beauty and the Beast, Christopher Robin, and Dumbo, and over the next few years plans to release live-action version of Aladdin, The Lion King, Maleficent, Lady and the Tramp, Mulan, Cruella, Pinocchio, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Lilo and Stitch, and The Little Mermaid.
Seriously. I’m not making this up.
And that’s just one part of Disney’s movie division! Let’s not forget about what they’re doing with Pixar, Marvel Studios, and Lucasfilm.
Of course, Disney doesn’t have a monopoly of remakes and reboots, and a look to the news today shows that Paramount will be releasing Sonic the Hedgehog, a movie based off the 90’s Sega video game, and Warner Brothers will be releasing Pokémon: Detective Pikachu by the end of next month.
And it leaves me with a very important question:
Why can’t we come up with new ideas? Why do we keep recycling old ones, remaking movies we’ve already seen and rebooting franchises that have no place returning?
While the obvious answer to this question is money, Br. Tito and I think that there might be some other factors to this craze, and that some of them might actually be a good thing.