A pair of British imports explores faith of different kinds. Millions, directed by Danny Boyle from a script by Frank Cottrell Boyce, is by far the slicker of the two. It is chock-full of glitzy visual effects, something to be expected from the man who directed the kinetic drug film Trainspotting.
You gave me time. And giving that, like a master, a miser, gave away nothing. You knew this all along. For though you move in cycles and seasons, you dwell beyond, outside of time and measure, beyond the scope of words and reasons. This is what you give, then: a center, a way of being, that though it moves, lies beyond movement the way the springs of a well rise far below the moving waters of their mirrored surface where they play and spill like the dance of trees rooted upside down in heaven. How strange it seems, through the looking glass. For I know your ways, am one of them with you. Like needle, like compass, like kayak I follow you as you follow me. And moving, am moved toward you. As you like these waves, make no move at all. Croatan Sound. Albemarle Sound. Currituck Sound. Pamlico Sound. The music of a water wind beyond human names and naming.
Men and women in black, a few at first and then more, move quickly and silently across the parking lot, like a slow rain beginning to fall into the dark mouth of the sanctuary. A blue jay screams curses from the skirts of a pecan tree.
Then comes the small girl the neighbors call “the urchin,” who spends each day alone flitting around the neighborhood like a trapped moth. She is surrounded by three patchy dogs.
She marches barefoot and chants a little song about the summer morning, three stray dogs, and her very own self. She passes between the mourners, a blade of blue sky cutting through storm cloud.
When she gets home, her mother will still sit like a sea wall in front of the Trinity Broadcasting Network with a can of beer. The urchin will go into the kitchen for a glass of warm tap water. The man in the coffin will still be dead. The mourners
will still gather and be sad. Nothing will be any better. The jay will keep screaming its malediction on the deep down meanness of the world. But, look now, for a moment: the song, the girl, and three loping dogs.
Religion is often on display in professional athletics, with the exception of the National Hockey League. The few hockey players who are open about their faith buck a tradition of reticence or downright distrustfulness toward religion. Unlike professional football or basketball, many NHL players come from Canada or Europe, where the culture is much more secular and religious faith is closely guarded. There is also the suspicion in hockey that a person of faith might be too soft a player. Some hockey clubs make chapel services available, but far fewer than in professional basketball (Boston Globe, April 5).