Let me get this out of the way: I am pro-vaccine. I had the full schedule of what was available when I was a child, thanks to my parents, and I’ve had the appropriate boosters as an adult. I’ve followed the recommendations each time I’ve traveled internationally. Even though the shot for yellow fever made me extremely loopy for several hours and the one for typhoid made me think my arm would fall off, it was all worth it.
That said, I’m also sympathetic to the reasons that other people don’t vaccinate or seek a delayed schedule.
Over the last few weeks, I have been mulling over an interesting passage from Marilynne Robinson’s fine novel, Lila. The Reverend John Ames, an elderly Midwestern Methodist preacher is in conversation with his much-younger new wife, Lila, who has come to find rest, shelter, and love after a brutally hard life full of abuse and neglect. The conversation is about hell and the final judgment. Lila knows little of theology and metaphysics, but she has questions. Hard questions. How, she wonders, could the many people she has known who struggled and suffered so terribly on earth be made to suffer further in eternity because they didn’t become Christians? Who could believe this?
Evidently being able to bend over and touch the palms to the floor isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. And here I thought I had received high marks for my excellent flexibility. Why did I not learn this until I was 50? To make a long story short, here is my learning: flexibility is great, as long as it is matched by strength. The opposite is true, too—strength is great as long as it is matched by flexibility. So my chiropractor tells me I’m not allowed to stretch anymore, not until I’ve built up some strength.
Sitting beside my best friend, we tensed as policemen clubbed civil rights protesters. We teared up as Martin Luther King Jr. marched alongside James Bevel, as Coretta Scott King talked with Malcolm X, and as the leaders of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee strained to relate to their elders. Selma was an experience: visceral, soulful, inspiring, and shocking.
A visual image that struck me was based in sound: microphone before King, organ pipes behind him.
2014 has been described as the year that Hollywood found faith. But if the first-ever panel on faith and film at the Sundance Film Festival is any indication, the discovery of theological depth is still quite a ways off.
When pastors make the news, it’s often bad (e.g. murderous DUI, sexual abuse, or curious stunts). It was particularly interesting, then, to read the positive coverage of #usemeinstead—initially positive, at least.