EPISODE 234: Turning Point

This theme of the insuperability of at least one problem in your life continues to absorb me — and in the light of hope and hopefulness.

I tell the story of a woman who recently attended a meeting of church executives, almost all of whom are absorbed by current issues and questions of identity in political terms. This person said to me afterwards, “It seemed like a voice spoke to me, as I listened to the virtue-signalling: ‘This form of Christianity has no future.’ ” What she meant was that there was no SAVING being proffered, nothing related to the fear of death and the questions of regret and remorse that overwhelm individuals as they grow in age.

I have to agree with my friend.

Then I watched an old “war horse” of a Hollywood movie entitled “The Sign of the Cross” (1932). For all its age, “The Sign of the Cross” is utterly blunt and shockingly direct concerning the human and philosophical objections to faith, faith itself, and the inter-face between faith and romantic love. The actors Frederic March and Elissa Landi pour all they’ve got into the decisive lovers’ disputes that create a highly affecting and dramatic, and to me completely plausible, conclusion. What is offered in “The Sign of the Cross” is a form of Christianity which has a very high and a very long future. Watch it.

And listen to Tyrone Davis now, great “torch song” singer of Soul Music, and hear how close he is to true experience.

HUGS always, PZ

EPISODE 235: The Year We Make Contact

I’m talking about pastoral contact, which is just another way of talking about personal contact. How do you get through to somebody? How do they get through to you? What establishes direct contact with the person that you really are?

The music of my casts almost all concerns that point of contact. Music can do it! Movies can do it. Cable can do it. It’s got to happen, by the way; or you perish from solitude.

There is a particularly instructive classic movie that deals head on with this question of making contact, and from a specifically Christian angle. It is called “Come to the Stable”, and stars Loretta Young and Celeste Holm. It came out in 1949.

“Come to the Stable” tells the story of two French nuns — one was born in America — who believe they have been directed by God to found a hospital for children in southern New England. They approach individuals whom they meet basically “by chance”, with their requests for concrete aid. They are never, finally turned away. The reason they are never, finally turned away is that they have wisdom about people — about the losses and the unwilling hardnesses that people “grow” into. ‘Sister Margaret’, especially, is acutely sensitive to people’s hidden hurts. And when these hurts are touched, sympathetically, nothing is off the table.

During the podcast, which had to be recorded twice, I get choked up, also twice, while I talk about an incident in the movie. It could be my story. It could be yours. And you could be Sister Margaret to me, and I could be Sister Margaret to you. (You’ve got to see “Come to the Stable.”)

If you’re in any kind of pastoral care, or need pastoral care (Hands go up!), share this podcast around. And listen to the last song. It’s The Carpenters from their most pop-inspired period. LUV U.