Friday, February 01, 2008

Thoughts and a Poem from the Frigid Prairies

I'm not sure why all of us bloggers feel the need to post our random thoughts for the world, but since I'm doing so much other writing these days it seems all I've got in me right now. I do want to put something on here once a week at least, so here's what I've got today:

  • I finally saw Diary of a Country Priest the other night. Watched it with about a half dozen other folds from my seminary. It was absolutely fantastic. Sort of dragged a bit at the end, but at the climax of the film I felt I was watching a peice of cinematic history, it was that good. Of course, you'd have to be mildly interested in church or ministry or theodicy, and at least empathetic to the melancholy thoughts of the main character, to truly enjoy it, but if you have any tolerance for any of that this is definitely a film worth seeing. A masterpiece, really. Along with Winter Light probably the two best films on Church themes that are in existence. So many great lines and symbols in this film that you can hardly begin to talk about them, but I loved the line about the "miracle of the empty hands" (how can you give the peace of God when you don't have it yourself?), and the recurrent barking dog (my prof here pointed it out to me and said it probably symbolized the Hound of Heaven), and even the spilled wine at the crucial crisis point . . . but the list could go on.
  • I heard a rumour that it is illegal to spank in Canada now. Is that true? I'm not a big fan of spanking but as a parent I think there is a place for it and there are places and ways I think it can be appropriate. I think a law against beating or abusing kids suffices as a way for the courts to discern when a line has been crossed (and unfortunately I think this happens more than anyone would like to think), but I really think a blanket law like this (if I've got my facts straight, which I might not), is pretty tragically short-sighted and an all around dumb thing. Whatever happened to the government staying out of the bedrooms of Canadians?
  • It got really cold in Saskatchewan this week. We were very concerned about our pipes freezing. Quite a few furnaces went out in our town. Thankfully ours stayed going. When the wind chill is -50 there are a couple thoughts that run through your mind. 1) Why do I live here again? 2) I sure do take a lot of things for granted, like a running furnace and a roof over my head. 3) Why do I live here again?
  • Anyway, here at seminary my friend Terry and I have been giving out this funny award at our community lunch every Thursday. Its called Seminarian of the Week and it comes with a tin-foil medallion that no one seems to want to wear for some reason. This week I wrote a poem to express our thanks to those who keep us warm in the winter:

  • When the earth tips so slightly away from the sun,
    Of all its inhabitants we north-folk are the ones
    Who lose what so easily for granted is taken
    And sense what it might mean to be God-forsaken.
    But we're not, and we know it, thanks to furnace guys and plumbers.
    So today we salute them and thank God for their wonders.


Bryce Ashlin-Mayo said...

Hope things are thawing out a bit for you...Alberta is not much different these days...our shower pipes even froze and I got to put my plumbing skills to the test...I am out again for a class the week of the 11-15th so keep your eyes peeled for my ugly mug to say hi.

ErinOrtlund said...

Yes, why do we live here again? I feel like I have had a thorough experience of winter and I'm ready to move on!

Will have to rent that movie sometime. No-spanking law? Well, I agree it is probably too much. I tend to think spanking should be a last resort, or maybe never even used, but a law seems too extreme.

matthew a. wilkinson said...

Diary of a Country Priest!!!

Yes, yes, yes. It's so great you enjoyed it that much.

Bresson's 'A Man Escaped' is similairly astounding and profound. It is such a shame Christians are generally so unaware of the wealth of great films made by (or about) their co-religionists: Andrei Rublev, Diary of A Country Priest, Winter Light, Ordet, etc. It is a long, proud list.

-50 with windchill. Outrageous. But at least going through it every year gives us Canadians a false sense of how tough we are that we can then lord over Americans.

ErinOrtlund said...

Hey Matthew a. Wilkinson, I'm an American and I think I'm pretty tough. ;)

Andrew M said...

Hey Jon,

I also have a deep love for 'Country Priest' I am always amazed at the end and grace being seen in everything. Since seeing the movie I have been trying to look for the presence of grace in difficult situations.
Oh, the spaking law. The act specifies that a parent can spank, but not with any object (belt, etc.) and that it can't leave a mark (like a scar or bruising. It is in our plan to protect stuff.

matthew a. wilkinson said...

I'm a Canadian and I think I'm pretty weak. I hate our winters. :)