This afternoon I sat down and watched Ordinary People with Mary Tyler Moore, Donald Sutherland, and Timothy Hutton. As the movie begins you know that something tragic has happened in the life of young Conrad that is keeping him from sleeping. Robert Redford directed this movie that won four Academy Awards in 1981 including Best Director, Best Picture, Best Writing, and Best Actor in a Supporting Role for Timothy Hutton, which seemed strange to me because I would have put Timothy Hutton as the lead in this picture, but he never would have beat out Robert DeNiro that year who won for Raging Bull, but I also would have made him share the award with his fellow nominee Judd Hirsh who plays Hutton’s therapist.
First of all, this was an amazing movie. It has all of the drama that Noah Baumbach is going for is his recent pictures, without all of the raunchy interludes. There are several shots within this picture between Hutton and Hirsh that prove to be the precursors for Matt Damon and Ben Affleck’s Good Will Hunting. Hutton’s character of Conrad is going through a difficult period in his life to say the least and has a lot of people speaking into his life on their own terms and for their own benefit. What I enjoyed about the progression of Conrad’s character was that he was able to find his own voice. He learned how to express his feelings and be heard.
What was interesting for me to see in this movie was the opening establishing shots which were underscored with the school choir singing Canon in D Major with its chorus of Hallelujahs. I finished reading Dan Kimball’s They Like Jesus But Not The Church, which I will blog about in another post, and within the last chapters of the book he talked about the new gap that we have placed between people and God. Kimball states that we are telling people that in many ways they must conform to the Christian subculture before they can even get to the place where they must deal with their sin and the gap that separates them from God. You can get a better picture of this in John Burke’s No Perfect People Allowed. Conrad’s mother seemed unwilling and even embarrassed by what was happening within this family and would rather leave than work it out. This has made me think about how far are we willing to travel down the road with someone walking on their way to becoming a Christ-follower. The church wants people to change in an instance, but that rarely happens. Discipleship and sanctification is a process and we must allow imperfect people into our fellowship so that they can see how more mature followers of Christ handle life. Discipleship is not just what you know, but it is also about how you live your life and how you react to life as it happens. I think that this has a lot to do with the lack of intimacy that has overtaken the church. When we are afraid to share life together we unable to become a body.
- How far are you willing to walk with someone on their journey?
- Are you quick to give up on someone or are you willing to travel with them?
- Think about the farthest you have traveled with someone. Can you go farther?
- Are you relationships suffering because you are afraid to open up?