A vulnerable God, and surrender

We’re currently producing a show featuring Jean Vanier, a wise old man who has spent his life doing charity work with mentally disabled individuals around the world. Although he’s Christian, his words and his gentleness are unsettling in their beauty and have given me plenty to think about as a Muslim. His notions of God’s vulnerability, in particular, make me understand the word islam better than I ever have. (I’m going to delve into the kind of theological matters I don’t typically discuss. I mean, yes, I do talk about religion often enough, but my own spiritual bent is difficult for me to pin down, even though I’m coming from an Islamic perspective. So I’ll be talking about God as a reality more than I usually do. That’s even uncomfortable for me to do because I think God is something that we are incapable of talking about well using language. It’s awkward, and language is limiting because of its precision and linearity. I’ll be addressing that awkwardness in this post, as well.) Read more

Star Wars, orthodoxy and spirituality

I was looking over the post I made about The Hero With a Thousand Faces, and I thought back to actual philosophical conversations some friends and I have had about Star Wars.

We were all born in the late 1970s, so Star Wars was part of our childhood mythology. It’s a passion for us, and the debates have gotten quite heated, particularly surrounding the Prequel Trilogy and their place in the pantheon.

In all seriousness, the Prequels aren’t really respected by most fans I know. I don’t know about die-hard, convention-going fans, which we are not. But just regular people who, like us, grew up fantasizing about the movies, making lightsaber sounds every time we turned on a flashlight—we’re having trouble reconciling the quality of the Prequels with our love of the Original Trilogy.

So hoping to inject some intellectual coherence into the Prequels, I’ve been trying to figure out exactly what Lucas is try to say there. There’s this whole messy political plot that is incomprehensible to me. Mixed up in there is a statement about Messianic theology, dogmatism, orthodoxy, mysticism, and religion in general. (And now for the indulgent fan-boy analysis. Hey, I’ve got to do something to redeem this franchise.) Read more