Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Old Testament Style

I love some of the Old Testament stuff. By that, I mean to say that I enjoy the way people who adhere to that way of thinking consider the world of their God.

To further clarify: they think of God not as a thing or an idea or a nebulous icon about which morality and dogma is applied, but as an actual person. Yes, a person. They see God as an individual. They speak to Him. They cry out to Him. What I like most about these folk is that they sometimes get mad at God. This harkens back to that stuff you read about in the old book--the rending of garments; the pulling of hair; the gnashing of teeth. If God was messing with them, then they felt obligated to let Him know that they were pissed off about it.

Nothing has illustrated this more for me in modern times than the actions and speech of the character E.F. in the Robert Duvall film, THE APOSTLE. This is a man who, while loving his God and professing the teachings of that God, still feels bound to express his feelings to Him when he feels angry about the direction the world has taken against E.F..

"I have always called you Jesus, and you have always called me Sonny."

I like this kind of film and can understand this type of religious fervor. And it doesn't matter which religion. There is that personality of the god and his relationship with his adherents. It's powerful stuff for these folk, and I understand it.

The Apostle E.F.

Another film (and novel) that displays this fervor in a different way is THE CHOSEN, an excellent movie made in 1981. This one features a friendship that forms between two young Jews, one an orthodox Jew who is a member of the more secular world, and the other a brilliant Hasidic Jew steeped in the deepest traditions of the faith.

I look for these kinds of books and films from time to time. It keeps me from feeling too smug about those who look upon the world in a different way than I do.

I listened to an interview with Rod Steiger concerning this scene. And he said that his intent here was to portray the Rebbe doing his best to seduce G-d.

The best performance I've ever seen from Robby Benson.

You can watch the entire film THE CHOSEN on Hulu. I highly recommend it.

No comments: