Restorative Justice in Les Misérables

I just recently watched Tom Hooper’s adaptation of Les Misérables for the second time and was, again, blown away by the social and theological themes presented in the film. I think what resonated with me the most was the humanity of the characters in the story. The characters that inhabit Victor Hugo’s world do not fall into neat boxes of morality, good versus evil. They are all flawed beings who are full of contradictions and passions. The most powerful message conveyed in the film (and book and stage musical) is one of social justice and ethics. This message of social justice intersects with Jesus’ own messages on society and living as Christ followers in the modern world.

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Picking a Fight with God

I’ve never been in a fist fight before. I don’t think I’ve even been close to getting into a fist fight before. I’ve always wondered what it would be like to get into a fight. What sorts of emotions would I feel? Would I fight fiercely or would my flight instinct kick in? I’m not particularly large or strong. I’m pretty sure if I tried to punch someone, my own hand would hurt more than they would. I don’t think I would feel very courageous in a fight. Often, God calls us into fights where we have no idea what we are doing but are told to be strong and courageous. Continue reading

From Vacation Pictures to Adventures with God

Megan and I on the Champs de Mars in front of the Eiffel Tower.

For our honeymoon, Megan and I traveled to Paris, a wonderful adventure for both of us. When we got back, we were so excited to share our experiences and our stories. We had hundreds of pictures to share. When we started sharing these experiences with our friends, I started feeling like our stories were falling on deaf ears. I began using phrases like “You just had to be there” or “This picture doesn’t do it justice.” Our friends listened and laughed at all the right moments but the reality is they couldn’t really identify with our stories because they weren’t there. They were simply observers of the stories Megan and I had lived and breathed.

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Consumer vs. Creator

I’ve been thinking about this post ever since I started this blog. I could never really wrap my head around what I wanted to say until just recently when I listened to a liturgical worship set from Willowcreek Chruch. The theme of the liturgy was creation and our place in God’s creation. This allowed me to synthesize a number of thoughts that were spinning about in my head into something that is hopefully coherent.

For a long time, I’ve been an avid consumer of content on the internet. The number of feeds or blogs I subscribe to in Google Reader is over 50. According to Google, since 2008, I have read over 150,000 articles from those 50 subscriptions. And that’s just from Google Reader, that number doesn’t take into account things posted to Facebook, Twitter, and all of the other websites that I frequent. You could say that I have a voracious appetite for web content, whether it’s a blog, news provider, or sports website.

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Our Unexpected Journey

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey was released in theaters this last weekend. I saw the film at midnight on opening night and thoroughly enjoyed being drawn into Middle Earth once again. One of the themes I think Tolkien (and Peter Jackson) writes well in The Hobbit is to show us the value of persevering through the unexpected. Bilbo Baggins is pulled into an adventure he could never have expected or been prepared for. He is in over his head and stumbles between trials and tribulations with the rest of his Dwarven company. We are reminded over and over again that Bilbo is far away from the comforts of his home, out of his element, and facing the unknown. Gandalf tells Biblo, “You’ll have a tale or two to tell when you come back.” Biblo asks, “You can promise that I’ll come back?” Gandalf responds by telling Bilbo, “No. And if you do, you will not be the same.”  The unexpected is what truly makes Bilbo’s adventure worthwhile.

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