12 Witnesses

Let these stones be a witness to what we have done here this day.

Movie Quote: Hope

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[Institutional v. Missional Church: Structure will post at noon today.]

Relating to the previous quote, “Institutionalized,” the protagonist, Andy Dufresne had just joined his friends at lunch after two weeks in the hole.  He was sent to the hole for playing Mozart over the prison public address system.  He is trying to explain the power of music and why he said that since Mozart was with him, it was the easiest time he’d ever done.

“It’s in here (pointing to his head).  It’s in here (pointing to his heart).  That’s the beauty of music.  They can’t get that from you.  Haven’t you ever felt that way about music?”

[Red answering] “I played a mean harmonica as a younger man.  Lost interest in it, though.  Don’t make much sense in here.”

[Andy] “Here’s where it makes the most sense.  You need it so you don’t forget.”

[Red] “Forget?”

[Andy] “Forget there are places in the world that aren’t made out of stone.  That there’s a… there’s something inside that they can’t get to.  That they can’t touch.  That’s yours.”

[Red] ” ‘chya talkin’ ’bout?”

[Andy] “Hope.”

[Red]  “Hope.  Let me tell you somethin’, my friend.  Hope is a dangerous thing.  Hope can drive a man insane.  It’s got no use on the inside.  You better get used to that idea.”

[Andy]  “Like Brooks did?”

Movie Quote: Institutionalized

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Midway through “The Shawshank Redemption” Red, speaking to fellow cons on the yard about the meltdown of longtime inmate Brooks, who had received parole after 50 years inside the prison.

“Brooks ain’t no bug.  He’s just… he’s just institutionalized.”

“The man’s been in here fifty years, Haywood.  Fifty years.  This is all he knows.  In here, he’s an important man.  He’s an educated man.  Outside, he’s nothin’.  Just a used up con with arthritis in both hands. He probably can’t even get a Library Card if he tried.  You know what I’m trying to say.”

“I’m telling ya, these walls are funny.  First, ya hate ‘em.  Then ya get used to ‘em.  Enough time passes, ya get so you depend on ‘em.  That’s institutionalized.”

The fact that Brooks probably couldn’t get a Library Card is ironic, since he had been the Prison Librarian since 1912.

Movie Quote

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With deference to the prolific memorable dialog from Doc Holiday in Tombstone, I have a new movie quote from a movie not widely viewed, but which I have come to enjoy.

The movie is “Stranger Than Fiction” and it follows IRS agent Harold Crick as he begins to hear the narration of his life by author Karen Eiffel, though she is unknown to him at the time. This isn’t a review – I may do that some other time – but just to set up this long quote by the author at the end of the movie.  It turns out the author is writing a novel and has writer’s block.  She’s been writing this book for ten years.  It so happens that the narrative of her story is the narrative of Harold’s life.

That narrative revolves around Harold’s drab existence that blossoms into love: for life, for his only friend and for Miss Pascal – a lady, very different from himself, whom he is auditing – as Eiffel struggles to end her book. And the story is about Harold’s watch, which is ignored by Harold but is anthropomorphic and becomes its own character. The hitch is that the book she is writing, the narrative of Harold Crick’s existence, is fictional in her mind, but is actually the very real narrative of Harold’s life.  And thoughts.  And feelings.  And she kills people.  And Harold, struggling with the already disconcerting experience of hearing his life narrated in his head then hears the line, “Little did he know that this seemingly innocuous act would lead to his immanent death.”

At this point, he gets quite concerned.

As I mentioned, Eiffel has been in a ten year writer’s block, but her previous books all end with the death of the central character, hence, she is struggling to find a way to kill Harold. Harold begins a frantic search to find her so that he can stop her from killing him and their worlds collide, creating a moral crises. Apparently the book is no longer just a work of fiction as it seems to govern Harold’s existence.

It is a well written movie, which is why I have decided that I like it, and filled with stars like, Will Ferrell (Harold), Maggie Gyllenhaal (Ana Pascal), Dustin Hoffman (Prof. Hilbert), Emma Thompson (Karen Eiffel) and Queen Latifah (Penny Escher). And there are more. The two guys from those Sonic commercials are IRS agents. Very well cast and funny for those who enjoy dry wit.

Anyway, the movie deals with the issue of free will and destiny, albeit not from a theological perspective. As such, some parts fascinate me as to the imprint of God’s presence on the world. Here is the final quote from Karen Eiffel after she relents from killing Harold who, instead of dying, is critically injured saving the life of a child. I guess I wrote a review after all. It’s a long quote that makes even more sense in the movie, but I think you might enjoy it.

As Harold took a bite of Bavarian Sugar Cookie, he finally felt as if everything was going to be “ok.”

Sometimes, when we lose ourselves in fear and despair, in routine and constancy, in hopelessness and tragedy, we can thank God for Bavarian Sugar Cookies.

And fortunately, when there aren’t any cookies we can still find reassurance in a familiar hand on our skin.

Or a kind and loving gesture.

Or a subtle encouragement.

Or a loving embrace.

Or an offer of comfort.

Not to mention…

Hospital gurneys.

And nose plugs.

And uneaten danish.

And soft spoken secrets.

And Fender Stratocasters.

And, maybe, the occasional piece of fiction.

And we must remember that all these things, the nuances, the anomalies, the subtleties, which we assume only accessorize our days are, in fact, here for a much larger and nobler cause.

They are here to save our lives.

I know the idea seems strange. But I also know that it just so happens to be true.

And so it was a wristwatch saved Harold Crick.

Romans 8:28 – And we know that in all things God works to the good of them who love Him,who have been called according to His purpose.

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