Monday, March 06, 2006

Relevant Excursus--Walk the Line

After a very busy last week (on the heels of a busy few months, and a busy life!) the wife and I sat down to enjoy the new film about Johnny and June Cash. It was filmed in part at a house one block from our home in Memphis; we love Johnny Cash’s music; and our son Noah was born with a cleft lip (like Joaquin Phoenix—and it’s important to have role models like that). So you might say we were predisposed to enjoy the movie. Still, I think a more objective person would say it was a very good movie at the very least. Reese Witherspoon’s Oscar may have been startling, but it certainly wasn’t ill-deserved.

There's an interesting discussion between Johnny and his brother about "giftedness": one is good at songs, the other knows all the stories in the Bible. Young Jack Cash (Johnny’s older brother, who dies when the future singer is a youth) plans to be a preacher, so he deems it his responsibility to know the Bible "front to back," just as Johnny knows the hymnal front to back. Jack offers a great explanation for a narrative approach to Scripture: “You can’t help people unless you can tell ’em the right stories."

Another great line from the movie: Record Company Executive: "Your fans are gospel folk, Johnny. They're Christians, and they don't wanna hear you singing to a bunch of murderers and rapists, tryin' to cheer 'em up."
Johnny Cash: "Then they ain't Christians."

On the whole, the movie simultaneously made me (1) get my guitar out, and (2) rejoice for my family’s sake that I quit music to go into education. Roseanne Cash says that she can’t watch the movie because of the pain it evokes. Granted there’s grace and restoration, but the damage of “the lifestyle” was and is very real.


Blogger J. B. Hood said...

Two criticisms of the film's failure to portray the role of faith in transforming Cash are notable, one from the NYTimes, the other from Christian Century:


1:56 PM, March 06, 2006  
Blogger Chris Petersen said...

Just wanted to let you know that to my knowledge Dr. Gushee has not left. I do know for a fact that he turned down the professorship offer from Cambridge University. I'm not sure if this is what you were referring to when you heard that he was leaving.

12:14 PM, March 08, 2006  

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