Monday, August 19, 2013

Life of Pi

Yes, I read the novel by Yann Martel . . . and was surprised that it was adapted onto the screen, and decently I might add.  Good screenplay.  Excellent cinematography.  And, underneath the layers of the story, some decent theology.

At the heart of Life of Pi are some very significant questions:

How do people cope with suffering?
What are the stories we tell to make sense of our suffering and give our life purpose?
How is God present in the midst of suffering?
What do we make of God's silence?
And . . . given the narratives we have to choose from, which story do we tell to others?

The latter question, in particular, is how both novel and movie end.  Which story about life and God and redemption do we choose to believe?

Every person is telling a story.  We have our family histories, our traditions, our culturally-shared narratives that we recount:  some as fact, some as myth, some as metaphor, some as conversation about deeper questions.  Life of Pi recounts this very well . . . and can cause us to think about the stories we choose to be the primary narratives of our lives.

I know I have several narratives that have shaped my life, ones I'm still adapting and adopting.  Some of these narratives are centered on Jesus.  Others are an amalgam of things I've learned.  Some are based on experiences.  I also have family narratives.  Personal ones.  And some of the wildest stories, the most-far fetched, have become truth to me and are stories I recount time and again.

I've never survived at sea with a Bengal tiger on board . . . but I do have stories about family, beloved dogs, weird situations, circumstances, places I've been, miracles I've seen, God's wild and woolly presence.  We all do.

If you read Life of Pi (or watch it) you'll be thinking about these things.

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