superbad vs. supergood

thursday after work i headed over to see a free screening of superbad. from the previews, it looked like it could be really funny or pretty bad. i got to the theater about an hour early and paid $3 to park in their garage, but when i got to the ticket takers they weren’t letting people in because it was full. i was kind of miffed about paying them $3 i almost certainly wouldn’t be getting back, so i just sort of stood around in the foyer. after five or ten minutes, a guy came out and was asking people what movie they were there for. a couple said superbad and he said he was letting a few more people in, but only had a few seats. i went up and asked him and he let me in. i had a pass for two, and as i was walking through the new line, a guy asked if i could let him in with me. so i did. then they stopped us and wanded us. they wouldn’t let anyone in with a cell phone that had a camera on it. so i had to go back out to my car and drop it off. by the time i got back in, the only obviously open seating was in the very front row. so i slouched through the movie, which pretty much consumed my entire field of vision. as for the movie…i’m not sure it was worth the hassle. i’m sure a lot of people will love it, because it was rather funny. unfortunately, most of the humor was related to sex, pr0n, body parts, etc. the same people did 40-year-old virgin and it was on the edge for me personally, but this one pulled out the stops. i’m afraid it was just too much for me. even though i thought some parts were hilarious, i left the theater feeling kind of emotionally soiled. and perhaps a few iq points dumber. so if you’re the kind of person who thinks the american pie movies were awesome, you’ll probably dig superbad.
shifting gears entirely, i recently listened to 2 3-part podcasts from dallas theological seminary about the emergent/emerging church movement. i thought the “key points” podcast was better than the (what is the) “emerging church movement” one. the dts folk are seminary professors, scholars, etc — i.e. intelligent, thinking, analytical individuals. they’re also part of what would generally be considered the elite that drives the theology that trickles down to the masses over time. (at least for certain segments of christianity.) so i was curious what their take would be. as scholars, and establishment scholars at that, it’s not surprising to find them having positive things to say, but finding faults as well, and making somewhat negative comments about it being a “reactionary” movement.
having been involved with scenes and cultures in the church before the movement really existed, but having a background and mindset to identify with it (quite strongly in areas), it’s interesting to me to watch it grow and build and see where it’s headed. i’m not a fan of some aspects of the movement, but some of the reaction against current church culture i totally understand. i was also involved in ecclesia here in houston (1999-2000 or so), which was/is connected to the movement. (which was a horrible experience, mostly due to leadership in the church…or the lack thereof. chris seay, the pastor/creator of ecclesia, has been a minor player in the emergent movement.) and i’m currently going to kaleo, which is also related to the movement.
having been involved as a mostly passive participant in the movement, but not looking at it or analyzing it from a removed enough perspective to label it a movement, it was interesting to learn about the divisions that are now being drawn between the terms “emergent” and “emerging”. “emergent” tends to be specific people and churches, with more specific beliefs — whereas “emerging” tends to be a broader term that refers to churches that have at least some of certain core views or beliefs. (thus i would label kaleo as part of the emerging church.)
now getting back to what seemed to be one of the dts podcasts’ main issues…that the emerging/emergent movement is reactionary — i personally think there is nothing inherently wrong with reactionary movements. the status quo has inertia, and many times it takes something strong to force it to shift. the protestant movement, which dts is descended from, was reactionary. many aspects of christianity were (at the least conceived as) reactionary in jesus’ time. many christian movements since then have been reactionary. populist movements are reactionary. but even if reactionary movements flourish and die instead of gain permanence, they generally can at least make the status quo analyze itself a bit — if not actually get it to shift and deal with the deficiencies the reactionary movement saw. look at the history of the william jennings bryan era populist movement — it withered and died, but mostly because most of the issues it was raising were eventually accepted and absorbed into the political system. the catholic church didn’t deal with the points nailed on the wittenburg door. from their handling of that, we now have entire systems of churches courtesy of the protestant movement. (notice the word in the word “protestant”?) so i think their slights on it being “reactionary” are weaker points than perhaps they do.
but overall, if you’re interested in the movement, and are interested in the perspective of some intelligent establishment folk toward it, check out the podcasts. learning generally isn’t a bad thing.

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