Tag Archives: religion

Checking the gate

I happened upon a documentary the other morning on Sundance Channel that I highly recommend.  I should be less surprised that it is about a church.

(It was Sunday, after all.)

An Audience of One follows Richard Gazowsky, a Pentecostal pastor from San Francisco who used donations from his congregation to found a movie studio and production company.  He said he received a vision while praying on a mountaintop to spread the Gospel through filmmaking.

Stone tablets are so B.C.

The documentary begins as Gazowsky and his followers are in pre-production on their full-length feature, Gravity: The Shadow of Joseph, described as a ‘biblical science fiction.’

The movie poster tagline reads “filmmaking is hard.”  Gazowsky would no doubt agree.  During principal photography, the novice director only manages to get two scenes in the can during their five days on location in Italy.

Cameras jam. Cranes freeze. Cords snap. Tempers flare.  Of course, you see that kind of ‘tech diff’ on film sets all the time.

What makes Audience of One a must-see is watching Gazowsky lead his congregation on this journey.  Despite the setbacks, the lack of funds, and — let’s face it — the project’s absolute and total failure, the preacher constantly spins the story in such a way, his followers never blink.

Even though the movie is never been made.  Even though their major investor never comes through.  Even though the city shuts them down.

They call it faith.  But on camera, under the harsh glare of the lights, the delusions are harder to disguise.

Walking on egg shells

I am so grateful to not be a kid today.

Not because they are forced to grow up faster, or that the world is filled with far scarier things than when I was young.

No — it’s because children today are so sheltered.

Case in point:  some schools are calling Easter eggs “spring spheres’  to be PC…and the Sticky Egg can’t help but take this one a bit personally.

I understand the religious aspects of Easter can’t be taught to children in schools.  I get that.  I support that.

But Easter — like Christmas — is a holiday with a secular life.  The Easter Bunny and Santa Claus are traditions that can be completely divorced from their religious counterparts.

You can hide eggs and chomp chocolate bunnies at Easter time without acknowledging the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ…just as you can decorate a tree in your house and exchange gifts at Christmas without celebrating the birth of the Christ child.

I have Jewish friends that do both without experiencing any religious conflict.

So, let’s just take a breath, shall we — and make sure we’re not so busy protecting our kids that we don’t squeeze the life right out of ’em.

(Spring spheres?  I never…)

Praise be!

I expected to be shocked by “The Book of Mormon,” the new Broadway musical by South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone.

And I was… in an unexpected way.

The language is pure South Park. The F-word is well-represented, and the C-word — two different iterations, mind you — makes its first appearance on the Great White Way.

There are a couple of potentially offensive moments — one in song, one in shall we say ‘visual representation’ — but last night’s audience was game for both.

The show definitely takes its shots at Mormon history and traditions, getting a lot of laughs from the story of Joseph Smith and his golden plates.  But the humor, while mocking, is never cruel.

What was unexpected was how much affection Parker and Stone display for the Mormon missionaries at the center of their story.  Elders Price and Cunningham are sent to Uganda for their mission and are immediately confronted by poverty, AIDS, warlords, scrotal plagues and more.

Yes…scrotal plagues.

Naive and ill-prepared, uber-Mormon Price has a crisis of faith and schlub Cunningham rises to the occasion in unconventional yet successful ways.

The tone reminded me a bit of the movie Stuck on You, the Farrelly brothers winner about two conjoined twin brothers starring Greg Kinnear and Matt Damon.  I worried the film would make fun of the two; instead, it celebrated how their differences made them more uniquely able to succeed in the world.

“The Book of Mormon” has the same charm, the same heart…just more four-letter words.

Above all, it is outrageously funny, with sight gags galore, none of which I will reveal because that would totally blow it.  The musical numbers are so clever, and the dance sequences manage to be huge and hilarious at the same time.

“The Book of Mormon” just may be the best musical on Broadway.

Now that I didn’t expect.

So shallow, it’s deep

When I started the Sticky Egg, I chose to focus on what some people might consider the ‘fluffier stuff’ of life.

Television. Movies. Celebrities. Fashion.  Websites that talk about television, movies, celebrities and fashion.

It’s what I enjoy.  It’s what makes me laugh and cry and, more often than not, is a reflection of where we stand on the bigger issues in life.

And now even the Vatican is starting to espouse my theology.

In an article in Tuesday’s L’Osservatore Romano (the Vatican newspaper), they praised “The Simpsons” for the ‘realism and intelligence of its scripts’ (even though they still had to ding the series for the language used in some episodes).

While in the past the Pope has condemned television series for their content probably without ever watching them — can you say “Soap?” — now apparently bored Cardinals at the Vatican are watching at least this animated cartoon and getting its relevance to real life.

While I haven’t listened that closely to Rome in many years, I know millions of people do.  So I hope someone shows the Cardinals “Modern Family.”  I’d love for the to Vatican come out — pun intended — in support of that real family sitcom.