We based our service today at Jacob’s Well on the Billy the Kid documentary filmed by Jennifer Venditti. See this film if you get a chance. It won Indie Film fests all around the world in 2007 and came to the Parkway Theater in Mpls this weekend along with creator Venditti who answered questions after the screening.
Dawn spoke about today and one of the points that she brought out – a Gospel message from the film and Venditti’s commentary – was that it is our job to see ourselves in the lives of others. That is a good point all in itself. It makes the world smaller and more humane when we see our lives reflected in others. But she went for a more profound statement, and that is that what really causes us to dislike, fear, even hate others is not the differences in each other, but the similarities. That is, what really threatens me in you, isn’t that you are different, but that i see myself in you. In fact I see things that I don’t like about myself or am afraid to admit to.
Could it be true? Do we laugh at the uncool kid, not because we despise him or her, but because we see a reflection of our own insecurity of being cool enough, of measuring up to the standards others impose on us? Do we humiliate others for their imperfections because it is easier to do than to face ours?
I’m not sure there is nothing else at work in our differences and intolerances, but I think Billy and Jennifer are on to something. The remedy, as Dawn presented it, is nothing other than having enough backbone in who we are (children of God) so that we don’t have to maintain our status by cutting others down. Or as Isaiah (Is.43.1) and as Dawn also listed it, “Fear not, for I have called you by name, and you are mine.”