Last night, Light Princess and I finally watched “Lars and the Real
Girl.” Without giving away too much, let me just say it’s a beautiful and
painful fairy tale about what happens when a community, and a church,
and a family choose to love a person who is troubled instead of
judging, stigmatizing and ostracizing him. I love it that an old man
pastor is one of the people who quietly sets the example.
I want to be like him when I grow up.
In my sermon yesterday I paraphrased the story of “The Rabbi’s Gift” and leaned particularly hard on the idea that respect for one another and respect for one’s self matter. Scott Peck used the phrase “an aura of extraordinary respect” and I thought about it as we sang the hymn following the sermon, while I looked out at the congregation.
Whether you sit in a pew or stand in a pulpit or survey the universe from the choir loft, there are surely people you look upon with less respect or regard or just plain love that you hold in your heart when you regard your favorite people. You may have a different scale for measuring the qualities that make a person favored than I do, but you’ll have one, whether it’s used consciously or not.
And I’m not sure being in the pulpit doesn’t make us more likely to do so, sometimes.
“Lars and the Real Girl” is, of course, a movie. It’s a closed environment, and it’s set in a pretty isolated geographic community, but I’m not sure our churches don’t function that way, too, especially smaller ones. Do we have it in us to love not despite the quirks and annoyances of others close to us, but to love inclusive of those characteristics? (Thanks to Cecilia for a great post on this topic, over here.)
If you’d like to talk about the movie, join me in the comments. I can’t guarantee we won’t spoil you if you haven’t seen it.