Reel Spirituality: Dancing with God

By Chris Hardman 

A couple of weeks ago I saw one of my favorite movies for the umpteenth time, Yankee Doodle Dandy. And it is a dandy! It stars tough guy James Cagney in a most unusual role-the song and dance man, George M. Cohan. It is a wild romp through vaudeville and the early 20th century musical theatre that is both captivating, heart-warming, and loads of fun. To see Cagney dance is a real treat. He has his own unique and energetic style that almost jumps off the screen.

The movie starts with George M.'s birth on July 4th and progresses until he and his little sister join their mom and dad in the family act, the Four Cohans. The movie shows a scene where all four dance in unison, but also have a chance to perform individually. As I was watching this scene I realized, "that is a metaphor for the Trinity! That revelation, of course, led me to the title for this year's Reel Spirituality series, "Dancing with God."

In our first session we will think about God as a "dance of self-giving love" by looking at a number of my favorite musicals. Besides Yankee Doodle Dandy, we will look at Babes in Arms, Top Hat, The Jolson Story, Grease, and Chicago. Then we will explore some of the key theological and ethical components of our understanding of God as Trinity. For instance, we will look at those barriers to mutuality that so often pop up in our lives. We will look at the power of self-giving love and how that can transform the world as well as the process of death and resurrection that allows that love to grow. We will look at a model of humanity that can lead us to make sense out of our own desires and yearnings. As always, we will use movies to illustrate our points.

A product of this series will be the development of some models that can help us view modern cinema in a new way, one that can deepen our faith in God. We hope this will lead to the formation of a "movie group" that will continue to look at movies together throughout the year. Oh, we are going to have a wonderful and I hope meaningful time together this year. This series begins Wednesday, February 17th, and lasts 5 weeks. We will meet at 6:00 pm for soup and salad with the program starting at 6:30 and lasting about an hour.

I do hope you will join us and bring your friends.

Respond to Laurel at or (847)251-6120 and let her know if you are going to participate. We need to know how much food to order. Also, let Laurel know if you need a ride to Church as arrangements can be made. In the meantime, "keep on dancing!"