Ways of seeing: theology, culture,spirituality, cinema (LMU course 11/13


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This is the outline for two classes I taught as a substitute for Fr. Alan Deck, SJ, at Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, November 2013. The course explored "the nature of and the connections between culture, faith, and spirituality … in the context of cultural, ideological, and religious pluralism and secularism using popular film …"

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  • What connects all Christians as far as “belief goes”? The Apostles CreedWho is God for you?And what response does this call forth from me in a constantly changing, mediated, digital world?
  • We have to be able to articulate our valuesWe have the Creed, the articulation of our faith, of our way of understanding God, the Trinity, Jesus, the Scriptures, virtueBut what are the human values that guide our lives?Take a few moments and jot down those valuesShare among yourselves those values that you have internalized, that have become habits for you, even virtues (habits of doing good)CommunityParticipationFamilyIntegrityHonesty
  • Character is first taught in the homeThose first five years are pivotalParents … the role of parents in the human formation of the child cannot be understatedYou want responsible use of social media? Starts with character, not rules – though rules are part of it.
  • Yes, age appropriate but the Gospels ground us in the spiritual and corporal works of mercy as the launch pad for being Christians in the modern worldGood character – good human formationHonestyIntegrityEmpathy Then Christian …
  • Ways of seeing: theology, culture,spirituality, cinema (LMU course 11/13

    1. 1. Ways of seeing Sr. Rose Pacatte, FSP
    2. 2. THINK THEOLOGICALLY “You will need to know what you believe about God as well as God’s ongoing, eternal communication with us” - Meredith Gould “The Social Media Gospel”
    3. 3. THINK SACRAMENTALLY • Sacraments are outward signs of invisible grace • Cinema reveals inner realities through outward visual and aural signs • What inner, transcendent, transforming grace, signs of the divine, are being revealed
    4. 4. Common beliefs between the three Abrahamic (monotheistic) faiths: theology • One God • Personal • Transcendent
    5. 5. Attributes of God • Common – Omniscinece – Omnipotence – Omnipresence – Omnibenevolence – Eternal – Immaterial – The source of morality
    6. 6. How we understand – and appreciate – cinema depends on • • • • • • • Age Education Life experience Human development Faith formation Moral and ethical imagination Expectations
    7. 7. Values Values are overarching ideals that guide our lives What are the three most important values that guide your life?
    8. 8. Existential questions What is really going on deep in the collective human psyche? What does it truly mean to be human? How can we live transformatively? Is God present here? - N. Usslemann
    9. 9. Catholic Christians believe What is truly human is truly of the Gospel and what is truly pf the Gospel is truly human Cf. Gaudium et Spes
    10. 10. Existential • These existential questions are always present to humanity but sometimes it takes a cultural parable to make us aware and attentive to these very questions. • - N. Usslemann
    11. 11. Character  Empathy  What you do when no one is looking  “How would you feel if someone did that to you?”  Character education = human formation  The spiritual is built upon the human
    12. 12. Character Sow a thought and you reap an action; sow an act and you reap a habit; sow a habit and you reap a character; sow a character and you reap a destiny.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
    13. 13. Content vs context • Not what’s “in” the movie • It’s what the movie MEANS
    14. 14. Jesus’ Family Values • Not – Sex – Violence – Bad language – Drugs – Violence – Alcohol
    15. 15. What are Jesus’ family values? • • • • • • • To feed the hungry To give drink to the thirsty To clothe the naked To give shelter to the homeless To visit the sick To ransom the captive To bury the dead.
    16. 16. More of Jesus’ family values The spiritual works of mercy • To instruct the ignorant • To counsel the doubtful • To admonish sinners • To bear wrongs patiently • To forgive offences willingly • To comfort the afflicted • To pray for the living and the dead
    17. 17. Morality • Why does morality matter? • If you believe, then you believe what God tells us is right and good • Ten Commandments • The Commandment of Love • Principles & Themes of Catholic Teaching
    18. 18. Conscience • Conscience is out true home
    19. 19. Conscience • Not to live by one’s conscience is homelessness
    20. 20. Dilemma and Drama • The most interesting movies deal with the dilemma between following or not following one’s conscience • The consequences of one’s choices on one’s life and the lives of others
    21. 21. Which religions believe in these ideas? • • • • • • • • Human dignity Common good Solidarity Option for the poor Rights and responsibilities Family, community, participation Care for the earth These are themes of Catholic social teaching
    22. 22. Ways of seeing Part II Sr. Rose Pacatte, FSP
    23. 23. Spirituality • Relationship with God and others that flows from religious belief • If you are “spiritual” but not “religious” it’s like looking for freedom without responsibility • Communication • Encounter • Way of seeing, way of believing, way of being, way of doing
    24. 24. The face of God Cinema and the face of God
    25. 25. Homework World cinema can enable profound learning experiences for audiences about the lives of others To the extend that these are about the human experience, they reveal people’s faith
    26. 26. Global film • The meaning of the films rises from the relationships of the characters with one another, their society, their environment, their beliefs • It is in these stories’ exquisite expressions of human love that God is revealed for the characters and for the audience.
    27. 27. Trailers from selected films • As suggesetd By Fr. Deck
    28. 28. Let us remember that the world is permeated by grace even when it does not seem so (cf. Karl Rahner)