One Day More: Spirituality at the 2013 Oscars

Above all, be brave. There are plenty of spiritual pitfalls revealed in Zero Dark Thirty, but ultimately Osama bin Laden is located and punished because of perseverance (Jessica Chastain's Maya pushes aside obstacles, puts down her own impulses toward compassion) and courage in the face of real danger (hers and those of the Navy Seals, all of whom raise their hand when asked, in a helicopter, how many of them have been in a helicopter crash).

One of my favorite fictional characters said to another fictional president, Jed Bartlett (Martin Sheen), "There are people who have it a lot worse than you." In this year's Oscar films, these fictional heroes—dealing with the death of slavery or the death of a bunch of slaveholders; with an epic journey with a raging tiger or the everyday journey with their internal raging tigers—can remind us that the spiritual life is about showing up, doing the little things well, doing the big things when they cross our path.

Lincoln says to his rebellious cabinet, who are angry at the compromises he has had to make to have a chance of passing the amendment, that what matters is

Now now now! . . . See what is before you! See the here and now! That's the hardest thing, the only thing that accounts! 

Tomorrow will take care of itself. If we do what we can today, here, now, then these movies will have taught us well.

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2/17/2013 5:00:00 AM
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  • Greg Garrett
    About Greg Garrett
    Greg Garrett is (according to BBC Radio) one of America's leading voices on religion and culture. He is the author or co-author of over twenty books of fiction, theology, cultural criticism, and spiritual autobiography. His most recent books are The Prodigal, written with the legendary Brennan Manning, Entertaining Judgment: The Afterlife in Popular Imagination, and My Church Is Not Dying: Episcopalians in the 21st Century. A contributor to Patheos since 2010, Greg also writes for the Huffington Post,, OnFaith, The Tablet, Reform, and other web and print publications in the US and UK.
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