I’ve been a fan of the cinema since high school. As an integral experience of my closest friends, we would watch movies at my house every weekend. And not just any movies, for our favorite directors included the likes of Alfred Hitchcock and Stanley Kubrick. We loved films. Another favorite and more contemporary director is Christopher Nolan, so we were naturally excited to see his most recent release, Interstellar. A friend and I saw it in IMAX on its opening weekend, and I thoroughly enjoyed the movie. I was moved emotionally, intellectually, even spiritually.
We decided that it certainly warranted a second viewing. A few weeks later, another friend (who had also seen the movie once before) and I gushed with excitement as we anticipated a second dose of this stimulating and beautiful work of art.
However, we were sorely disappointed. We left the theater frustrated, a far cry from the feelings wrought by our first viewings. And we both knew precisely why: the audience.
The theater wasn’t heavily populated, but that didn’t prevent this most unfortunate gathering of people from ruining our movie-going experience. The girl in front of us texted incessantly, with her phone brightness on high. The woman next to her had a two-minute phone conversation halfway through. The guy a few rows down kept belching. During the quiet moments, which were intended to be profound, we could hear the blare of Dumb and Dumber To in the theater next door. At the climax, a man towards the front left the theater, and upon his return his whole posse took it upon themselves to try explaining what he had missed. That night was a ship wrecked by the iceberg of the inconsiderate.
We were on the regrettable end of a straightforward truth: we are at the mercy of the people around us. A simpler example that we Birminghamians certainly know is traffic. It’s a 10-minute drive to Walmart, but not when 500 others are going to the exact same place you are for the exact same reason you are.
But we would be pessimists to ignore the flip side of the matter. It is because we are at the mercy of our friends that their friendship means so much. In their hand they hold information that could ruin you; their words could cut you to the bone; their rejection could take you to your knees. But that’s why they’re friends. They could hurt you but don’t. They love instead.
We are invariably shaped by who we’re around. That’s the question we’re left with, then: who are you around? To which family do you belong? We are born as “sons of disobedience” (Eph. 2:2, 5:6), but now we are adopted as sons of God (Gal. 4:1-7). Salvation is personal, but it is never individual. Are you a part of God’s family?
I was delighted to see how close the youth of Christ Church already are. We are already as close as family, and I feel like the adopted older brother. We aim to further cultivate these familial bonds and continually enjoy the community we share in Christ Church.