In retrospect, I see the ways that my passion for spiritual formation particularly ignited with a reading of Brent Curtis & John Eldredge’s The Sacred Romance: Drawing Closer to the Heart of God, back in 2001. No, it’s not real academic in nature. But, it themes resonated deeply in my heart then – echoing strongly still to this day.
Looking back now, I can see how several of our “explorations” have their roots here (and in attending workbooks and conference audios). And, then there’s a host of great quotes from others that they share [as, e.g., Buechner’s words about our “original shimmering selves getting buried so deeply”]–nuggets that find themselves playing in a wide variety of our discussions. They (Eldredge and Curtis) most certainly sent me onto a host of books to read, movies to watch, and listening playlists.
Two explorations especially come to mind as I think of The Sacred Romance:
- Curtis & Eldredge’s incorporation of cinema and contemporary music in their presentations is clearly the basis of what has become “Reel Theology: Focused Discussions at the Intersection of Hollywood and Divine.” A basis of the movies we review and discuss in this offering is found in Eldrege’s words:
I believe we need to hold the creeds in one hand and our favorite forms of art in the other. These are films, books, poems, songs, and paintings I return to again and again for some deep reason in my heart. Taking a closer look, I see that they all tell me about some part of the Sacred Romance. They help wake me to a deeper remembrance. As Don Hudson has said, “Are is, in the final analysis, a window on heaven.” (Eldredge, The Sacred Romance, p. 204)
- Or again, their lining out the “acts” of the Biblical metanarrative [grounded as much in Dante as it is in the Scriptures] is the basis of the emerging online course (via BeADisciple) which is “Exploring Spiritual Formation: Mapping Our Journeys Back Home to God.” When they lay out these movements in the story–
Act One: God’s Eternal Heart (for Us),
Act Two: God’s Heart/Love Betrayed,
Act Three: God’s Heart on Trial
(with “scenes” of haunting, arrows, and pursuit), and
Act Four: Heaven…
Are these not, in fact, the acts and scenes every man and woman’s journey back home to God?
These two threads came together a few years ago – when I melded some of my favorite movie scenes into a “Sacred Romance” montage. Admittedly, it’s a bit choppy and jumpy… Not real polished. But still, it “works.”
There’s a movement in the progression of the clips (for those who care to follow). Maybe you can see (or feel) the sequence as you watch:
from first suggestions of the power of story and metanarrative
to our original, innocent beginnings
to a sense of disorientation and alienation and disharmony… being stuck
to a sense of wakening (or the promise of such)
to a sense of finally “stepping out”—journeying, fighting the fight
to a sense that, behind it all, there’s a Love and Truth pursuing
to a sense of triumph and victory and freedom [now and coming]
to a sense of final consummation and coming home
[Click here if you’d like to see a more detailed storyboard for this montage.]
So grab a cup of your favorite beverage.
Kick up your feet.
Enjoy, yes. (I hope.)
But, more deeply, prayerfully ponder your place in the Sacred Romance.
As you have reactions or impressions, I’d love to hear from you via comments, here below!