Wednesday, February 01, 2006


I believe that a good pulpit sermon does not preach or moralize, but compels one to think hard on the state of one's life. Last Sunday's exhortation could not even spark a flicker of thought in my head. I'm not sure which hit me first, the listener's block or the overwhelming desire to leave and bum around at the children's Sunday School area. As it was, I stood up and spent the rest of the morning outside with the rest of the stray flock. I don't blame the preacher, it's us. We couldn't sit back, in relative discomfort, for a good hour or so and set aside the grim nuisances of our real lives to listen to God's message.

The first few minutes are critical. The preacher virtually walks the fine line between an eye-opening or a sleep-inducing sermon. And I have seen people, as I often sit at the back rows, bobbing their heads like chickens pecking corn, lost in slumbers. It makes me snicker, and alternately, saddened at the thought of what they could be missing. "For each minute we close our eyes, we lose sixty seconds of light"*...

...and gain a minute of rest and respite from the troubles of the world? It depends on where one's mind wanders off while he is asleep.

* * *

I swear, I may have seen every single sports-themed movie featured in the last decade or so. That includes Whoopi Goldberg's stint as head coach of the New York Knicks in "Eddie", and other similarly pitiful outings. There's something in them that draws me in no matter how horrid the trailer looks (think "6th Man"). So when I came upon the trailer of this new football movie, "Goal!", I immediately made a mental note to see it. I was sold on the movie's simple by-line, "one life to live". It lit a spark, so to speak. I find stories of triumph of the human spirit in the face of adversity irresistable, even inspirational. One finds inspiration from the strangest things, and similary, I happen to find myself crying at the strangest of provocations. Like when I'm watching a highlight reel of John Stockton sinking a three at the buzzer to send the Utah Jazz to their first ever finals series, but that story is fit for a different day. Anyway, I'm sure to find myself crying at the heart-rending, triumphant moments of this movie and no amount of potential embarassment and teasing could stop me from doing so.

* Words of Gabriel Garcia-Marquez (according to the widely-circulated farewell letter).


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