Building Bridges: Connecting the Movie Selma to Spirituality

Editor’s Note: Hillhurst United Church in Calgary has launched a Reel Theology sermon series reflecting on six of the Academy Award Best Picture-nominated movies and their connections with culture and spirituality. To read a story on the commitment to and hopes for the series, click here. New Scoop is partnering with Hillhurst to publish a six-blog series summarizing the key elements explored in each sermon. This is the first blog in the series.

Provoked by questions from the movie Selma, I started by asking, “Can anything good come out of Selma?” Selma was a nowhere place for me, yet it was significant in the civil rights movement.

The biblical text of the day posed the same question regarding Jesus, who came from Nazareth.

It’s interesting that people such as Ghandi, Nelson Mandela, Tommy Douglas, Rosa Park and Lois Wilson also came from “nowhere” places.

Prophecy and prophesying are energy points in the movie. What does prophecy require? It requires prophetic inside knowledge of systems to transform systems, to break rules and to bring change.

In his book, The Prophetic Voice, Richard Rohr writes about how prophets are on the outer edge of the circle of influence but also on the inside. This allows them to know the scripture, as well as the rules and habits of organizations in order to help break the rules and facilitate change. Martin Luther King did this.

How can movements take place?

Calgary’s Michael Green founded Calgary as Cultural Capital in 2012. He died two weeks ago. His imprint on the city is large. Michael was involved in bringing together various sectors to build a great city arts community.

How do we as a faith community cross boundaries join in strengthening our larger community?

The movie Selma took place on a bridge between two places. We as a faith community are to connect to other worlds. That happens when we build bridges to those who are different and yet similar in truth, such as those from the arts, governments and business communities.

When we connect to what is already going on. No more silos.

The movie Selma reminds us to make change and be the change and there is much to do in many areas of community life.

To listen to the full sermon, click here.

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