Thursday, November 01, 2012

Shelving Images

We went to the cinema yesterday to see the new James Bond movie.  I made a conscious decision not to see what other films were on at the same time.  It occurred to me that Joe and I could part company – him to see James and me to see something else - and then meet up afterwards and compare notes.  However, cinema going shouldn’t a solitary experience. 

The cinema allocates seats.  The options offered were two seats at the back or two seats at the front.  We chose the back – just one row in front of the back row.  It was very high up and I was a little anxious about bending over too far, losing my centre of gravity and plunging downwards!  It didn’t happen.

The screen wasn’t in complete darkness, but there wasn’t much light either.  We knew we were the row in front of the back row so we knew where we were going.  The usual aisle seats had been bagged, but there were just two people to clamber past.

A family of four followed us up the steps.  They also had allocated seats, but, in the dim lighting, couldn’t find the right row, or the right seats.  They decided to sit on the back row behind us.  They were just looking for any four seats together. 

It didn’t take long for the rightful owners of the seats to arrive and evict them.  The family didn’t put up a fight.  They found another batch of four seats in the row in front of us. 

The rightful owners of those seats also turned up and the family were yet again made seat-less! 

At this point true darkness had descended.  Adverts had been dispensed with and we were into the coming attractions. 

Did I say how much I hate being disturbed?  There comes a time when the doors ought to be firmly closed and a bouncer placed outside to stop late comers coming in late.

The row in front stood to a man, firstly, to allow the squatters space to move out of the four seats, and, secondly, to allow the rightful owners to take up residence.  The squatters squinted to find four more seats.  There were four more seats next to us so our row stood up to allow the family to move in. 

Meanwhile, back on the screen, blocked by the folk still standing in the row in front us, the coming attractions rolled on. It was the much anticipated film based on one of the Jack Reacher novels.

I am a big Jack Reacher fan.  Lee Child has created such a wonderful character in Jack.  I have worked my way through most of the series, but need to ration myself quite strictly, or I’d never cook meals, doing the washing up or ironing – err, actually I rarely do those things anyway.  Jack is not to blame for my lack of housewifely skills.  I certainly wouldn’t sleep – just the next chapter I asy to myself, then I will turn off the light – but I keep turning the pages.

I think I might just recognise Jack if I met him for real.  I would look for a very tall man, head and shoulders above everyone else.  I would look for a very solid looking man, broad shoulders, thickset – a veritable mountain of a man. 

It had come to my notice months ago that the film rights had been bought by Tom Cruise.  I don’t know whether he planned to direct the film, but he did plan to be in it as…Jack Reacher.   Tom doesn’t tower head and shoulders above most men – or most women, come to that.  He cannot be Jack Reacher.  Jack is a mountain…Tom Cruise is a mere foothill in comparison.  People quake when Jack enters a room and they give him a wide berth.  Tom doesn't command the same respect, somehow.

So there I was, last night, trying to catch a glimpse of Tom Cruise as Jack Reacher, while the row in front was playing musical chairs to the soundtrack of the film.  What I really wanted to see was how they had gotten around the height issue.  Was Tom standing on a box so he could be head and shoulders above the rest of humanity?  Alan Ladd stood on a box for some scenes in “Shane”.

There was a crowd scene and, sad to say it, “Jack” was no taller than the average extra.  I was not surprised.  No box, evidently.

Having read the books, I have an image of Jack.  I haven’t quite slotted in an appropriately tall actor that could play the part in the film – but Tom Cruise doesn’t fit the bill.  There are some aspects like hair colour and eye colour and scars that I can amend – but not height and size. 

If I am to go and see the Jack Reacher film, and not just sit and nit-pick, I am going to have to shelve my image from the book.  It will not be a permanent shelving, just two or three hours.  The Tom will step aside and allow the real Jack to have his throne back. 

Shelving images cropped up in our Bible study this afternoon. 
“I tell you the truth: Among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.  From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it.  For all the Prophets and the Law prophesied until John.  And if you are willing to accept it, he is the Elijah who was to come.  He who has ears, let him hear.”  Matthew 11:12-15

Jesus was challenging the Jews, his disciples included, to accept that John the Baptist was Elijah.  Old Testament prophets like Isaiah and Malachi had clearly said that Elijah would be the herald of the Messiah.  He would prepare the way.

Part of the problem was not with John, I suppose.  They could make that connection.  John patterned his lifestyle of Elijah’s.  He did exactly what had been predicted – he prepared people for the arrival of the Messiah.

The problem was with Jesus.  If John was Elijah then Jesus was the Messiah.

It’s just like Tom Cruise not being Jack Reacher. 

Jesus wasn’t their image of the Messiah.  Just as Jesus was asking them to be willing to shelve their ideas about Elijah and John the Baptist, He was also asking them to be willing to shelve their ideas about the Messiah. 

It’s a hard thing to be prepared to dismantle things we think to be true.  It takes humility to recognise that we might have got it wrong, and be prepared to change our thinking.

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