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June 11, 2013 8:17 am

MY LOUSY WORLD: I implore you: Watch this movie

Written by Doug Blough

As The Bee Gees sang, “I started a blog, that started the whole world laughing …”

Actually it was a joke they started, but I really am planning a blog. My brilliant computer guru, Dave Beier, planted the seed, but has gotten busy and failed to water it.

To light a fire under him, I regrettably must gently, publicly chastise him. Get to blogging, Guru; a nation clamors for the birth of our blog.

On a deceptively related note, Jodi, a friend from church, and I are in a heated debate about a movie, which planted another seed for a blog feature: a periodic movie review. I seldom watch movies since Bill O’Reilly and Judge Judy demand most of my time, but I happened upon a real keeper recently: “Higher Ground.”

I saw a truly down-to-earth, Christian experience — a divine window into the complexities and faith insecurities all believers — even Mother Theresa in her last days — occasionally suffer. Jodi saw “sad and hopeless.”

Well, I ain’t too proud to beg, and fiercely beg to differ. One woman’s sadness and hopelessness is another man’s spiritually uplifting message, I guess.

After service at our small Church of God, Jodi had to stay late for a budget meeting. I texted her, “Tell everyone I said to watch ‘Higher Ground.’ ”

She didn’t, and after she bought the movie the next day, sent this testy text: “I am shocked you wanted me to recommend this to our church group …”

I believe “borderline porn” was mentioned.

In her defense, our church group is as about as conservative as eternity is long. Many carry AARP cards, and our forever-young Pastor Elroy is 83. This is not a group that DVRs Lady Gaga, but I still believe some of them would love this movie.

It begins with baptism scenes, and as a child, our main character Corinne, is dunked in a pond and afterwards told she is now “saved.”

Raised in a similar Pentecostal church, I’m familiar with repeating a preacher’s words and becoming saved. And with my pesky schoolboy lust, coupled with our church’s belief that one can easily “backslide” into hell, I got saved more times than a pet turkey on Thanksgiving.

In high school, studious Corinne falls for free-spirited Ethan, singer in a teen rock band. They fornicate (which she seems to endure, not enjoy), are soon married and have a baby girl. Traveling to a gig, their small bus plunges into a river. All adults make it out, but the baby is still inside.

Ethan runs back in and finds the makeshift-crib cooler floating and the baby alive. He tells Corinne, “God saved our baby,” so he forsakes his rock star dreams, gets a regular job, and they join a church of young, fervent believers.

They meet in homes for Bible study and joyfully sing praises. In time, Corinne finds the group somewhat stifling of her journalistic creativity and individuality.

The wives all wear prairie dresses, and Corinne is gently chastised by the pastor’s wife for wearing a new dress revealing bare shoulders.

When she launches into a personal testimony, it is also subtly suggested she leave preaching to the preacher.

There are a few, brief fantasy scenes (in a mirror during the dress reprimand, she imagines herself in garter and stockings) that while maybe not completely necessary, are valuable in revealing Corrine’s painfully repressed sexuality and untapped creativity.

She finds delicious escape and redemption in fellow wife and new best friend,  sultry Annika, who is equally open-minded and non-judgmental. Unlike Corrine though, she’s gloriously in love and satisfied with her husband.

That’s embarrassingly apparent to Corinne when shown Annica’s private hobby: comically crude sketches of a favorite part of hubby’s anatomy.

While sexually frisky, Annika is also spiritually on-fire, to the point of speaking in tongues one day in front of Corrine. Corrine desperately wants her own beautiful “prayer language,” but practicing when alone only achieves stifled laughter from her visiting, divorced sister listening outside the door.

She so wants that higher ground of unshakable, passionate faith like the others, but just can’t “feel” God.

She feels crushing guilt for falling out of love with her adoring, but boring husband, and when her sisterly kinship with Annika is broken by Annika’s sudden health crisis, she is now truly alone in her feelings of spiritual inadequacy.

If God won’t rescue her (“He knocks, I open the door, but He doesn’t come in”), how can she remain where she doesn’t belong?

Yes, parts of the movie are sad, but I can’t find “hopeless” in a group of young, ecstatic believers passionately serving the Lord. All I know is a salty liquid found my tongue the second time I watched it, and I came away with the song “Oh, He walks with me and He talks with me …” locked in my brain.

Nothing sad and hopeless about that.

But you watch the movie and be our judge: Is Jodi the better movie critic, or am I? Spiritually uplifting, or the devil’s flick-of-the-month?

Like Corrine, I am sincerely seeking truth, and definitely imploring Dave to get to work on our blog.

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