Sunday, January 30, 2005

big fish

One of my favorite movies of the past few years was Big Fish. It was the story of a son trying to learn about his dying father by getting him to retell the stories of his life. The father’s stories are pretty amazing---as a baby , he went shooting out of his mother’s womb down the hallway; at eight, he was bedridden for three years… to pass the time he reads through the encyclopedia and comes to the reference to goldfish:

"If goldfish are kept in a small bowl, they will remain small.

With more space, the fish can double, triple or quadruple in size."

He decides that he needs to do bigger things in this life: he becomes a star athlete, a science fair winner, and a hero when he rescues a dog from a burning building. He is presented the keys to a small town for convincing a giant, seen as a monster by many, to leave town with him. He goes into the world, because he is unwilling to be a "big fish in a small pond”. I won’t tell you how the movie ends, but it is a baptism, and he is carried back into the waters and released.

The son gradually realizes that this adventure might in fact be true. We do need a story that is larger than our own stories. In Big Fish, the son listens to the larger story of his father’s life, for only then can he make sense of his own story.

2 Comments:

Blogger orthodoxed said...

Dear Ken,

After you recommended Big Fish as a fovorite movie of yours, my wife and I considered renting the DVD. However, before doing so we read some reviews on-line which led us to believe that it might be objectionable to us. As Christians I know that we must engage the culture; that we must be "salt and light" to the world. I also know that we live in an imperfect world and cannot hide from the bad. But I wonder, how much of the culture can we embrace before we lose our identity as a "peculiar people"?

Your brother in Christ,

Ed

5:12 PM  
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6:59 PM  

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