Day: April 15, 2009

In praise of Joss Whedon

serenity_one_sheetI wanted to call this post “Quentin Tarantino eat your heart out”, but decided to stay with my established pattern so you would know what on earth I was talking about. 

Joss Whedon is favourite storyteller #3. For those impoverished people who don’t know who I’m talking about, Whedon is the creator of Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Angel and Firefly (among others). It would be tempting to label these gorgeously layered creations “vampire” or “sci-fi” flicks, but the reason for the Tarantino reference is this…

Tarantino uses a variety of genres in any given film. Kill Bill, for example, blended martial arts, noir, and anime to name a few. Reflect for a moment on Pulp Fiction and see if you can create a list of genres it encompasses. But the thing is, when I watch a Tarantino film, the use of genre is all just a bit too clever and Look At Me I’m Using Lots Of Different Genres.

In contrast, Whedon creates a series like Firefly (and the subsequent film Serenity), which you could potentially label Sci-fi-Western-Adventure-Romance-Thriller-Comedy-Coming-of-Age, but you don’t even notice him doing anything funky with genre because genre is serving the storytelling and not the other way around. 

Tarantino’s ostentatious flaunting of his clever use of genre, suddenly looks kind of clunky next to Whedon’s artful use of storytelling heritage to create imaginary worlds that are complex and captivating but accessible and entertaining at the same time. 

So … Quentin Tarantino eat your heart out.

mission and deficits

In the spirit of Stanley Fish’s recent, somewhat controversial NY Times blog post, I want to do some wondering out loud about the impact of the current crisis on Christian mission.

My friends who are candidates for ordination in Sydney Anglican churches are beginning to apply themselves to finding work next year. And it seems to me that the level of uncertainty they’re facing is unprecedented. They aren’t just wondering if they’ll find a good position. They’re wondering if they’ll find a position. Full stop.

More broadly, with the Sydney Diocesan mission supposedly kicking into high gear off the back of its Connect ’09 campaign — at least, assuming the ‘mind-shift’ it’s expected to catalyse does in fact take place — there’s plenty to wonder about financially. While the extent of the fallout is yet to be determined, like anyone else looking to significant investment income it’s pretty clear that things are going to be tight. And, even if it only directly impacts centralised services, who can say what kick-on effect it will have?

So what will become of the mission? Not just Anglican Sydney’s mission but the wider mission of the triune God in which Christians everywhere are caught up?

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