Sojourners publishes Pleasantville Sermon

Yesterday Sojourners’ blog God’s Politics: a blog with Jim Wallis and friends published “The Garden Outside Pleasantville.” Thanks to Jim Wallis and the Sojourners staff for republishing.

Click HERE for the piece on Sojourners.

5 thoughts on “Sojourners publishes Pleasantville Sermon

  1. Pingback: Gary Severson on April 9, 2013 at 9:58 | THREE SHOTS AT LIFE

  2. Gordon, here are some thoughts about your fascinating use of the film Pleasantville in relation to Christ’s resurrection. I’m trying to get my head around what seems to be the spread of “Pleasantvilles” across the US and around the world. As the world rationalizes/industrializes it loses the inherent spirit contained in being being human and, as you say, the “living through” all of the emotions present at the death and resurrection.

    For me the question becomes, do we desire “Pleasantville” as our natural habitat or is it a manufactured desire? The spirit that lives in us as divine creatures can be seen by some as a dangerous thing to be dispersed/neutered and therefore controlled.

    Is the “magic remote” controlling television in Pleasantville really more than a backdrop for what we call Pleasantville or is it the tool used to induce the desire for what it does provide for the masses. Even the use of the Don Knotts character, the impotent cop from the other Pleasantville, Mayberry, is a way to show that even the incompetent small town cop can be potent by being the expert at providing an emotional reality, although only a virtual one.

    We want the emotions existent in the death and resurrection but the developing world culture we are imbedded in can’t allow Christ’s vision to be “lived through” by his followers. Desire/emotions must be rationed so as not to become the dominant reality for the world. The new screen medias of all kinds are the techniques used to create a horizon to horizon Pleasantville. IOW, a world of “virtual” emotion.


    • Gary, as always, your thoughts are so interesting and push the mind beyond the writer’s ability to express. as a person of faith I believe that the yearning for what Hebrew Scripture calls “the Day of the Lord” and the New Testament calls “the Kingdom/reign of God” is not only natural, but central, to the human condition. That yearning of the heart is also susceptible to substitutes that are readier at hand, the ready-made certainties and peace that pit one people’s Pleasantville against another’s Pleasantville. And the “living through” is cast aside. Without the cross there is no Empty Tomb. There are only the guards standing before the real tomb in the imaginary garden of Pleasantville where nothing much can ever go wrong.


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