Monday, January 11, 2010

30 Days of Touch -- Touch

As I was thinking about what to write about touch today, I was reminded of one my favorite movies. "Touch." It's a Paul Schrader film based on an Elmer Leonard novel (two of my favorite creatives) and I first saw it at the Festival of Faith and Writing (if you care about writing and spirituality, you must attend!). In brief, it's the story of a fellow named Juvenal (Skeet Ulrich) who, when he displays the stigmata, can heal people.

Well, you can imagine the problems. When he hears about Juvenal, evangelist turned RV dealer Bill Hill (Christopher Walken) sees a money train. So he hopes to trap Juvenal with the seductive charms of Lynn Faulkner (Bridget Fonda), a former baton twirler at Hill's church. Absurd, yep? And it only gets more so. August Murray (Tom Arnold), Catholic who wants to restore the Latin rites and more, sees Lynn as a corrupting influence on Juvenal, wants to get rid of her, use Juvenal for his own devices. It gets fairly complicated -- as things involving faith do -- and, well, let's just say a cast of thousands (it feels like) is soon involved.

The film appeals to me on various levels. One is the whole idea of the stigmata -- something that fascinates a non-liturgical type Quaker like me. Exhibiting the wounds of Christ and all the mystery and dogma that surrounds that.

The other is the idea of faith-healing. And by that I mean true faith healing -- not the hokey, set-up faith healing one associates with TV evangelists, but the real healing by faith. Like Jesus, the apostles, and various ones since. I am amazed by it... and a bit taken aback by it at the same time.

And third is the whole idea of how we will use any anybody's gift to benefit ourselves at times.

And so, I am now touching the VCR tape of "Touch" (I need to get it on DVD) and may pull it out, plug in the VCR and watch it again. It helps me think about the healing force of touch -- whether spiritual/physical/Divine/human or some combination of all of those -- and how we long for it. I know I do.

-- Brent

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