Friday Night Lights

It is always sad when one has to farewell a new friend or community. After 5 seasons of Friday Night Lights earlier this year I was sad to say good bye to ‘my’ friends at Dillon. If you had told me that I would enjoy watching  television series about a High School Football team I would have moaned and laughed out loud. Football has never really fired me up, let alone a high school version of the team sport. But after a few episodes…I was hooked.

The full 5 seasons of FNL is not without fault. There are moments that are less rewarding than others. But the stars of the show in my mind are Eric and Tammy Taylor, the head football coach(Kyle Chandler) and his wife (Connie Britton).  Marriage is positioned as something to celebrate, value and aspire to. Even when there is conflict, tension and disappointment. As Colinn Hansen for the Gospel Coalition writes:
But how might our neighbors’ attitudes change if we told stories of marriage in its gritty beauty, such as the relationship between Eric and Tami Taylor of fictional Dillon, Texas, in Friday Night Lights?

Apparently I am not the only one to enjoy the integrity of the marriage at the heart of FNL. FNL uses football as a means to explore manhood, the absent father and the good husband. It is about the brokenness of the human condition and the the power of community. And I have to say that as you journey with these families through various life events they become ‘friends’. So if you are looking for some new friends, or you want to be encouraged in your marriage or football performance FNL could be what you need.

This is 40

Judd Apatow’s 2012 comedy This is 40 has all the makings of a bitingly funny film. If you, like me, are in close proximity to the big 40 then many of the films main themes may resonate. A middle age couple managing the everyday stresses of the work, family, life balance and the seemingly impossible task of loving your life. Early on in the film there is a throw away line about the fact that surely by 40 we should have ‘made it’. There is this misconception that the great American Dream – the fabulous job, house, car, holidays, luxury items, trophy wife and adorable kids – should be a right and entitlement.
The reality for Pete and Debbie is that there are financial stresses, fading ambitions, poor communication and viagra. There were moments in the film when I thought that Apatow was going to deal sensitively with some real life issues that face middle age married couples. But for the most part the narrative was self indulgent. The moments of pathos were lost in the silliness and comic routines.
So should you rent it? Maybe….not. This is 40 is about 45 minutes too long. If you want a film about middle age and marriage – see Shawn Levy’s Date Night, the 2010 action comedy starring Steve Carell and Tina Fey. It was fun and unexpected. Just what you need for a Friday night movie!

Be mine…

Be mine….I married my man close to two decades ago. Yes we were young and in ‘love’. How much more do we understand what love is now. Love in action, in crisis, in fear and hope and all its promise. And oh how the idea of marriage seems clearer, better, purposeful and real as you live it out. Love, marriage and that covenant promise I made to my man is reflected in the Gospel….it was all His idea. What glorious hope therefore when my heart is in His and not some valentine. But I know He has given me my man to be mine…..

Big Love

So this is a confession of some recent trashy television viewing. Big Love-The final season. There are many things that appeal in this crazy HBO drama. It is not all fabulous acting or narrative, but a strange insight into polygamy and Mormon life. There are glimpses of Christian speak and doctrine interwoven with nasty rows between sister wives, jealousies and bitterness; dozens of children to take care of and food to be prepared. Much of the early series made marriage seem real. All the same issues were there, whether you are sharing your man or not. But the question is what does a ‘real marriage’ look like?
In a day where we see the media dominated by same sex marriage debates it is not surprising that HBO has allowed Big Love to drive a ‘political’agenda to have polygamy embedded in the average American psyche – maybe to one day make it real and seem normal. Marriage is such a gift, the relationship timeless and sacred. Tim and Kathy Keller’s book, The Meaning of Marriage is reviewed here. It looks like it might help us think about marriage and the love between husband and wife in a helpful way.
But there is really only one Big Love. HBO’s version is not it.

Love affair with…

I have had a real love and hate relationship over the years with The Age. It was the only newspaper I read regularly. But something changed about 15 years ago…the paper went all liberal and sordid. I couldn’t in good faith have a copy of the Sunday edition especially, on the breakfast table without fear that one of my children would find it and want to read about the latest sex scandal or tale of woe. Plus I wasn’t really up for that over my morning coffee. Nowadays we read it online.

So today after a very long supermarket shop, alone – yes a big one at the start of the school holidays, the aim being not to have to go back again for a week(!!!) – I picked up The Sunday Age because I wanted to read about Marion Grasby – from season 2 of Masterchef. A great piece and she just seems so nice.

But what I was really excited to also read about:

Mia Freedmans’s take on married couples demonstrating affection for one another. Yes, it is great to be madly in love with your spouse. And be happy to show it.

from The Notebook

Karen Martini’s sweet treats we will need to try this week, include clove and chocolate kisses!

And Julia Baird’s article The Smart Wife.  Huma Abedin’s husband may have disgraced himself, but her response to the scandal offers a new narrative for wives affected by such things. She has the opportunity to be smart, be good, be compliant be complicit, be private, be decent. I would hope that she has the opportunity to forgive and to love again. History is one continuos stream of humankind’s sin and mistakes – we are forever hurting those we love with stupid mistakes.

I would love to see marriage celebrated and honoured in our society and this reflected back in the films we see, the papers we read and the tired couples we see playing with their kids on the weekend at the park. So to a week of kisses and love. May we be smart wives who are madly in love with our husbands.