Inspiration comes from the strangest places…
This past week I was in Tallahassee at the spring meeting of a colleague group, Downtown Episcopal Clergy of the New South (DECONS). I always leave the DECONS meeting energized and renewed for ministry in the Church, and I always enjoy the company of my colleagues and friends. Even so, this time the most memorable nugget I received came from an interview in the hotel’s complimentary copy of Details Magazine (May 2013).
But permit me to digress. Often I hear people inside and outside of the Church discuss the demise of institutional religion. Some lament and others rejoice at this supposed fact. It is claimed that corporate worship no longer connects with the prevailing culture. It is suggested the things of worship are arcane and bankrupt of spiritual heft and meaning.
And then an interviewer in Details Magazine asks the reigning king of Hollywood–and thus The Lord of All Things Pop Cultural–Bradley Cooper whether he (Bradley) is religious. I winced before reading Mr. Cooper’s answer, because I am conditioned to expect the famous either to caricature and lambast Christianity or else peddle a superficial and half-baked practice of Kabbalah or Buddhism.
But here is what Bradley Cooper says:
“I grew up Roman Catholic. I was baptized. I always loved the pageantry of it. A lot of it had to do with loving my father and looking at him wear his tweed blazer to Mass. I loved the way he prayed, so I would pray like he would. Not for any other reason than I wanted to be like my father–I wanted to be like Charlie Cooper. But in so doing, through the ritual of it, I started to have faith in God. Am I a spiritual person today? Yes. I don’t know how I could not be. It’s like saying, ‘Do you breathe?'”
It’s difficult to imagine a better articulation of why corporate worship matters, why liturgy matters, why family observance of ritual matters, why the Church matters.
And all from Bradley Cooper. Inspiration comes from the strangest places.