Weekend Distractions

In addition to the emotional roller coaster that was the Super Bowl (although I have no preference for either team, it would have been nice to see the Cardinals win), I saw two things on the television this weekend that compelled me to write.

First, “The Trials of Ted Haggard” is a new HBO documentary that follows the former preacher during the immediate months after his much-ballyhooed “fall from grace” and exile from his church in Colorado. The documentary itself is pretty sparse — but surprisingly effective — in chronicling the emotional and mental toll that only such a public humiliation could cause. At points I actually felt pity for Haggard, whose experiences are not unfamiliar to many, but whose very public persona forced him to choose to live a double life. Unfortunately, that bubble also prevented him from fully appreciating the consequences of his actions. Regardless of where you stand re: the larger doctrinal debate, the documentary itself is a pretty affecting piece of work, honest and emotional. What you see on screen is not the arrogant pride of a disgraced celebrity megapastor but the picture of a man desperate to understand himself.

The other is “August Rush,” a movie about music and love and all sorts of sappy things that only happen in movies. As a musician, I’m terribly attracted to anything that remotely explores the transformative power of music. After all, music is life. But throughout the entire movie, I just wanted to grab the kid who played August Rush (Freddie Highmore) to tell him to Stop. Acting. So. Breathily. Argh. Otherwise, a good flick.

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