Sunday, September 30, 2012

A Wonderful Night in Hell

The day began pretty poorly. Woke up not feeling like P. Diddy, with a deflated bank account, a tight schedule that involved getting the car tires changed and generally feeling like a hypocrite for eating at Chik-Fil-A.

First world problems.

Anyway. I met up with my close friend Jared at the Amc 30 around 3:30 to meander around, engaged in conversation. As usual, the topics revolved around theology (both doctrinal and practical), film (including discussion on Avengers and Brave) and finally on personal notes. Sipping an industrial size coke and sitting outside the Alcatraz Brewery just talking was something I missed, so already my day was turning into something great.

I could only imagine it would stay as good. I was pleasantly surprised.

I had already seen Hellbound? in a screening, so my concern mostly was in the experience of sitting with others to watch it. Throughout the film, I expected exacerbated sighs with the possibility of people storming out in a theatrical way, arms flailing and spilling their popcorn. Instead, I don't think I've heard as many audible "amens" in a theater before. Which was interesting. And I heard a lot of sniffling from the manly dude a few rows over to my right.

I didn't expect such a non-reactive crowd. To my surprise, after the screening (which had the odd and unfortunate conclusion of having the film's credits mysteriously cut), Kevin Miller and Dave Rempel did their Q&A and it went quite well. Questions about justice, the conduct of the interviews and the fear of organized religion and the possibility of Kevin and Dave fearing for their lives; an odd question that Jared and I wondered about being a couched threat. That was when we started looking for the exits.

Fortunately, Kevin was more than able to answer the question and the Q&A resided to the lobby. I won;t lie, I still kept an eye out for that one guy who asked the weird question. I got to shake Dave's hand and we chatted for a few minutes. Like old friends. I asked him about the most difficult interview, and I won't spoil it but it involves the most tense interview in the film.

Then Kevin and I got to talk for a bit in the crowded lobby, which as awesome as it was, was not the highlight of my night, though it was quite close. I'm getting to that. It was finally cool to put a face to our many twitter and facebook conversations. Both Dave and Kevin were warm, open and just a joy to dialogue with.

After the Q&A, Jared and I meandered around the Block for a bit, finally settling for Jamba Juice. We talked about the experience and the theology of the film, and we started talking about the conclusions, if universalism and other views were indeed true, how should we then live?

How does this affect us personally as well as others and our relationships? What questions does it answer, what does it do for other questions? Since Jared and I thrive on deconstruction, this was both draining and exhilarating for me.

I won't get into specifics, but it was probably one of the deepest conversations I've had in months. I found myself saying those awful words, "I don't know" far more than I am usually comfortable with. And that felt good for once. The back and forth inspired by the film yielded exactly what the film set out to do:

Get us talking.

Especially over late nights, uncomfortable metal chairs and fruit smoothies.