Sunday, June 25, 2017

Martin Sheen & the Spirituality of Imagination

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I really like Martin Sheen. I enjoy him as an actor because he has great range. He's played the president of the United States with a gravitas that would be the envy of Donald Trump if Trump had any clue about his role. He is able to do comedy as well, and if you've watched the Netflix series Grace and Frankie you'll know this is true.

Sheen also played a man on a quest in the film The Way. It's about the Camino, the pilgrimage walk across Spain. The character he plays goes in search of his son's body and finds himself as he saunters through his grief.

Sheen is a person of faith, returning to the abandoned Roman Catholicism of his youth in mid-life. After he finished his role in the film Gandhi he was in Paris, doing some serious soul-searching, aware that alcohol was not his friend, uncertain about the direction of his life. He wandered into the only English-speaking Roman Catholic church on the Left Bank and the experience became the most joyful moment in his adult life. Even still, he realized that he wasn't returning to the piety of his youth, which had been too restrictive. This was a different way of encountering God.

I would encourage you to search for Sheen's interview with Krista Tippet on the radio program On Being. It's called Spirituality of Imagination, and while it's a couple of years old it was reposted recently.

Has there been a time when you've moved away from the faith of your youth, only to return. Was that reimagining of faith liberating?

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