Connecting with Culture
It’s been said that culture is ‘what we make of the world’, but what does that look like as Christians? How can we begin conversations about what’s goin...
The Oscars are never short of drama, in any sense of the word. Arguably film’s most coveted award, in recent years the Oscars have been shrouded in declining audience views, a lack of diversity amongst nominees and the Academy itself, and ongoing debate about whether the whole thing is now just out of touch with the real world.
While most news outlets have been talking about that incident during this year’s ceremony, what is truly worth reporting on is the richness of talent that has (finally) been recognised. Many of this year’s winners have been ground-breaking for several reasons, and it is a welcome change of direction for the Academy, and Hollywood in general.
Coda, the story of a deaf family and their only hearing child, took home the Best Picture award. As an independent film with a small budget, many of the cast from the deaf community, and having been directed by a woman, it is quite unlike past winners. Art imitates life, as some say, and we saw that sentiment in the representation of people of different ethnicities, genders, and abilities on-stage and off-stage, winners, nominees, and presenters alike.
Art has a particular power to bring people into others’ worlds. As a nation, the UK was captivated by Rose Ayling-Ellis’ historic triumph on Strictly this past year and were deeply moved by her illustrations of what it’s like to live as a deaf person. As someone who doesn’t have a disability, listening to and sharing in the life of those who do gives me a glimpse into God’s character that I rarely experience in my everyday life.
Jesus used his time on earth not only to heal those who were afflicted with physical, mental, spiritual, and societal pains, but to live alongside the outsider and show them mercy. Furthermore, it was often they who were chosen to teach others who Jesus was – just think of Mary Magdalene. Jesus taught us to walk alongside those who differ from us, listening to and learning from them, and discovering God’s glory hidden in his image bearers as we go.
For us, this could be as simple as inviting the new neighbours from a different country to dinner one evening, or something as complex as challenging the inequalities subconsciously engrained in society or our workplace. Let’s artfully enter the stories of our diverse neighbours. For in celebrating what’s truly good and beautiful about them, we might together discover Jesus acting in disguise.
Impact and Insights Lead, LICC