Last night I enjoyed a pre-screening of the movie Blue Like Jazz. What a great conversation generator! Really! I can think of people from all different "places" in my life who I'd love to get together in one room, watch this - then just talk. It opens in theaters on April 13. Get a gang together and go see it that weekend! Great chance to support a low budget, independent, artsy, hilarious yet thought provoking made-by-Christians-but-not-"Christian" film. (respect the PG13 rating though, seriously!)
It reminded me a lot of the book, The Unlikely Disciple by Kevin Roose, which is basically the same story in exact reverse. I don't want to give too much away from either one, but the basics are: in Blue Like Jazz a kid from a fundamental upbringing is thrust into the most "secular" environment possible, Reed College. In The Unlikely Disciple, a non-religious kid from Brown spends a semester enrolled (under cover) at Liberty University. Actually, I wish they'd make a movie out of Unlikely Disciple, too, because there are people who would benefit from the story who won't read the book.
What I love is that neither story demonizes anyone (in my opinion), which is what makes them such great conversation starters. Anyone can poke fun, judge, call names - so predictable and tired. You won't find that in either of these stories, but both are honest and real. I can't say enough about how much I think the two of them, taken together, could promote healthy dialogue so needed in our culture today.
I don't get any royalties for this, but I mean it: go read Unlikely Disciple and go watch Blue Like Jazz (the screenplay is significantly different than the book itself, so it's not enough to have read it). Then purposely go somewhere you know you don't fit in. Strike up a humble, honest conversation with someone. See what happens!