EXEGESIS OF GUMP

BenchFor some time I’ve contemplated what it is I like about Forest Gump. I think the movie had in some sense a nostalgia for me. For some reason I saw it with a few friends at different times at the movie theater and they would not be around as much after that. So the event of watching the movie had some significance. A sort of beginning of a reoccurring theme.

But what of the actual movie. The content if you will. I had not arrived at any conclusion as to what made the movie so good to me. There is the fact that it was a drama and the humor is embedded. Which to me makes for the kind of funny that when you search for it, it will keep you laughing long after the joke is over. The acting is good, but I’m not a super Tom Hanks fan, I think Bernie Mac could have pulled the part off in ways we should all pause and consider.

The movie is old and I am still attempting to answer this question. And I think this attempt says something about the answer also. Or at least it says something about my loyalty to a concept…people for that matter also.

Here we have Gump and a feather telling the story from a bench. And not an eloquent story told with epic clarity. But one that in many ways evolved out of the ones who sat next to him. A woman with hurt feet reminded him of his first shoes. A woman familiar with college leads him to talk about the one inconsistent constant in his life. And a man familiar with being shot drew Gump’s connections with war. A woman familiar with area around the bus stop they were sitting at drew him to get up to find Jenny. Each portion was not epic language, but his best attempt to tell what he saw; irony in many cases.

It seemed odd to me that his conclusion to Robert and John F Kennedy’s assassination was not about them being killed but that “it must be odd being brothers.” Or his conclusion with respect Elvis Presley’s overdose was “it must be hard being the king.” Or his response to Lt. Dan’s fighting a hurricane “after that shrimping was easy.”

The simplistic non chaotic place of a bus stop bench a feather falls his way and he tells a story of all of experiences just as he understood them. To whoever made themselves available to listen. Learning to run and then how to stop and then how to run and then stop again, how to pray, losing and gaining and losing others…leaving to play ( both the proverbial and real life) ping pong.

This is where I think the significance lies for me. I think what makes the story significant is that from the bench each person sitting with him only got a piece of the story. And what they got was related to them in some manner. And what they would get is in direct relationship to how long they sat on the bench with him. The first woman demonstrated the tension when the bus arrived.  Oh if we stayed long enough to hear the whole story of others. To get the past so long that The Great Transition happens. Only the cameras point of view picks up the story line from past to present and then ultimately… to future. But either of those sitting with him could have probably followed him to Jenny’s house. I do not think he would have had a problem with it any more than he did when he ran across the country. He seems like the kind of person that is glad to run with others willing to run also smiling along the way.

Jesus (and I’m not in any way insinuating that Forrest Gump is Jesus. lol) sits at the stop called ‘time’ and begins talking. He did it with the first disciples in John 1 when they came asking him ‘where are you staying?’ He did it with everyone when  he began to open his mouth on a mount accounted for in Matthew 5. And He does it today through experiences and people. There is the option to hear snippets of good stories and events. To envisage accounts that sound strangely familiar or connected. But those that stay, that remain in him, watch the story transition. To see the verbs and nouns eerily transition from “was and happened” and “they and them” to uncannily close forms of “is and happens” and “you and we.” You sit next to him and He tells you stories that you can relate to. How he’d been in pain. Or when things changed to wine that were ordinary. He gives you context and history and slowly walks you right through Bethlehem and Gailee and Jerusalem right into Kansas City or wherever you are right now. And before you know it you find that the story has transitioned to you and Him on the bench or at holdtotruth.com. That is the beautiful thing about His story. He permits you to be a part of it. If you sit long enough you will find yourself as one of the main characters. I personally think its quite possible that if we sat at the stop of others lives the same thing happens their too.

What makes Jesus so much better and worth sitting with is when He finishes with the past and draws you into the account in the present we get the pleasure that when He gets up to move toward the future we get to get up and move with Him.

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