man on wire

Lauren and I watched a great documentary last night called Man on Wire [winner of the 2009 Oscar for Best Documentary]. It is about a man named Philip Petit who, back in 1974, wire walked between the towers of the World Trade Center.

Petit is an amazing story teller, and it was so interesting to hear about his passion for life come through in his quest to perform this truly spectacular feat.

Two things stood out to me while watching this film.

1) Petit described the moment right before he stepped out onto the wire between the towers as a truly scary moment, one where he knew that his next step might actually cost him his life. At the same time, it was a step that he felt destined to take, one that he could not resist. I have been reading loads of Bonhoeffer’s work on discipleship lately, and I could hear echoes of it in Petit’s words. The call to discipleship entails taking that first step of obedience. It is one that disrupts our lives at great cost, sometimes even to death. And yet when we truly hear the voice of Jesus calling us to follow him, it’s a voice that can’t be resisted. We become more of who we are meant to be as a result of taking that first step.

2) The one pressing question that Petit faced after the fact was “why did you do it?” He could not wrap his mind around why it was such a big thing for people to know why. For him, it was something that he was meant to do, a beautiful moment in his life where he felt truly alive. And it was something that brought great joy and inspiration to those who witnessed it. He truly believed that this was his destiny, and to go through with it was his expression of authentic living, even for just those moments. So, to be asked why he did it was to be asked “why do you exist?” Our modern tendency is to have everything explained, but sometimes the beauty of the act and the ability to bring joy to and inspire others should be able to speak for itself.

It was a tremendous film, one that both Lauren and I would recommend.

ps. I have my first post up on the Funhouse Bible blog, looking at Acts 1. Check it out.

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  1. it was a brilliant movie, i enjoyed it quite a bit and you’re second point was the point that really stuck out for me when it was over too and he said something along the lines of how the west is fascinated with why we do things, and he just had to do it, he didn’t think why…

  2. i fell asleep but the first 10 minutes were pretty good.

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