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February 16, 2006

The Little Colonel

I recently purchased "The Little Colonel" - a Shirley Temple movie - for my in-laws, as I had seen it on special. This movie, made in 1935, had been introduced to me by my parents when I was a child, themselves having seen it around the time of its original release. Now, 70 years later, it reappears on DVD. Shirley Temple (now Shirley Temple Black) is immortalised as a child actor.

Shirley Temple Black served many years as an Ambassador, working for international justice in Africa and Central Europe. She is now 78 years of age. However, since the release of her movies on DVD she has reported an increase in fan mail, with many admirers presuming that she is still 7 years of age. It is amazing that someone can be "frozen" in such a way, and how easy it can be to be ignorant of history.

I encountered a similar experience recently when talking with someone about the movie "Apollo 13". This person - in their late 20s - reported how they were on tenterhooks at the end of the movie because they did not know whether the astronauts made it back safely.

"Those who ignore history are condemned to repeat it," said George Santayana. Now we might be stretching it a little to include some obscure movies (sorry Shirley!), but where do we draw the line? When we lose memory of the crusades, we cannot understand Islam's relationship with the West; if we forget the Holocaust, how can we understand the Middle East today (let alone some of the longer history of the Middle East!)

Can we develop our spirituality without regard to the rich history of faith traditions available to us? Or are we condemned to the feeling of the moment - without root, without foundation?

Posted by gary at February 16, 2006 11:13 PM

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