Deb, David and I saw Nacho Libre on Friday. I have been looking forward to this movie since the trailers were released. I was nervous since Roger Ebert gave it such a bad review. But I must admit, that I really liked Nacho Libre. Like Napoleon Dynamite, we’ve been quoting lines since we came out of the theater.
There’s one line though, that grabbed my attention the moment Jack Black said it. It was funny in its context. But I think it’s even more poignant when applied to kingdom living. Speaking about the priests who oversee him, Black states, “They think I don’t know a buttload of crap about the Gospel. But I do.”
Nacho is a man that has been simultaneously cared for and crushed by the religious leaders above him. As an orphan they’ve sheltered him and raised him. Yet, because of their paradigm of spirituality and holiness, they’ve punished him for his dreams. Tethered to a life that he hates, Nacho longs for something better.
He has grown up in the shadow of the Gospel. But the way that it’s been modeled convinces him that his dreams are sinful and that serving God is a drudgery. So he tries to live a double-life — one foot in the world where his dreams lie and one foot in the only form of spirituality that he knows and, in many ways, cherishes. When those two lives collide, we discover that God inhabits all of life and that Nacho does know a lot about the Gospel.
I believe this is true for a lot of people longing to live a substantive life with God. They’ve been convinced that unless they can exegete Scripture, lead a committee, or perform on stage, then they can’t do much for God. Yet, God desires to inhabit the places where our talents, gifts, passions, and even our blunderings, can touch the world’s pain and transform it into goodness on behalf of others. That is the road to authentic spirituality we must travel. And don’t be surprised if you discover that one of your traveling companions is a squash-shaped man in blue and red stretchie pants.