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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

Joyful Noise

By
Sr. Rose Pacatte, F.S.P.
Source: AmericanCatholic.org

Queen Latifah and Dolly Parton play two church singers at odds with each other over who should lead the choir when the director, played by Kris Kristofferson, passes away. When the pastor, played by Courtney B. Vance, chooses Queen Latifa’s character Vi Rose instead of Dolly Parton’s GiGi, Christian charity becomes strained.
 
The story takes place in a small Georgia town that is economically stressed, but church members love to sing. Vi Rose, who is mom to Olivia (KiKi Palmer), talks to everyone in clichés, until she finally lets loose in a sermon to her daughter about maturity and responsibility. We discover that her husband Marcus (Jesse L. Martin) left the family to reenlist in the army because this was the only way he could support them.
 
To complicate matters further the choir’s finances are in bad shape and when they lose in a regional competition the pastor tells them they cannot continue. Then Randy (Jeremy Jordan), GiGi’s somewhat wayward grandson, shows up, and develops a crush on Olivia.
 
“Joyful Noise” is not a great film, but it is high energy and very entertaining.  It’s not especially good on moral theology either (one of the lady choir members sleeps with another one and when he dies during the night, she wonders if it is God’s punishment; the pastor assures her it isn’t but he is not particularly concerned that sex outside of marriage falls outside of Christian behavior.)
 
The plot is contrived to be a Christian version of “Glee”, or a throw back to the old “Our Gang” TV shows when a variety show or a concert would save the day.  If it weren’t for Queen Latifa and Dolly Parton, “Joyful Noise” wouldn’t work. KiKi Palmer and Jeremy Jordan have a nice chemistry.
 
The best part of the film for me was the hilarious catfight that Vi Rose and GiGI have in the local restaurant. The ending is quite moving; I had to get my Kleenex but I cannot tell you why or I will spoil it for you.


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Conversion of St. Paul: Paul’s entire life can be explained in terms of one experience—his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus. In an instant, he saw that all the zeal of his dynamic personality was being wasted, like the strength of a boxer swinging wildly. Perhaps he had never seen Jesus, who was only a few years older. But he had acquired a zealot’s hatred of all Jesus stood for, as he began to harass the Church: “...entering house after house and dragging out men and women, he handed them over for imprisonment” (Acts 8:3b). Now he himself was “entered,” possessed, all his energy harnessed to one goal—being a slave of Christ in the ministry of reconciliation, an instrument to help others experience the one Savior. 
<p>One sentence determined his theology: “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting” (Acts 9:5b). Jesus was mysteriously identified with people—the loving group of people Saul had been running down like criminals. Jesus, he saw, was the mysterious fulfillment of all he had been blindly pursuing. </p><p>From then on, his only work was to “present everyone perfect in Christ. For this I labor and struggle, in accord with the exercise of his power working within me” (Colossians 1:28b-29). “For our gospel did not come to you in word alone, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and [with] much conviction” (1 Thessalonians 1:5a). </p><p>Paul’s life became a tireless proclaiming and living out of the message of the cross: Christians die baptismally to sin and are buried with Christ; they are dead to all that is sinful and unredeemed in the world. They are made into a new creation, already sharing Christ’s victory and someday to rise from the dead like him. Through this risen Christ the Father pours out the Spirit on them, making them completely new. </p><p>So Paul’s great message to the world was: You are saved entirely by God, not by anything you can do. Saving faith is the gift of total, free, personal and loving commitment to Christ, a commitment that then bears fruit in more “works” than the Law could ever contemplate.</p> American Catholic Blog If you’re confused as to why God would die for you, you either need to rethink your vision of His mercy or of your own worth.

 
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