85: Justin Lewis-Anthony


Manage episode 271899345 series 2312064
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My guest this week, in my first face-to-face interview since lockdown, is Justin Lewis-Anthony, Rector of Chingford. Justin talks about how he ended up doing a PhD with me and why the topic of leadership was something that made him angry. He refers to how cinema is the functioning mythological delivery system of the age and how many people expect Church leaders to function like John Wayne. Justin would rather teach people to be disciples.
We discuss Bonhoeffer and Pratchett and Jesus films and what counts as a historical fact and being taught by David Starkey. Justin speaks about nostalgia as one of the processes whereby we apply meaning to things that have happened and we learn why Justin is suspicious about authenticity, and he draws on Little House on the Prairie to illustrate his point.

We learn why he’s bored by dark superheroes and we find out about the problem with thinking of authenticity as an empirical standard and why it’s not a goal for human flourishing. We look at Robin Hood, Led Zeppelin, Dirty Dancing, Naked Gun 33 1/3, Rocky Horror and the relationship between nostalgia and reception theory.
We talk about the problems of film and theology and operating within a canon and we move on to talk about escapism and Richard Curtis. It’s what we are escaping to that’s crucial to escapism, and we talk about its consumer delivery mechanism basis in films.
Justin reveals why he isn’t crippled by memories of the past and having a sensitivity to one’s surroundings and history in the context of having a Welsh father. He talks about ‘disasters survived’ and recognizing one’s responsibilities to others rather than introspection, which we apply to Covid. He tells us why Flatliners is a film he walked out of due to the idea that we can manipulate death.
At the end of the interview Justin talks about what it is that justifies his existence and the danger of living one’s life through one’s children. He discusses the importance of history and why there may not be much point in worrying about the future.
Please note: Opinions expressed are solely those of Chris Deacy and Justin Lewis-Anthony and do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of the University of Kent.