More Talk, Less Truth Found in "Conversations"
- Monday, March 05, 2007
EDITOR'S NOTE: Now on DVD, "Conversations With God" is one man's true account of how he found answers from God, became a "spiritual messenger" and authored a successful book series that has sold over 7 million copies. After watching this film, Entertainment Critic Annabelle Robertson creates a fictional "conversation" of her own with the film's main character, Neale Walsch, to better explore the problems with "Conversations" and its peculiar subject matter.
Annabelle: Hello everyone, and thank you for joining us. My name is Annabelle Robertson and I have here with me today Neale Donald Walsch, who is promoting his latest film, “Conversations With God.” The feature film is based on his mega-bestselling book, which spent three years on the New York Times bestseller list and was translated into 34 languages.
I’m particularly intrigued to have Walsch, who is played by Henry Czerny in the film, here with me today, because he’s going to reveal why everyone on the planet is wrong when it comes to God. Thank you for joining me. Should I call you Neale or The Donald?
Neale: Neale is fine. Unless you prefer “Moses,” of course.
Annabelle: Right. Neale it is. Now tell us how you came to write “Conversations With God,” which also happens to have the same plot arc of the film.
Neale: Well, Annabelle – uh, is it okay to call you Annabelle?
Annabelle: Of course. Unless you prefer “Lost Soul Who Sits at Your Feet, Gobbles Up Every Word You Say Without Thinking and Who Makes You into a Ka-trillionaire.” Either way.
Neale: Well, Lost Soul, here I was with a broken neck, the victim of a car accident caused by my lust for a passing woman. Three months behind on my rent and inexplicably estranged from every friend, relative, employer, ex-wife and child I’d ever met, spawned, worked for or married, I was homeless and unable to find a job. Then one day, at the depth of my despair, God spoke to me.
Annabelle: Now, in the film, all the homeless people are really clean. They’re not violent, they don’t use drugs and they bond like the chorus singers of “We Are the World.” They dive in dumpsters that are freshly painted. I’ve worked with the homeless, and that’s not the way it is. But however sanitized your portrait of the homeless is, I was glad to see it onscreen. It certainly makes us sympathetic toward their plight.
Neale: Well, we were homeless people on the way to enlightenment, you see. Which I got at 4:31 a.m. after I cried out to God. He answered, and he said so many things that I almost didn’t know where to start, but I wrote them all down. I filled up several yellow legal pads, in fact.
Annabelle: Yes, I saw that in the film. Shot after shot of you scribbling on those legal pads. Fascinating cinema, it was. Now let’s delve a little deeper into that experience. You wrote down everything God said. Does that mean that God spoke slowly enough for you to transcribe his every word? Or do you just happen to have a little stenography in your background?
Neale: No, I got it all. Every single word – word for word.
Annabelle: Just like Moses.
Neale: Exactly. Except Moses got it all wrong. Everyone did.
Annabelle: Okay. And how did you know that it was God who was speaking?
Neale: Well, that’s the most amazing thing, you see. God spoke to me in my own voice!
Neale: Truly revealing, isn’t it?
Annabelle: Well, if I heard my own voice telling me things like, “You’ve got it all wrong about me;” “The universe is always conspiring in our favor;” and “Love is the answer,” I’d probably think I’d forgotten to turn off the Psychic Channel or something. Don’t get me wrong, though. I definitely believe God speaks to us. He just doesn’t contradict himself. Your teaching goes against so much of what is in the Bible, Neale. And that’s God’s primary means of communicating with us.
Neale: Well, God did say we had it all wrong.
Annabelle: Well, I do like the fact that God reached down to you in your suffering and showed you mercy. You definitely have a rags to riches tale. But if we’re all wrong, doesn’t that mean you’ve got it wrong, too, Neale?
Neale: Well, I was wrong. But then God gave me the answers to all of life’s questions. And what he told me was that we’re all our own rule makers. He said that we just need to break free from ourselves.
Annabelle: And how does one break free from oneself, Neale?
Annabelle: Folks, I believe Neale might be getting another transmission from God. Neale? Neale? Is God speaking again, even though it’s not 4:31 a.m.? And can you tell us what he’s saying?
Neale: (snapping out of his trance) Yes, yes, I can. I got every word. God is saying, “I don’t want anything for you except for you to be happy. I want for you what you want for you – nothing more.”
Annabelle: Well, gosh, Neale. That’s easy. I’d like a $1.5 million dollar book contract like you, without any effort at all.
Neale: Ah, but you see, you mustn’t worry about making a living. Do whatever you love – nothing else.
Annabelle: But I didn’t love watching your film, Neale – and that’s what I do for a living. I watch bad films, and the occasional good one. And the problem is that your film reminded me of a video shot by people high on drugs using 70s technology. People who had never made a movie in their entire lives, you know? Infomercials, definitely – but not movies.
Neale: But did it change your life?
Annabelle: It made me want to change the channel.
Neale: You see? Do what you love. Change that, and you will be rich. Riches always follow spiritual enlightenment, you see.
Annabelle: But what about all of my writer friends who aren’t rich? They’re doing what they love, and they’re both successful and happy. But they don’t earn much at all. What about all the people serving the homeless who barely make enough to survive? The artists? The teachers? The stay-at-home moms?
Neale: They’ve got it all wrong. They’ve got God wrong.
Annabelle: Hmmmm. So what does it mean to get it right?
Neale: The masters are those who have chosen to make a life – not a living.
Annabelle: Now is this God speaking or you, Neale?
Neale: We are all one. There is no separation.
Annabelle: I see. Well, there you have it, folks. Your opportunity to get real with Neale. And who knows? Maybe you’ll become one of the many glassy-eyed people in his infomercial, I mean movie, who raves about his book.
Neale: Yes, do buy my book. And my video. And, don’t forget “Indigo” – the film I made back in 2004 with my good buddy, director Stephen Simon. It’s about a new generation of children who have indigo life auras that represent their chakra abilities to heal others. Powerful stuff.
Annabelle: Fascinating, Neale.
Neale: Call me Moses.
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