Well, he is a social dance in the old-time sense – dancing for people. But not quite in that sense in which, for instance, the German ballerinas dance in the saloon. He dances in the social sense of someone going in search of something to say to someone else. His audience is himself and it is the world to which he has turned. We see that Waltz has a social mission, but also a religious mission. When the church asks him to “save the flock,” he does not just do so because of a religious impulse, but, more often than not, because he has come to his personal judgment that the world has become too selfish to accept its own salvation and that it is necessary to reach out to a wider audience. (This goes well beyond his usual tendency to make people feel that Waltz is doing a service to humanity, for instance by showing how one of the characters has become a sort of conscience, or how he feels a part of some great spiritual quest.) What he wants to save the church is not so much for the sake of the church (which is not as high a priority for him as it is for anyone else) as to save it as a place to think more deeply about the world, to think about human beings, and to understand them in terms of human dignity. The church does not exist as a place of redemption and reconciliation, but of a certain kind of radical alienation from the world, and one that must be overcome by understanding the depth of what we mean when we speak of “the Kingdom of God” or “a life of faith.”
This is not to say that Waltz does not feel like an apostolic figure – after all, the church is the institution from which he wants to get away, and from which he wants the world. What he wants to take away from the church as a structure is what it has to teach him about the world. And I believe that he is trying at every moment to find the meaning of his story, in terms of the way those who have lived before him have understood and interpreted it. His ultimate end, and his ultimate goal, is to be the Christ who has been called to do a mission in the world – to come into the world at the same time as God the Father comes into the world and to do a kind of work in the world that is not of this world.
Do I think that Waltz has become a sort of spiritual prophet? If so, then what I have understood of Walt
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