Friday, June 29, 2012

Just give me a sign ... Just any kind of sign. I'll keep on the lookout for it. Meanwhile, I'll just put you in the closet.

Sometimes, we choose to ignore the obvious.

It's easy to point out the faults in others, but it's not always easy to be honest about our own.

Lately, I've noticed something unusual. Now, God speaks to all men through His Word, so I don't believe (as some Christians like to claim) that "God is talking to me," but He does work through everything for the good of those who love Him, and so recent, odd circumstances have not gone unnoticed but have impressed upon me important truths I've chosen to ignore.

First, Courageous. Every film I watch, song I listen to, book I read, speech I hear, or game I play becomes a theological exercise (the Apostle John tells us by the Holy Spirit to test everything), but this is a special case because Courageous is an explicitly-religious film. What a wasted opportunity to share God's mercy with those who are hurting and lost (whether Christian or not)!

A father suffers the tragic loss of his beautiful, little daughter, and what is his -- and the filmmakers' -- answer? The (little "e") evangelical's answer to everything theological:

"Try HARDER."

The film's website admits this when it talks about its characters who "miss the mark." Of course, they "miss the mark." We all miss the mark. We are all miserable sinners desperately in need of God's mercy, which He lavishes on all in Christ!

(In other words, our trying does not "draw us closer to God," but God comes to us, giving the forgiveness of sins, eternal life, and salvation to all who trust in Christ.)

I have no doubt that those behind the film are sincere, "good" Christians. And they probably intend the film as encouragement to fathers, but it's not Gospel. It doesn't save souls. It doesn't comfort broken hearts. And it confuses Man's effort for God's mercy, which is hell for those who know they aren't good enough but don't know that Christ has already taken away their sins.

Still, some good stuff about fulfilling your God-given responsibilities as a father and overall, an interesting, emotionally-powerful movie (at least until the last scene, which replaces the work of the Holy Spirit with a pep rally).

Second, for the first time in my life, I'm doing it for Tony. And for Marcus.

And today, this.

One day at a time.