Thoughts from a Movie

Yesterday, I took LegoFan and Diva to the movies. We were taking advantage of Regal Cinema’s Summer Express where select movies are $1 per ticket – gotta love that price! Click on the link to find a location near you and the movie schedule.

We got to see Hugo. While no movie is perfect, I really enjoyed this one. There was one line that I didn’t like at all. The two main children, Hugo and Isabella, were sneaking into a movie theatre and she mentions that they could get in trouble. Hugo responds by saying that that’s how you know you’re having an adventure. This is where I love being there to watch movies with them! We can have a discussion about comments like these. Yet I know the days are coming when they will be watching movies or tv, listening to music, or reading books without me being there. Which is why I do it now. I figure that if we have these discussions often enough when they’re young, they are more likely to have these conversations with themselves and/or their friends when they’re older.

On the other hand, there was another exchange that sparked a different kind of conversation. The same two children are looking out over the Paris landscape and discussing people’s purpose. Hugo, whose interest lies in machines, says that machines don’t come with extra parts. They come with just what they need, and every piece is necessary. He goes on to explain that he sees the world in the same way – every person is necessary. Everyone has a purpose. If you’re in the world; you’re important. He doesn’t take it to it to what I would consider the logical conclusion that God creates us all for a reason; but I loved hearing this thought process come from a young man. It’s a thought beyond his years, but it’s believable when you see the movie in its entirety.

So, we got to see a movie and talk about some of life’s lessons. We talked about how adventure does not involve getting into trouble; it doesn’t even involve doing anything wrong. Adventure is an amazing thing; and I encourage my children to be adventurous. We also got to discuss how important each and every person is. God created all of us; none of us are mistakes.

I love finding pro-life messages where, perhaps, they weren’t exactly intended. While this conversation did not center around the life of a pre-born child; it did solidify the importance of all humans. To me, that includes the pre-born.

If you’re in the world, you’re important.

Word on Fire – The Catholicism Project

The other night I had the opportunity to preview Episode One of Catholicism. Catholicism is a ten part documentary created and hosted by Father Robert Barron of Word On Fire.  The website’s description:

Soon you can discover the rich heritage of the Catholic Church in an epic media experience. Word on Fire Catholic Ministries offers a vision of the Catholic Faith, which has never before been seen. This vision seeks to explore, through a global journey, the living culture of the Catholic Church. From the lands of the Bible, to the great shrines of Europe, to the shores and heartland of America, to the mysteries of Asia, to the rich landscapes of Latin America, to the beating heart of Africa – and beyond, witness the passion and glory of the faith that claims over a billion of the earth’s people as its own.

If the first episode is any indication, this is going to be one great series! Fr. Barron narrates on location from Bethlehem, Jerusalem, and more. Through this series, we visit places central to our faith; places most of us would like to see, but may never get the chance. Fr. Barron takes us to the birthplace of Jesus, the site of the Crucifixion, and the site of the Resurrection.

Fr. Barron takes the Gospels and makes them come alive; while walking in the path of Jesus. He uses his extensive knowledge of Scripture and helps us understand what it was like over 2000 years ago. He brings Jesus to life and makes it very personal.

One of the things that stood out to me was his description of both Jesus and His angels being warriors. Jesus came to fight; but perhaps not in the way the Israelites, or us, think about fighting.

I mentioned before that this series was filmed on location. Over the course of all ten episodes, Fr. Barron will take us to the following places:

  • Chicago
  • Kentucky
  • New York City
  • Philadelphia
  • Mexico
  • Ireland
  • Florence
  • Spain
  • Lourdes
  • Rome
  • Kampala, Uganda
  • France
  • Poland
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Turkey
  • Israel
  • Egypt
  • Kolkata, India
  • Philippines

The Catholicism Project will dispel myths and take you on a journey of our Christian faith that you will never forget. The Catholicism Project, while Catholic, is for everyone. It is for Catholics who want to learn more about their faith, Catholics who have left the church, all Christians, and even those of other faiths. Fr. Barron has comments on his site, testimonials of his work,  from people of other faiths who are learning what the Catholic church is really all about. There is one from a Mormon who is considering what he has to say; and one from a former atheist (who ironically found Fr. Barron while searching for Bob Dylan!). I encourage everyone to give the Catholicism Project a chance. It will be available on TV and on DVD.

Here’s a list of the titles of the ten episodes:

  1. Amazed and Afraid: The Revelation of God Become Man
  2. Happy Are We: The Teachings of Jesus
  3. The Ineffable Mystery of God: That Which Nothing Greater Can Be Thought
  4. Our Tainted Nature’s Solitary Boast: Mary, the Mother of God
  5. To the Ends of the Earth: Peter, Paul, and the Missionary Adventure
  6. A Body Both suffering and Glorious: The Mystical Union of Christ and the Church
  7. Word Made Flesh, True Bread of Heaven: The Mystery of the Liturgy and the Eucharist
  8. A Vast Company of Witnesses: The Communion of Saints
  9. The Fire of His Love: Prayer and the Life of the Spirit
  10. World Without End: The Last Things

So, check out Fr. Barron’s Catholicism Project at Word on Fire. It will be well worth your while. It isn’t just about one religion – it’s about Jesus, His reason for His humanity on earth, His teachings, His reasons for dying, His reasons for the Resurrection, and what He wants us to do with it.

 

COURAGEOUS: Honor Begins At Home

As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord (Joshua 24:15)

Recently I was privileged to participate in an advanced screening of Courageous ~ the latest movie from Sherwood Pictures. You will remember Sherwood from their life-changing movie a couple of years ago called Fireproof.  And after what I saw in Courageous, I think God is using another movie to deliver a powerful punch.

In Fireproof, Stephen and Alex Kendrick reminded us that marriage is a covenant. In Courageous, they remind us of the importance of fatherhood. Courageous does deliver a powerful punch and more. It’s convicting (smacks hand to forehead ~ that’s the word I was searching for when I was filling out the comment card after the movie!). Like Fireproof, it makes you think. But the real question is, how will it make you act?

Some might ask why we need a movie on this topic. Don’t fathers know how important they are? Don’t mothers know how important a father is to her children’s lives? Of course, children know how important fathers are, right? Apparently not.

The Bible tells us that God created a man and a woman and told them to “be fruitful and multiply” (Genesis 1:22). The man wasn’t told to plant his seed and the woman would take care of the rest. God created a family – with a mother and a father. God placed the father at the head of the family (1 Cor. 11:3; Gen. 2:24; Eph. 5:25-29). He is there to lead, to guard, to guide, and to protect. The father has a vital role in the success of a family.

Now back to Courageous… the Kendrick brothers introduce us to four police officers and we hear about their experiences with fatherhood; whether it was as fathers themselves or their relationships with their own fathers. They did a good job depicting families that exist today – families with two parents, a divorced family and a single man. One of them grew up without a father, but had a father-figure as a mentor. One is a so-so father, another is a good father, and still another is just a weekend father. We see how their individual situations have shaped their views of fatherhood. We also see varying degrees of faith, and journeys toward developing deeper faith. A little later in the movie, we are introduced to another father who really brings a lot to the story.

The major themes running through the movie are that honor does indeed begin at home and that every home needs a father. Courageous hits us hard, right out of the gate. This movie is not a chick-flick (but ladies, you may want to have a tissue or two…). But, like one of the other attendees at the screening said, of the four movies Sherwood has done, this one outdoes them all in terms of acting, action, cinematography, message, and story.

Throughout the movie we see situations that many families face on a regular basis – busy schedules, feelings of inadequacy, fear, a need to forgive, anger, and more. More importantly, we see how to handle some and not to handle others. When tragedy strikes one of the fathers, it sends him on a journey to discover what God says about fatherhood, and he eventually confronts his own mistakes as a dad.

While you may think that this alone is enough for one movie, Sherwood Pictures takes it a couple steps further. After discovering what God wants a father’s role to be, the other men want in. They put it into practice and vow to hold each other accountable. Now here’s where you expect the typical Hollywood ‘happy ending’ – so not the case in this movie. There’s more excitement to come when one of the fathers truly needs to be held accountable for his actions.

This is a movie where there is no typical Hollywood ending; but there is resolution. Each man in this story is taken on a journey; and each has a different path with a different ending. The solidifying factor is that they all commit to the journey, all are held accountable, and all find the true meaning of fatherhood.

Be prepared for a couple of amazing ‘Daddy-Daughter’ scenes – they will tug at your heart and leave a lasting impression. But also be prepared for some intense moments – remember that the main characters are police officers.

The movie initially received a rating of PG-13, but that rating has been surrendered, leaving the movie currently unrated. The initial rating was for some violence, as well as gang and drug references. These things are certainly understandable in a movie dealing with officers of the law. One thing I noted, and appreciated, was that some of the necessary violence was implied and not directly on camera. For instance, in one scene you see the police officer tackle the ‘bad guy’ on the ground. When he loses the advantage, you see the ‘bad guy’ throwing punches but you don’t see where they land. The cuts, bruises, and blood are mostly left up to your imagination. This is especially helpful in one of the defining moments of the movie. That being said, parents need to be aware that there is some violence; and there are scenes involving drugs and gang activity.

The emotions I experienced during this viewing were many. To quote Larry the Cucumber, “I laughed. I cried. It moved me.” But that does over-simplify things a bit. Alex and Stephen Kendrick have a God-given talent for being able to insert humor at just the right moment; and at just the right level.

Thank you Alex & Stephen Kendrick, Sherwood Baptist Church, the City of Albany, and the many people involved in making this film. I believe it will change many families. Most importantly, thanks be to God for the inspiration, talents, and abilities of these men and women.

Now, Don’t Let Go of the Wheel   —   See. The. Movie! September 30th, 2011. Buy tickets, buy a show time – do it opening weekend. Show Hollywood what types of movies really matter! For more information, visit Courageous online.

NOTE: I know there are some fatherless homes that can’t change the way they are right now for a reason. I have been there, and I understand. This is a movie review and not a judgment. However, there are some families in this position that can change, and should. See the movie. Pray about it.

One of my favorite quotes from the movie

… seek the Lord, even if it means you’re standing alone.

WHERE ARE YOU MEN OF COURAGE?

* Images provided by Courageousthemovie.com

The Next Sherwood Movie…

From the makers of Fireproof comes…

Courageous_Title

COURAGEOUS
Honor Begins at Home


ALBANY GA – Nov. 15, 2009 –
Sherwood Church, home of the hit independent movies FLYWHEEL (DVD only), FACING THE GIANTS, and FIREPROOF (2008’s top indie film), at its Sunday evening service tonight, announced the theme and title for Sherwood Pictures’ fourth movie.  Senior Pastor Michael Catt, Executive Pastor Jim McBride, and ministers Stephen and Alex Kendrick—collectively the leadership team of Sherwood Pictures—made the announcement.

     “The movie is about fatherhood and the title is one word:  COURAGEOUS,” Alex Kendrick said, briefly outlining the plot.  “Four fathers who are all in law enforcement—who protect and serve together—go through a terrible tragedy,” he said. “They begin looking at their role as fathers . . . and they begin challenging one another to fulfill God’s intention for fathers.”

     That single-word title, Pastor Catt said, echoes God’s call for men to “rise with courage” in their homes and as leaders.  This at a time when 4 of 10 marriages end in divorce* and more than a third of all children live away from their biological fathers.

     “The statistics on fatherless children are devastating,” McBride said. “And because the family is the building block of society, one important place to rebuild families is through fathers who stay and lead and love.”

     “God led us,” co-writer and producer Stephen Kendrick said to the audience of church members, many of them volunteer crew, cast, or catering in earlier Sherwood movies.  “We believe God is calling men to rise up with strength and with leadership in their homes, with their families and with their children.”

     “For more then a year we’ve prayed to be sure that we’re pursuing God’s idea and not our own,” Catt said.  “With action, drama, and humor, this film will embrace God’s promise in the Bible to, turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers.”

Focusing on Fatherhood     “We focus on the crucial role of father; it’s not just to be a father who loves his kids,” said Alex Kendrick, co-writer/director of COURAGEOUS.  “It’s to be engaged with a purpose—to be a father on purpose.”

     All four leaders of Sherwood Pictures are husbands and fathers.  Pastor Catt has two children; Pastor McBride has four; Stephen Kendrick has four; and Alex Kendrick has six.

More Than a Movie     Sherwood movies entertain as they touch audiences where they live, and they show the means to live more fully through faith in God.  FLYWHEEL focused on compromise and business integrity; FACING THE GIANTS on despair and hope; FIREPROOF on a dying marriage rekindled.

     With previous Sherwood movies, fans, churches, and organizations across the country (and world) became “partners” in the movie’s impact—giving prayer support for production, distribution, and the movies’ messages. Ministries and outreaches used the films in creative ways.  Churches built series and group studies on the topics; Sunday schools seized the momentum of good entertainment that emphasizes life-changing truths.

     “It’s been the Bible’s story of Jesus multiplying the boy’s fish and loaves,” Alex Kendrick said.  “God has multiplied these movies beyond our wildest dreams.”

     Principle filming of COURAGEOUS begins March 2010 in Albany.  Like the previous three Sherwood films, COURAGEOUS will be marketed by Provident Films.

     Sherwood Pictures is a ministry of Sherwood Church of Albany, Georgia, under the leadership of Senior Pastor Michael Catt and Executive Pastor Jim McBride.

To learn more, visit: