Courageous

Some of you may have seen the relatively new Christian movie Courageous.

Tonight I just finished reading the book (by Randy Alcorn), and I ended up with really, really mixed feelings.

I thought it had really good overall themes, good writing, and the movie had decent acting. “Daddy issues” come up in a lot of literature and entertainment; they’re very real. I think that at some point everyone deals with them, even if they come from a “good” family like my own.

But I also think I see why the rest of the world ridicules the church. At the heart of the story, it’s very naive. There’s a lot of really heavy problems that play key roles in the movie, and the book deals with even more.

I think several well-meaning Christians tried to write about issues they have never faced.

I know a good friend of mine who lost his sister to a drunk driver. My friend was a good kid, his dad was a pastor, his mom was a social worker. In short, they were a “good Christian family.”

They’ve never been the same. He did drugs, got kicked off athletic teams, lost scholarships. His parents split with the church.

It wasn’t because he was a bad father. He’s a good father.

And that hasn’t been the magic easy answer.

Yes, growing up fatherless causes problems. Yes, dads have a responsibility to their kids.

But nothing is ever as easy as Courageous makes it look.

The good guys don’t always catch the bad guys. People who’ve suffered intense loss don’t heal that easily, and without setbacks. Teenage sons don’t buy it when a dad who has ignored them suddenly starts trying to connect. (It takes a lot more than going running together to convince them that they’re on the same team). Teenage girls don’t ignore hormones, peer pressure and their desires for a social life even if daddy gives them a pretty ring and a talk about purity. Single moms abandoned by their boyfriends don’t start trusting because of one nice-sounding letter and a check. (In fact, most would get a restraining order and wonder what the guy was trying to pull).

These strong fathers, good leaders, well-meaning writers who have never been as desperate as the people they write about it, they are trying to save the world. But they’re failing, because they offer easy answers, and easy answers don’t work when you’re faced with the reality of brokenness in the world.

Please, church- stop meaning well, stop confining your courage to easy answers. Be courageous enough to face us in all our impossible brokenness; in all our un-fixable messes; in all our pain.

Maybe then you can talk about changing the world.

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