Reflections on “Fireproof” and “Courageous”

'theatre' photo (c) 2006, Bill Ohl - license: When the movie “Fireproof” first came out, Wendy and I went on a date to watch it. We ended up in tears at the movie theater, because the movie was a touching portrayal of marital love and forgiveness in the context of the gospel. And now Christian filmmakers Sherwood Pictures have followed it up with “Courageous,” a movie about fatherhood and heroism. I love the movie “Fireproof” and I’m sure “Courageous” would be a solid film as well (I haven’t seen it yet), but this past week I kept thinking: “Why do we even need these films at all?”

What I mean to ask is: why do we need to shoot movies to get people to watch actors to demonstrate how to live God-pleasing lives in our marriage and in our fatherhood on a big screen, rather than having real life examples of godly marriages, godly fathers, and godly heroes around us in our everyday lives? I think the fact that we need these movies at all is an indirect indictment of the failure of the church to live as it should.

Right now the American society does not perceive the church as a factory producing awe-inspiring husbands and wives and fathers and mothers and citizens. Instead, the American society perceives the church as producing activists and voters that fight against same-sex marriage and abortion.

Now, in terms of my political views, I am also against same-sex marriage (which I explained elsewhere), but I’ve always felt uneasy joining those Prop 8 rallies a few years ago. The thing that made me feel uneasy was that the slogan was “Protect Marriage,” but I didn’t feel like we were fully “protecting marriages.” If we were to protect marriages, we would also need to turn our attention to reducing divorces. If we were to protect marriages, we wouldn’t just be casting a vote at the ballot box.

Out of that uneasiness about the “Protect Marriage” slogan, I worked harder to build a better marital relationship with my wife. I’ve dedicated more time to learning and practicing to be a good father. We also led more studies in our church groups about how to strengthen our marriages and our roles as parents. We’ve also taken extra time to counsel couples who have marital struggles.

I also appreciate fellow Christians in the public arena who live their faith. One person I admire is San Francisco Giants pitcher Jeremy Affeldt, who started a charity to fight child sex trafficking, and who wrote blogs read by many Giants fans to express his faith and how Christ influences his everyday life. I think that his series of blog entries on “How to Be A Dad” is required reading for every dad.

We need more Christians who live to bring glory to God. We need the church to live lives that show the power of the gospel, instead of just voting for propositions or politicians. Let the church obsolete the need for movies like “Fireproof” and “Courageous” by being ubiquitous real-life witnesses to the truth of God, so much that we won’t feel the need to make those movies.

“Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)


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