Posts Tagged ‘orphans’

Last night we had “Guy Movie Night”. I thought the recent release, Machine Gun Preacher, would be an interesting movie to watch and talk about. It would certainly get us outside of our comfort zone and think about how to live out our faith in circumstances very different than our own.

It has a provocative title, drawing attention to the seeming contradiction at play. It is based on the life of Sam Childers, who runs an orphanage in southern Sudan. This is the Hollywood treatment, so we can’t be too sure about how accurate the story is. Often multiple events can be synthesized into one for the purpose of movie-making. So … I am not speaking about the real Sam Childers, but the Sam Childers of film, played by The 300′s Gerard Butler.

The beginning of the movie is a large part of why it has an R rating. Sam is released from prison. He’s something of a bad boy biker, and speaks like it. There are quite a few F-bombs and c-suckers in the first 20-30 minutes. After his wife picks him up at the prison the next scene is them in the car on the side of road getting reacquainted, so to speak. There is no nudity and it is shot from a distance, but it certainly made me feel uncomfortable.

This was a man who lived according to his most pressing desires. Yet he returns to a wife who is different from the one he left. She no longer strips. I could not conceive of having the mother of my child, even if we weren’t married, strip for men. He was angry upon this discovery. “What, did you find God?” he asked derisively. Like a good Calvinist, she responded “God found me.” And so the battle begins. She continues to work at a respectable, low-paying job and bringing their daughter to church. He returns to his life of crime, drugs and drinking.

That is until one night, after robbing a dealer he thinks he kills a hitchhiker in a brutal attack in the back seat of the car. His wife awakens to find him trying to wash blood out of his shirt. “Help me,” he cries. And so he awkwardly attends church and responds to a vague invitation and is baptized.

What he believes is never really spelled out. His faith is more a necessary plot device that motivates some action and creates the cognitive dissonance. There are no clear articulations of any Christian doctrine, and he is baptized upon a confession of faith we never hear.

But what is clear is that he changes. Though he struggles to provide for his family, he sticks to respectable work. Eventually he applies himself and builds a business. His family is able to move out of the dumpy, tornado ravaged mobile home they share with his mother. He is engaged in family life.


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One of the more neglected passages in Scripture is this:

27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

We hear alot about that last part, being undefiled from the world.  But we don’t hear much (if at all) about looking after orphans and widows.  The OT is filled with statements about God’s heart for the orphans and widows, those unable to take care of themselves.  They are the most vulnerable members of society.

If you’ve been here before, you probably know that we’ve adopted a son from China (CavWife’s trip is chronicled in January 2008).  We are pondering adopting again, and were recently approached about the possibility of adopting a mixed race child (you might want to join us in praying about that).  Adoption is the height of the gospel, as I’ve preached before.  It is the highest grace we receive upon justification.  Adopting orphans is a magnificent picture of the gospel.

Together for Adoption has announced their 2010 conference in Austin, TX this October.  I’d like to get over there, if possible.  They don’t limit the discussion to adoption, but calling to church to address the worldwide orphan crisis.  Caring for widows and orphans is one of the great legacies of the early church that we have neglected.  Together for Adoption wants to remind us of this high and holy calling.  For all you social justice types (I’m one of those, when rightly understood), this is, in part, a choice for social justice as well as compassion.

  • Dan Cruver: Keeping the Gospel at the Center of Orphan Ministry
  • Bryan Loritts: The Church as the Theater of Transracial Adoption
  • Darrin Patrick: The Trinity as the Model and Motive for Church-Based Orphan Care
  • Matt Carter: The Church as the Champion of Social Justice
  • Karyn Purvis: Counting the Cost- Preparing the Church for the Adoption Journey
  • Dave Gibbons: The Church as the Answer to the Foster Care Crisis

Looks to be some great stuff.  Maybe I’ll see you there.

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CavWife and I have been wanting to see Slumdog Millionaire for quite some time.  Saturday we finally had an opportunity.  Let’s just say it was not what I expected.  I’m not precisely sure what I expected, but this was not it.

The movie is filled with time shifts, which initially is slightly confusing.  But once you realize what is going on, it all makes sense.  Much of the movie takes place while the young contestant for the Indian version of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” is being interrogated after being accused of cheating.

As an aside, we Americans really don’t grasp how unusual our legal system is.  This is obviously a story, and may be quite unrealistic (I don’t know, I’ve never been accused of a crime in India).  We are so concerned with our civil rights, yet never think of how this sounds to people in other countries were you are presumed to be guilty until proven innocent, or how dangerous it can be to fall into the hands of police.

Okay, the movie.  The movie keeps flashing back to explain why he knew the answers to the various questions.  It tells the story of 2 Muslim brothers who are orphaned and the orphan girl who joins them as they try to survive in a brutal world.  Much of what they experienced is so far beyond the experience of Americans.  It has a Dickens-like industrial revolution feel to it.  Add to that the caste system and religious persecution, these boys had a difficult, confusing, existence.

The movie evolves into a love story.  The only reason he is a contestant on the show is to find the girl, the missing love of his life.  She is being held by a gangster as an unwilling mistress or wife (we really aren’t sure).  She refuses to live on love, so he’s also trying to get them money necessary to run away.


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