If you’ve read this blog for a good length of time you’ll know that I always have great ideas for recurring sections, but hardly the time to keep them coming. So, as I always do, I introduce to you yet another recurring section that I am hopeful will occur again. “The Moral of the Story” will be a review of recent movie release’s spiritual relevance to the body of believers. Nothing more, nothing less. So, let’s get right into it.
This past holiday weekend I had the opportunity to see “The Book of Eli”, the Hughes brothers post-apocalyptic flick about a man who is carrying the last known Bible and risking his life to protect it. Denzel Washington plays the title character of the film, which comes as no big surprise since he is pretty vocal about his faith in Hollywood. The movie follows Eli’s journey as he navigates the grayish lands of the post-apocalyptic world in search of cat meat, nice boots and clean water. In between all of this he carries with him the precious treasure/weapon of the last King James Bible known to man. He guards it with his life, participates in a little bit of Christian fundamentalist violence to protect it and does all of this while remaining just as cool as he was in “Mississippi Masala” with the gangster edge he had in “Training Day”. He is a man’s man endeavoring to be God’s man.
When I first considered writing this review, I was going to talk about all the awesome messages about faith that are packed in the nearly 2 hour film. But then, in a conversation with a friend, I realized that not only is about a faith, but faith from a perspective that men can actually grasp, comprehend, and be changed by. Far too often, particularly in Christianity, men are turned away because they feel like the church caters to the emotional whims of women. The Christian church is filled with more women than men, so men can hardly find a connection there except through the pastor, and even then, he is too distant. But “The Book of Eli” does well to deliver a message that men can find themselves in because it embraces the masculinity of the faith. It draws attention to the one area I believe most men have a problem with when they are navigating the faith, walking by faith and not by sight. It hearkens back to the notion that men are logical creatures while women are emotional ones and thus it is simple for us to get wrapped up in a relationship with an unseen God because our hearts are moved by all that we read about Him. Most women don’t need much proof to be swayed to worship the only wise God. I mean, think about it, we are the ones that go in droves to see romantic comedies and buy Harlequin books because we are wired to desire love. This is not to say that men aren’t looking for love, but they have to go through a process before they even begin to be ready for love on the level that I feel we were born with.
Nevertheless, back to the point at hand because I am no expert on the matter. In my conversation with my friend she mentioned that a guy friend of hers said that the movie changed his life because of the concept of walking by faith and not by sight. This is all Eli did throughout the movie. He possessed the great faith to walk around with a book that others wanted to possess for evil and were willing to kill him for and didn’t bat an eyelash. He was tough, but still weak enough to realize that He could do nothing without God. He knew how to be chivalrous and cavalier in the midst of a bunch of brutes. He could wield a bow & arrow, a machete or a gun, but he knew his way around the Good Book with ease and cunning. He was just an awesome example of masculine faith in a marketplace sometimes too dominated by women of faith. He was Denzel Washington for God’s sake, toting around a Bible, reading a Bible and reciting the 23rd Psalm and there was nothing femme about it.
I don’t really want to belabor this review any longer suffice to say that if you have a man in your life that is teetering on the edge of his faith, this is the movie for him to see. I’m not going to guarantee you that he will walk out of the theatre a changed man, but what I can say is that any man with an iota of a heart for God will be moved by this movie’s message, walk by faith and not by sight.