Monday, July 17, 2006

God @ The Movies: Crash

Today we look at the Academy Award winner of the best picture for last year, the movie Crash. Christianity Today also rated it one of the top 10 best redeemable movies of 2005. I don’t choose the movies as such- they seem to choose me. There are ones that I’ve previously watched and there are others that come along and I become convinced that we need to look at them, such as the movie today, despite that fact that I hadn’t seen it before. I believe that it’s the Holy Spirit’s guidance. That being said let’s look at today’s movie:

Crash is set in present day Los Angeles, and features the lives of several individuals and couples, as their lives crash into each other over a 36-hour time period. It is intense, & rated ‘R’ for language and sexuality.

The film opens with a series of interactions that are tense and filled with discrimination, anger and hatred.

Two police officers have been rear-ended by another woman and engage in a sarcastic, racist interchange.

… A storeowner who was recently robbed enlists the help of his daughter to buy a gun and encounters more racism and hatred.

There are two young men discussing their treatment in a restaurant, using racist terms and then they car jack the SUV of the local District Attorney and his wife;

In a subsequent scene we see the couple that had been carjacked having the locks changed on their posh home because of the robbery. That situation is erupting into a fight:

Chapter 3 12.17- 13.13

The DA then tries to set his strategy and press release concerning the killing of an off duty African American police officer by an undercover narcotics officer, who happens to be Caucasian. It is filled with derogatory comments about African Americans and Iraqi’s.

In this next clip we witness the relational fallout among a couple that was pulled over, discriminated, abused and humiliated by a racist police officer. Bob, who just started a new blog, had an interesting post called The Paradox of Policing. In his post he addressed police brutality, and we realize things aren’t always as clear-cut as we’d like them. The categories we see with are in need of some revising.

"The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their right names." Chinese proverb

Chapter 10 53.38- 55.18 1.40

In this brief clip we watch the Director and the storeowner in pain. The storeowner was vandalized and has lost everything because of his negligence and brutal treatment of a locksmith, while his producer has just discriminated against the director.

Chapter 11 59.03- 60.06

Life in the dumpster’. What can men do with such reckless hate?

In the following scene, we watch the woman who had been molested by the police officer, now upside down is a car accident. The very same cop shows up to try and help her:

Chapter 12 64.00-65.45

This woman had her categories revised, didn’t she? Jesus was, and still is doing that to us, too.

Luke 10:30-37
Jesus replied with a story: "A Jewish man was traveling on a trip from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he was attacked by bandits. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him up, and left him half dead beside the road.

"By chance a priest came along. But when he saw the man lying there, he crossed to the other side of the road and passed him by. A Temple assistant walked over and looked at him lying there, but he also passed by on the other side.

"Then a despised Samaritan came along, and when he saw the man, he felt compassion for him. Going over to him, the Samaritan soothed his wounds with olive oil and wine and bandaged them. Then he put the man on his own donkey and took him to an inn, where he took care of him. The next day he handed the innkeeper two silver coins, telling him, `Take care of this man. If his bill runs higher than this, I'll pay you the next time I'm here.'

"Now which of these three would you say was a neighbor to the man who was attacked by bandits?" Jesus asked.

The man replied, "The one who showed him mercy." Then Jesus said, "Yes, now go and do the same."

That woman’s husband has become fed up and is making his last stand, and it could lead to his death. He’s arguing with police officers that suspect a crime, and they are ready to shoot him. The partner of the racist officer is standing up for him:

Chapter 15 78.55-79.20

I didn’t ask for your help!”

Did the Jewish man have similar thoughts while the Samaritan was approaching, and even tending to him? The Good Samaritan parable is all about action, and love and not theoretical Ivory Tower philosophical discussions at Starbucks.

The officer who rescued the woman he abused because of her skin color didn’t see that distinction while in the role of a ‘helper’, a rescuer. Jesus has made all of us rescuers!

Earlier, the racist officer had taken his young partner aside and told him to wait, to withhold the judgment for some time on his racism. ‘Let time and experience show you who you’ll become’, he says. The caution still holds true for us. Training is learning the rules; experience is learning the exceptions and wisdom knows which to apply when.

Wisdom helps us refine the categories we see in. Less tribalism, more love. Less power, greater spiritual authority. That’s the way of Jesus.

Ever shown hatred with ‘just a ‘look’’? Ever experienced it that way? When I was young, I was walking to the corner store. I looked at a kid, he looked at me, we basically said, ‘You want to fight?” and we did. After a couple of seconds I said to myself, ‘this is stupid, so I left the fight & went into the store; the other guy was dumbfounded, and finally left. Most fights with others are due to what’s going on inside of us aren’t they?

The DA’s wife is calling a friend and sharing what’s going on inside of her,

Chapter 17 85.27-86.35

I wake up like this every morning.”

Crash shows us very painfully how negative energy spreads, how sin entangles, how anarchy feels. It shows us the main forms of relational sins: assault and withdrawal. Many of the scenes and hurtful; interactions happen because someone was hurt and then they recycle the pain.

Hurt people hurt people!

"Do not use a hatchet to remove a fly from your friend's forehead." Chinese proverb

James 4:1-3
What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Don't they come from the evil desires at war within you? You want what you don't have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous of what others have, but you can't get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them. Yet you don't have what you want because you don't ask God for it. And even when you ask, you don't get it because your motives are all wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure.

A police officer says at one point in the movie, “Things are more complicated than we originally thought.”

No kidding.

Jeremiah 17:9
The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?

In this last scene, we witness a car on fire, an act of destruction that quickly brings others to join into the fray.

Chapter 21 103.15- 106.36 3.21

In the midst of all the pain, the people don’t need more anger; they need compassion, mercy, love and grace. We can either add fuel to the fire or we can be a part of putting it out. Billy Joel was wrong when he sang, “We Didn’t Start The Fire.” We did! You and me. And every day, with every action and inaction, we either add to the fire and destruction or say with the help of Jesus, ‘It’s time to put out the rage in my own heart first.'

Angry people live as if the world owes them something that they can never quite put their finger on. Angry authority figures are impossible to please. Angry leaders attract angry followers and the cycle of dysfunction keeps going.

Jesus said, "In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world" John 16:33.

"What difference do Jesus' death and resurrection make in my relationships?"

"How do I glorify God in the midst of this struggle?"

"How do I serve people who oppose me?"

The gospel provides the enduring basis for overcoming violence and despair because of its power to transform hearts. And transformed hearts lead to transformed lives, transformed churches, and transformed societies. This is the hope that is in Jesus Christ. This is the reason we’re called the Community of Hope.

For Christ followers, relationships are what we are concerned with. We often experience frustration with doing the right thing!


Post a Comment

<< Home