October…Freedom

I used this space a few weeks ago to recommend a movie (Courageous,which opened on Sept. 30). I really don’t see a career as a film critic in my future or anything, and never thought it would be something I would do again in this space any time soon. But, here goes again.

As many of you know, today is the day for the local premier of October Baby. The movie was filmed entirely in Alabama, by local filmmakers The Erwin Brothers, and as many of you know, was co-written by Shelby Crossings member Theresa Preston. Her husband Stephen also worked on the movie as a sound engineer, among other things. The movie is opening around Alabama and Mississippi today, with a major national release planned for the spring.
I had the pleasure of viewing October Babyat a screening a few months back at a local church, along with several other friends from the Shelby Crossings family. It is a powerful story, with heart-wrenching emotion, along with some pretty light and funny moments as well. The acting was good–you’ll recognize several of the stars from TV and other movies–and the screenplay was well-written and compelling. Like a lot of “Christian movies,” much of the story line was predictable, but there were more than a few surprises along the way as well. Personally, I also enjoyed seeing so many familiar places in the movie.
Because it deals with the hot-potato subject of abortion, it will no doubt face controversy, though the movie is done with great sensitivity and there’s really nothing about it that is antagonistic or politically focused. From my view, it was more of a movie about forgiveness than anything else. And who among us doesn’t need to be reminded of the power of forgiveness in our lives?
The truth is, we are all somewhere on the continuum of forgiveness. In all of our relationships, we come across situations daily that require that we forgive, or that we be forgiven. And sometimes there are very hard choices to let people off the hook and move on. As someone has said, one of the big surprises we discover when we make the choice to forgive is that when we do so, the person we release is not the one who has wronged us, but ourselves. It’s where genuine Christian freedom is best lived out.
That freedom begins when each of us is offered the unfathomable gift of forgiveness wrapped up in the cross of Jesus Christ. Because of His great love and grace, God chose to forgive us, and to Himself pay the penalty for our unrighteousness–to let us off the hook for the sin we’ve committed. That’s the centrality of the gospel. And once we’ve received that gift, there’s a responsibility to turn around and give that same gift of forgiveness to others. That was one of the lessons, I believe, of October Baby.
I hope you’ll get the opportunity to see October Babysoon, for several reasons. For one, it is an entertaining flick, and if you are a regular movie-goer I’m sure you will find that it is worth the price of admission. Also, I’ll say the same thing I said when I wrote aboutCourageouslast month: As easy as it is to complain about Hollywood and the lack of quality family-friendly movies produced, when such a movie does come along, we can send a message to the film industry best by buying tickets to see the movie. Money talks, and here’s another chance to speak.
I also hope you’ll be praying for fruit to be borne through the ministry of this movie. Thanks Theresa and Stephen, and the Erwin Brothers and friends, for all your efforts in producing this tool that I’m sure God will use. May He bless it, for eternity’s sake.
I look forward to seeing each of you on Sunday.
–Pastor Ken
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