We had a wonderfully hot summer afternoon yesterday for the All-Church and Town social in Little River that featured a softball game, cookout, and movie.
50 people, from pre-schoolers to retired, came out for a friendly game of softball. All the little kids got a hit and ran the bases. The older youth flashed their athletic flair with some big hits and nifty fielding. And yours truly turned a pop fly into a home run.
The cookout following the game at the high school commons also had 50 people. Burgers and dogs hot off the grill and with all the fixings went great with a potluck of side dishes and desserts.
Afterwards, 30 people came together to watch the surprise movie of last year, Facing the Giants. The drama, an amateur (in the best sense of the word) creation by Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, GA, tells the fictional tale of football coach Grant Taylor who is on the brink of losing his job at a Christian high school after six consecutive losing seasons. Facing fear and failure at his job and also at home, Taylor turns to God in desperation and learns how to overcome the giants in his life.
While the movie is obviously a modern version of David vs. Goliath, the lesson to trust God is reminiscent of Job who declared, "Shall we accept good from God and not trouble?" The plot's movement from failure to epiphany to redemption is very good, with some fun surprise twists. The movie illustrates the tilt of Scripture--that in the end, God will vindicate his people.
One scene bothered me--where the school's "praying man" comes into Taylor's office and offers an unsolicited word of "prophecy." The word is an encouraging challenge, but Taylor and the man don't appear to be close friends of any sort. Speaking "prophetic words" to someone you're not particularly close can border on spiritual malpractice.
As far as the characters, you've got the self-doubting football coach and his supportive, but hurting wife. The antagonistic fathers ready to scrap the coach. The proud and boisterous coach of the legendary Richmond Giants. The comic relief assistant coaches. The wheelchair bound father who plays the wise sage.
Their personalities could have been truer to life if, for example, we could have seen the crippled father's own doubts and struggles. However, you do see this complexity in the assistant coach who weighs his own ambitions versus staying loyal to the coach. And the plot could been enhanced if the movie ended with one of the characters still waiting for his redemption. Sometimes, God vindicates us in the present time, but sometimes we have to wait--even until the end of the age.
My wife and I were tearing up and laughing throughout. This is one of the best movies not to come out of Hollywood that you'll ever see.