For those who decry the lack of accountability in our country these days—visible from our national leaders all the way down to the family level—the new Christian-based film Courageous is an inspiring must-see. Although some graphic violence gives it a PG-13 rating, the godly values unashamedly portrayed in this film will have you literally laughing and crying when you’re not on the edge of your seat. And since one of the main characters is an adolescent boy who starts out in a shaky relationship with his father, teens who can be made to quit their texting and video games long enough should get a lot out of it as well.
Courageous is to fatherhood what the earlier film Fireproof is to marriage. Both films explore the consequences of not following God’s design for these basic family institutions, along with the joy that comes with following them, even after many stumbles along the way. The film ends with a passionate call for fathers to follow God’s principles in the Bible in raising their children. This means not only spending time with them, but making that time count in helping them develop an eternal perspective on their lives and in coming to the knowledge and acceptance of Jesus as their Savior.
Courageous was developed for the screen by brothers Alex and Stephen Kendrick, and is based on the novel of the same name written by Randy Alcorn. These men deserve a lot of credit for listening to God’s call to produce an inspiring, true-to-life story that glorifies God and the institution of the family—in short, a 180-degree turn from most of what comes out of Hollywood these days. But the calling isn’t just on them.
We, as believers and movie-goers, owe it to both God and these godly men to support their efforts by purchasing the DVDs and, in the rare moments when they actually come to theatres, attending the productions. The success of Fireproof and Courageous has already inspired a blossoming of films with family-friendly values such as Facing the Giants and The Grace Card. In this blossoming, we see yet again the fulfillment of Romans 8:28 even in the entertainment industry as God shows that He cannot and will not be defeated by the forces that produce so much of the sewage flowing out of Hollywood in our day.
In his latest book, Coming Apart: The State of White America 1960-2010, Charles Murray (author of The Bell Curve), makes a compelling case for what he calls the Founding Virtues: industriousness, honesty, marriage, and religiosity. By showing how these virtues have crumbled in white, lower-middle-class and below America in the last 50 years, Murray makes the case for the importance of restoring them if we are to be a great nation again. This goes hand-in-hand with what Courageous tells us about great fathers: they need to be hard-working and willing to do whatever it takes, morally and ethically, to support their families; they need to display unwavering integrity both at home and in the workplace; they need to be faithful to their spouses and view marriage as a lifetime vow; and they need to practice their faith regularly.
I hope that the Republican presidential candidates take these arguments to heart as they continue their journey in the next few months. Yes, the earthly economy is important, and ours is sinking fast. But God’s economy is even more important, and without those Founding Virtues, we are trying to rebuild on nothing but shifting sand.