Friday, September 4, 2009


Is Jesus real in the center of your world? Are you open to some friendly persuading? Film number 7 on my favorite list speaks about these issues.

This is a film I cannot praise highly enough. It starts with a goose and ends with the goose almost being cooked, but in between there is a rich world of faith and humor and family strength.

The “friendly” in the title refers to the Quakers. What happens to people who don’t believe in fighting when they are thrust into an age of war? One fellow swears up and down in Quaker meeting that nothing would get him to take up a weapon should the south invade Indiana. Later on he sings a different tune, but the majority of the picture is about a family who holds true to their convictions even as they are being shaken and tested and formed. This is not an outsider’s view, but was based on a book written by a Quaker herself who maintained a fairly large level of influence over what went into the film version of her book.

Though the story takes place in the time of the American Civil War, it is not really about the war. It is about people being out of step with the world they live in, but in step with God. It’s about finding out that some things in the final analysis don’t matter. It’s about the revelations of young love and the irksomeness of being too young to seemingly count for anything. It’s about a husband and wife who don’t always see eye to eye, but who have built a real marriage on a common ground. It’s about a young man learning to find convictions of his own, even if they differ from those of his parents and about the parents coming to terms with that, even to the point of going out to rescue the son who did not do what his mother wanted him to do. It’s about a Sunday morning horse race to church with one of the Methodists and about a young man keeping himself pure in the face of family of male-starved young women. It’s about bringing an organ into a home where they don’t believe in organs. It’s about facing the church board when they come to call and rising to the occasion.

For the most part all of these things are told with humor, but also with realism. We have to live in a real world with real neighbors and real crises, but we can meet them if we have a firm center to our lives. The Birdwells (and even their Methodist neighbors) have that.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

ADULT CHILDREN (and others)

After our journaling session last Saturday I was talking with some of the fellows about dealing with adult children. It came to me in the discussion that if we only control them and do our best to direct their growth the most they can ever be is what we are. We don’t want that. We want them to be what Jesus is. That was a powerful revelation. I think it can be freeing in more areas than that one. It can also apply to parents, in-laws and, of all things, church members who don't see things like we do. We need to lead and guide when we should, but not beyond what we should.