Of Gods and Men

Saturday night I had the evening to myself (my wife being out of town), so I decided to rent a French movie that I'd been wanting to see, Of Gods and Men. The movie, based upon actual events, tells the story of a group of Christian monks in Algeria who find their region overcome by violence as Muslim extremists and the corrupt government struggle for power.

As the violence descends closer to the monastery, and as other foreigners are killed by Islamists, the monks are faced with a choice: should we flee from this violence, as friends and the government would have us do? or should we continue the missional work to which we have felt called, even though there is a good possibility that this will mean death?

Each of the brothers must struggle with his fears, his calling, his struggle to trust God, his loyalty his brothers, and the desire to make good and well-considered decisions about the future.

This film is powerful and heart-wrenching. The words of Scripture and of the chants envelope and saturate the film, as they saturate the days and nights of these monks struggling for discernment. Through meditating upon the teachings of the Bible, through their love of one another, the monks finally embrace a decision. The performances wonderfully present the monks, not as somehow aloof or super-human or removed from reality, but deeply human and sympathetic characters, "folk like us" (which you don't always see in portrayals of clergy or members of religious orders in movies).

But they do have some wisdom and insight as well. Brother Luc offers a great line, that truly encapsulates what I believe God has been trying to teach many of us; he says, "I do not fear death. I am a free man."

I recommend this movie for your contemplation. And, shockingly, you can rent this foreign-language film from redbox.



Blogger Nance said...

That sounds good, Daniel. Thanks for the recommendation--I probably wouldn't have heard about it otherwise.

3:36 PM, July 26, 2011  

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