Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Blinded by The Blind Side

Some Evangelical Christian congregations are encouraging their members to go see "Blind Side". It's the story of a rich, white family from Memphis who take in a poor, young, black man as a member of the family. I'm curious to hear some of the sermons pastors are preaching inspired by this movie.

When we saw the movie, I admit I was surprised at the demographics. Most of the commercials advertising the movie we saw on ESPN. It was being marketed as a sports feel good movie, so I expected to see lots of dads and sons. Not the case at all - almost more women then men and older women. Lots of adults, not a lot of families with kids. In fact my kid was one of the few in the theater and he and I were the only people of color.

This is a true story, and I have to admit I was very cynical about this movie before knowing that. You can't really be cynical about someone's life story, can you?

What has been incredibly interesting to me is the reacton of people to the movie. Folks were dabbing their eyes at the theatre we saw it at - and I've read blogs and reviews where people are saying this is one of the best movies they've ever seen.

There was a great piece in The Onion after Election Day 2008 that told white people to stop smiling at black people in the street (celebrating the Obama win). I kinda wonder if white Evangelical Christians can now be found trolling inner-city neighborhoods looking for their own Michael Oher's to adopt.

Here are some takeaways that I think would be really great from this movie, especially since it's attracting a lot of people of faith.

1) Children need intact families. Let's all work in our communities to ensure families have what they need to thrive. Jobs, health care, affordable housing, great schools, love.

2) All children can learn. The family in this movie was incredibly blessed financially so they were able to pay for a highly educated tutor to tutor their adopted son. Now the goal was to get a higher grade so he could play football and get a scholarship. No comment about that. But this child was written off and it took the dedication of innovative teachers and a top notch tutor to get through to him. What an incredible country we'd be if all kids had that.

3) The best moms carry Gucci bags. Ok - well maybe not - but Sandra Bullock rocked some of the hottest Gucci bags that I've seen in a minute.

4) We are all a family. At the end of the movie there are clips of the homicides and incarcerations of young black men in Memphis. Sandra Bullock's character is talking about the lost lives of these men and laments that one of those boys could be her son. For people of faith we are all brothers and sisters so we should love, pray and take care of one another as if we really believe that. Regardless of race, ethnicity, socio-economic status, athletic ability or lack thereof. Instead though of thinking that one of the dead or locked up boys could be her son, imagine the systems change that we could affect if we all operated as if those kids were our sons.