It never fails to move me. I fight back tears each time I see it, and now thanks to the soundtrack, also each time I hear its rousing musical score. The closing scene of the movie Courageous is indeed an “altar call” as Roger Moore from the Orlando Sentinel has called it. The scene depicts Adam Mitchell’s speech in a mega-church calling for men of courage to take up the call to be providers, protectors, and defenders of their family and faith just as he had learned to do after the death of his daughter. His emphatic proclamation of “I will” to each commitment reflective of the Resolution expressed touches a raw nerve.
Responding to the film this week some of my students wondered why the film ended the way it did. They expected more. Perhaps a “Ten Years Later” scene where the character Shane is let out of prison and joins the group of Courageous men once more having survived his years of hell and come out a better man for it. Not a bad idea really. But I think the film would have lost some of its sobering warning if that had been the case and that scene would have detracted from the main theme of the film which is not so much redemption but the Resolution itself.
It is the film’s vision of manhood and fatherhood that is the key thematic concern of Courageous. And the Resolution which enshrines it is having an impact on men the world round.
No doubt it is controversial in a post-modern age which is struggling with distinctions between gender roles for a start. For the Christian man however, it is a beacon of light shining forth as if from a distant era calling men to remember what it means to be made in God’s image and likeness distinctively as male and female and how this is played out in the context of family. In that regard the Resolution is like a Captain America defrosted from his icy sleep being called to remind his nation of old fashioned values that we are deeply in need of. (Those who have watched The Avengers will know what I mean).
It is precisely these old fashioned values surrounding Christian manhood that are emerging from the cesspool of confusion of the past forty years in the West. But the final scene of Courageous is more than just an altar call. It is also a farewell speech.
Farewell to the marginalization of men which began in the 1970’sand its contribution to the “phenomenal increases in juvenile violence, the proliferation of gangs among youth, the pervasive break-up of marriages, widespread teen pregnancies and births out of wedlock, the economic abandonment of children by non-custodial father”
Farewell to the “androgynous” male of the 1970’s and 80’s, the product of integrating the feminine and the masculine, the “sensitive man” who was in touch with his feelings, nurturing and non-aggressive. This type of man was popular with feminists and the cultural avant- garde, but it left most men confused and perplexed.
Farewell to the “wild man” from the 80’s and 90’s who gave men very few guidelines for integrating “wild manhood” into their everyday lives. In some ways, men felt even more isolated from the “real world.”
Farewell to the general negative male stereotype associating manhood with excessive behaviour (alcoholic or sexual), or with the chronic shunning of responsibility, or with “ignorant, misogynistic machismo”.
Indeed, the Courageous movement is rehabilitating Christian manhood and putting to death the above antithesis to its true expression. It is doing nothing less than reviving a sense in Christian men that we are indeed warriors in the faith, fighting for our faith and our families – as spiritual knights. “Honor, gentleness, selfless service, patriotism, humility, integrity, kindness, courage, commitment … That is what it is to be a real man. Those are the ideals of a true Knight”.
Where are you men of courage? Will you join me? Will you consider taking the Resolution commitment for your wives and family? I know I am considering it. Strongly.
[Below is a copy of THE RESOLUTION from the movie Courageous]
- I DO solemnly resolve before God to take full responsibility for myself, my wife, and my children.
- I WILL love them, protect them, serve them, and teach them the Word of God as the spiritual leader of my home.
- I WILL be faithful to my wife, to love and honor her, and be willing to lay down my life for her as Jesus Christ did for me.
- I WILL bless my children and teach them to love God with all of their hearts, all of their minds, and all of their strength.
- I WILL train them to honor authority and live responsibly.
- I WILL confront evil, pursue justice, and love mercy.
- I WILL pray for others and treat them with kindness, respect, and compassion.
- I WILL work diligently to provide for the needs of my family.
- I WILL forgive those who have wronged me and reconcile with those I have wronged.
- I WILL learn from my mistakes, repent of my sins, and walk with integrity as a man answerable to God.
- I WILL seek to honor God, be faithful to His church, obey His Word, and do His will.
- I WILL courageously work with the strength God provides to fulfill this resolution for the rest of my life and for His glory.
- As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. —Joshua 24:15