Saturday, October 22, 2011

What You Won't See On-Screen in in the now showing film, "Courageous"

>by Tim Drake Wednesday, September 28

Sherwood Picture’s “Courageous” opens on 1,200 screens nationwide Friday. In the inspirational film about fatherhood – as told through the story of four police officers – you’ll find no coarse language, no gratuitous violence, no nudity or sexual innuendo. The Lord’s name is not taken in vain. In short, it’s a film you wouldn’t be embarrassed to watch with your family, your parents, your friends and neighbors, or your children.

There’s something else that you won’t see – and that is all of the work, prayer, and dedication that volunteers at Sherwood Baptist Church put in behind-the-scenes to bring this movie to fruition.

Albany, Ga. is home to seven different Baptist churches, a Methodist church, two Episcopal churches, a Catholic Church, a Presbyterian church, and at least four evangelical Christian churches, but only one of them is making movies. That’s Sherwood.

You might be asking yourself, why is a Catholic journalist pushing a film produced by a Baptist church? Would the Baptists promote a film by the Catholic Church?

I’m promoting it because I was touched not only by the dedication and faith of those who made the film, but as a father I was touched by the movie itself. It is Sherwood’s best film to-date, both in terms of cinematography and in terms of story. Like all of their films it crosses the line from story-telling to proselytizing. Some critics will attack the film for this. Yet, there’s still a place for “Courageous.” The film is at its strongest when it is telling a story, and that story will move men.

I’ve written extensively about “Courageous” because I was fortunate to be invited to be on-the-set during some of the shooting. I was able to interview the writers, director, and actors. I was able to attend the Atlanta premiere of the film. I had the opportunity to serve as an extra in the film’s 5K race scene, running beside friend and fellow Catholic writer and blogger Chris Faddis (for those who are interested, we did make the final cut. We can be seen briefly in the race scene on the right hand side of the screen). Most importantly, I was able to witness a community of faith pulling together to produce something inspirational.

While on the set, I couldn’t help but be moved by the vast number of church volunteers who pulled together to make meals, apply makeup, babysit, serve as actors and extras, create sets, deliver people and set pieces to where they needed to be, essentially made everything happen behind-the-scenes that needed to happen to schedule, produce and shoot, and edit a major film like this.

I was also eyewitness and participant in the sheer amount of prayer that went into this film. “Courageous” is surrounded and covered in prayer.

The decision to make the film and its subject is the fruit of prayer. Each day, as the shooting began, cast and crew gathered for prayer. Before meals, there was prayer. Before every scene was shot, there was prayer. I saw individual church members praying with actors before and after specific scenes were shot. At the film’s premiere in Atlanta, it opened with prayer. All along the way, church members, cast and crew have been praying not only for the film, but for all those who will see it on-screen and on DVD. They’ve been praying that the film might have a positive impact upon the viewers, upon our nation, upon fathers and mothers. They know well the power of prayer because they’ve seen the effects from their previous three films, and they’ve heard stories of how “Flywheel” led unscrupulous businessmen to change their ways, or how “Facing the Giants” led not only to prayer, but to couples conceiving children, or how “Fireproof” saved marriages in the U.S. and abroad. If “Courageous” succeeds, and I pray that it does, it will be due to prayer.

One doesn’t have to look far to see that we’re facing many crises in this country. Among them, absentee fathers and fatherlessness ranks among one of the largest. Courageous addresses that topic through its characters – a lazy father, a man who grew up without his father, an absent father. In so doing, it challenges men to embrace their responsibilities as fathers and protectors. Sherwood has partnered with a large number of Protestant and Catholic men’s ministries to provide the tools that men need to learn how to be the husbands and fathers that God intends them to be. It’s clear that the movie-makers want this film to be a movement – a movement of turning the children’s hearts to their fathers, and the father’s hearts to their children.

Do yourself and your family a favor. Go see “Courageous” this weekend and invite and encourage others to do likewise. “Courageous,” in short, is a movie that audiences want, and a film that America needs.

2 Comments out of 25

Posted by Chris Faddis on Thursday, Sep 29:@Linda - I would invite you to take a moment and reconsider the judgement you just placed on those with only two children. I am a father of two - I’m only 32 years old and while my wife and I started out with a plan to have multiple children, that weighs in the balance as my wife battles stage IV colon cancer. We converse regularly about how we hope we will still be able to have more. But the beating that my wife’s body is receiving may prevent that. We plan on trying if we are so blessed - but the truth of the matter is that it may not be in the cards for us.A dear friend of ours, Catholic author and speaker Melanie Pritchard also has two children. She and her husband Doug had also planned to have several children, but Melanie had an amniotic fluid embolism during delivery of her second child, Ella. She coded on the table three times and is a walking miracle today. Though she is alive and very well, she is no longer able to have children.Consider these two stories and ask yourself, “should I judge someone’s level of “courage” based on what I see in a 2 minute clip of their lives?” Sure, this is a movie - but your statement speaks volumes.I agree that our culture does not encourage or support large families. However, to make a judgement about the characters, about the film, or about the makers of the film based on only seeing two children is absolutely uncalled for. What Tim didn’t share in this article but did in another is that while we were on set - we were also running next to the Duggar family, you know 19 and Counting from TLC. They were on set as well at the invitation of Sherwood Pictures. All of those children ran and all of those children stood as an example of a large Christian family.Consider these things before dumping a judgement next time. Sincerely,
Chris Faddis (1 of 7 children and father of 2)

Posted by Tim Drake on Thursday, Sep 29:It’s painful for me to see that the discussion about the merits of “Courageous” got sidetracked to discussing how many children is the perfect number.

Frankly, I have little patience for the “fertility police”. It’s too easy to judge a couple by first appearances, something I humbly admit to doing earlier in my marriage - AND regretfully so. It wasn’t until my wife and I faced primary and secondary infertility, and came face-to-face with other couples facing the same issue, that I understood the tremendous pain that so many couples carry with them.

Even now people could easily look at our family (five living children, one in Heaven) and think we’re somehow complete. We’ve been unable to conceive since the birth of our nearly-nine-year-old son. What they would not see, however, is the pain of desiring additional children who never come; and the pain of having a daughter who continually prays for another baby in the home and who asks why God doesn’t answer her prayer; and the joy coupled with pain every time a friend or relative conceives. It is a pain suffered largely in silence. People do not talk about it because they fear that bringing it up will cause additional pain.

Do not judge what the perfect number is because that number, or the lack of a number, is known only by God. National Catholic Register

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